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Three aircraft in one (Russian SU-34)
Russia & India Report ^ | March 6, 2012 | Victor Litovkin

Posted on 03/07/2012 10:05:51 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki

Three aircraft in one

In late February, Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Sukhoi Company General Director Igor Ozar signed a contract to deliver 92 Su-34 frontline fighter-bombers to the Air Force. This is quite a remarkable event not only because of its sheer scope (according to unofficial sources, the contract is worth an estimated 100 billion roubles), but also because of the high technologies used in producing the domestic aircraft procured.

The export cost of the Su-34 frontline fighter-bomber is said to be at least $50 million. Source: ru.wikipedia.org

In late February, Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Sukhoi Company General Director Igor Ozar signed a contract to deliver 92 Su-34 frontline fighter-bombers to the Air Force. This is quite a remarkable event not only because of its sheer scope (according to unofficial sources, the contract is worth an estimated 100 billion roubles), but also because of the high technologies used in producing the domestic aircraft procured.

“The first deliveries of these aircraft are scheduled for 2015”, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force Colonel-General Alexander Zelin told the author. “Given the previous contract for delivery of 32 Su-34 machines, there will be 124 Su-34 frontline fighter-bombers in the Air Force by 2020, and then the figure will increase to 140 fighting machines.” Ten Su-34 have been supplied to the Russian AF Lipetsk Centre for Combat Use and Flight Training and ten more will be delivered by late 2012. The Su-34 will be produced, as before, by the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association (NAPA) named after Chkalov.

“The Su-34 is a unique machine, designed as a bomber to deliver strikes to both ground and naval targets, as a fighter to gain air supremacy and as a reconnaissance aircraft. It has a broad lineup of armaments, including air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. The Su-34 is equipped with advanced avionics, a multi-purpose long-range radar unit and an integrated electronic warfare suite. Furthermore, the machine has an in-flight refuelling capability and can carry additional fuel tanks, which increases its range markedly. The new fighter-bomber has certain other distinct features: for instance, it carries precious munitions with in-flight guidance systems capable of hitting subscale targets.”

According to the Commander-in-Chief, the Su-34 is capable of engaging multiple targets at a time, and its excellent aerodynamics, large fuel tanks and highly efficient double-flow engines with digital controls, in-flight refuelling capability and ability to carry additional fuel tanks effectively increase its flight range almost to match that of long-range strategic bombers. In addition, it is planned to enhance the combat strength of the aircraft currently in production by increasing its air-delivered ordnance, which might include a long-range missile.

The export cost of the Su-34 frontline fighter-bomber is said to be at least $50 million, but this is not exactly the truth. The Su-34 has not been exported yet, and will not be at least until Sukhoi fulfils the contracts with the Russian Armed Forces, although the Russian Defence Ministry will enjoy a much lower Su-34 price than that already set for the international arms market.

The author has been familiar with the Su-34 frontline fighter-bomber for almost 20 years now, although back when he first wrote about this plane, it was named the Su-30MK. Then the name was changed to the Su-32MF and it was only ten years later that the plane got its current name. The author first familiarised himself with the plane on the eve of the International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget in 1993.

The creator of the Su-27 and all of its modifications, legendary general constructor of the Sukhoi design bureau Mikhail Simonov (now deceased) invited the author to the design office for a media presentation of the new Sukhoi product, which Defence Ministry officials did not want to accept for service, most probably for financial reasons. The general constructor clearly wanted to take the wraps off the innovation, draw the attention of the government and the Kremlin and get the green light to take the machine to France for an international show, so he needed support from a reporter. Mikhail Petrovich did not share his plans with me, though. He only spoke about the unquestionable advantages of his new project.

“Our new plane is an upgrade of the Su-27 series, including the Su-47, and is capable of doing everything that the Su-24 can”, the Sukhoi design bureau general constructor said back then. The new machine is, however, much more powerful; it performs the same tasks as the Su-27, but with double its range and two and a half times its combat effectiveness. The Su-30MK (which is what Simonov called the current Su-34 then – V.L.) also has formidable characteristics as a frontline and offshore fighter aircraft, like the Su-17 fighter-bomber but with 8 tonnes of combat load.

According to the specialists, compared with American peers, the Su-30MK has, on its own, the combined capability of several individual aircraft – the E-111 bomber, the F-15 fighter, the F-15E fighter-bomber and the A-10 strike-fighter. But the most outstanding feature of the new two-seat attack fighter is that, unlike its counterparts, it can remain airborne for up to 10-16 hours, which is essential for a plane supporting mobile forces that can be deployed fast in any part of the country.

The endurance of the plane is only limited by the physiological capability of the combat pilots. Considering how hard it is even for a passenger of a contemporary comfortable airliner to endure a flight of many hours, how robust must the pilots of a supersonic machine be not only to pilot the plane at extreme altitudes, but also manoeuvre, sharply changing air echelons, perform sophisticated aerobatics and engage in intense battles with a perfectly armed and trained adversary. Also, they must be ready for in-flight refuelling from an Il-78 tanker or another Su-27 series plane.

The integrated fuel tanks of the Su-30MK (its designers were never in favour of external tanks, citing poorer aerodynamics) are very capacious, though, according to Mikhail Simonov. The fighter-bomber was refuelled four times during a 14,000-kilometre experimental nonstop Komsomolsk-on-Amur – Moscow – Komsomolsk-on-Amur flight. For comparison: the F-18 requires eleven refuels to make the same flight, say, from the United States to Australia.

Besides the excellent aerodynamics, which is a traditional feature of all Sukhoi aircraft, the Su-30MK carries up-to-date armaments. Its navigation and target acquisition system allows guided high-precision weapons to be used to hit any air, ground or sea targets even at great distances inaccessible to even the Su-27 fighter interceptor.

For example, the Kh-59M TV-guided missile, once launched and remaining beyond line-of-sight range at a distance of more than 100 kilometres from the carrier, transmits the picture from its target-seeking device to the cockpit screen and scores a direct hit following a radio command from the pilot.

Simonov recalled the CNN reports from the First Gulf War, when two U.S. test missiles launched from two different planes exploded inside a building (the first one made a gap in the wall of an Iraqi power plant and then the second one flew into the gap). Both missiles transmitted to TV receivers. “You know what? The stock Kh-59M missiles that a single Su-30MK is armed with are capable of doing exactly the same as missiles from several U.S. aircraft were doing there”, Mikhail Simonov said.

The plane also features the Kh-29T fully-automatic TV-guided missile. They call it a fire-and-forget missile. As soon as the pilot gets the target into the crosshairs and presses the memory button, the smart weapon no longer requires guidance when the missile is fired.

The Su-30MK is also armed with Kh-29L and S-29L laser-guided missiles. Launched from an aircraft, the missiles are guided using information from a target-pointing laser station, which can be carried in a backpack. The soldier only has to lock the laser tracking system on to the target…

A single article cannot hold all the information about the Su-34’s armaments; however, we should also mention the Kh-31P antiradar missile, which is capable of engaging all types of radar system of medium- and long-range air defence missile systems, with the carrier remaining well outside of the counter-fire range.

This range is 35 kilometres for the Patriot system and 70 kilometres for the Hawk system, but the onboard complex of the missile will indentify the location of the radar well beyond this range, enter its coordinates into its own computer, report them to the pilot and wait for the command to engage the target. Unlike them, the Kh-31P is a fire-and-forget device.

This frontline bomber has naturally passed several stages of state tests since Mikhail Simonov introduced me to the machine. The plane has been upgraded to the present level of armaments and equipped with a new onboard avionics system. It was delivered to the Air Force as soon as the country was able to spend the requisite money.

In 2011, the Su-34 was engaged in the Tsentr manoeuvres and prior to that, in the Vostok operative and strategic exercises. An Su-34 squadron made a flight from the Moscow Region to the Far East with several in-flight refuellings, where it “engaged tracked targets” and then returned home, again, being refuelled in the air. No other bomber of the same class is currently capable of doing this.

A brief note. The Su-34 has a side-by-side seating configuration, unlike traditional tandems. There is sufficient space between the seats to put a mattress, so while one pilot navigates the plane, monitoring the horizon and processing information from the automatic control system, the other pilot can take a nap.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: aerospace; fullback; russia; su34
Pictures, video at source URL
1 posted on 03/07/2012 10:05:59 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

So in other words they’ve finally got something that might compete with the F-18? ‘Bout time.


2 posted on 03/07/2012 10:08:23 AM PST by Axeslinger (Where has my country gone?)
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To: Axeslinger

The main thing they have to compete, and all that is needed, is called an S400.


3 posted on 03/07/2012 10:20:18 AM PST by org.whodat
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To: Axeslinger
So in other words they’ve finally got something that might compete with the F-18? ‘Bout time.

Not even that.

This is a country that can't manufacture a car, heck, they can't even produce a wrist-watch.

It's one thing to have a successful test flight with your best mechanics and engineers working around the clock for weeks to make sure the wings don't fall off. It's another thing altogether to be able to maintain five battle ready squadrons. 2-3 generations raised under communist rule have forever destroyed work ethic and craftmanship in that culture.

4 posted on 03/07/2012 10:24:03 AM PST by South Hawthorne (In Memory of my dear Friend Henry Lee II)
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To: Axeslinger

Thought it looked like an F-18ski


5 posted on 03/07/2012 10:27:14 AM PST by 6ppc (It's torch and pitchfork time)
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To: South Hawthorne

I have a Russian-made watch from earlier 60’s. It is not only still working but still extremely precise as well.

AFAIK, Russian-built Toyota or BMW is no worse than American one.


6 posted on 03/07/2012 10:33:35 AM PST by cunning_fish
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To: cunning_fish

Yes, and Rooshin light bulb last many years, unlike poor imitations produced by slave labor under heel of capitalist exploiter class in West.

Just refill oil in bottom of light bulb and keep wick trimmed short.


7 posted on 03/07/2012 11:14:54 AM PST by Darteaus94025
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To: org.whodat

S300 is quite capable, too.


8 posted on 03/07/2012 11:18:34 AM PST by LowTaxesEqualsProsperity
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Nice RCS!


9 posted on 03/07/2012 11:31:10 AM PST by theBuckwheat
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To: LowTaxesEqualsProsperity

“S300 is quite capable, too.”

Didn’t Israel get through the Syrians S300 systems when it destroyed the nuke facility a few years back?


10 posted on 03/07/2012 11:38:15 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (Most Conservative in the Primary, the Republican Nominee in the General.)
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To: org.whodat
Really? So you're saying that despite this:
“The Su-34 is a unique machine, designed as a bomber to deliver strikes to both ground and naval targets, as a fighter to gain air supremacy and as a reconnaissance aircraft"
The Russkies are silly to do that because the S400 can project OFFENSIVE power and attain and maintain air superiority?

That must be one crazy awesome SAM system and it would make one wonder why they are finally trying to compete with the F18 then, wouldn't it?

11 posted on 03/07/2012 12:03:23 PM PST by Axeslinger (Where has my country gone?)
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To: EQAndyBuzz

Russia swapped codes with Israel to allow the latter to disarm the S-300s, in exchange for Israel doing the same to some of the defensive weapons it sold Georgia, earlier.


12 posted on 03/07/2012 4:05:20 PM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: Axeslinger; 6ppc

The SU-34 is bigger than pretty much all serving US tactical aircraft; it’s loaded weight figures are twice as much as that of the F-18.

The only aircraft you could compare it with in role and dimensions is the F-111.


13 posted on 03/07/2012 7:13:28 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: EQAndyBuzz

Syria is not believed to have had the S-300 during the 2007 attack; the Russians ‘openly’ started delivering them last year.


14 posted on 03/07/2012 7:23:34 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: 6ppc

_ski is more a Polish surname ending :-P meaning “of”, in Russian they don’t seem to have this much — the Czechs and Slovaks have -ova added in as do Bulgarians and Ukrainians, but Russians mostly don’t — afaik!


15 posted on 03/07/2012 8:32:44 PM PST by Cronos (Party like it's 12 20, 2012)
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To: Cronos

Russia has a lot of people who has Polish roots, mostly Jews who moved into central Russia seeking refuge from pogroms in Poland and Ukraine. This group was very successful and a lot of famous people belongs to it.

That is why “-ski” referred to Russians.

As for “-ova” you mentioned it is really attributed to Czechs, Slovaks, Bulgarians AND Russians. It is actually “-ov” if we are about male, and “-ova” if it is female lastname. For example Kuznetsov (a son of a smith) - a most popular Russian lastname along with Ivanov (Ivan’s offspring) which is also the most popular lastname in Bulgaria, as well as second most popular in Russia. In fact these groups has too much in common. A Russian and Czech both speaking own language can easily understand each other.

Ukrainian most popular lastname suffixes are “-tchuk” and “-cko” - very different from Russian and Czech.


16 posted on 03/07/2012 9:27:38 PM PST by cunning_fish
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To: EQAndyBuzz

In fact latest Patriot system is based on reverse-engineering of earlier 80’s version of S300 USAF got for evaluation in 1994.
It is not if Raytheon copied all that Soviet bulbs and semiconductors. It was rebuilt on American level using superior American technology, but an idea was to catch up with S300 concept with it’s architecture and performance.

Russians has the edge in air defence for a long time and it is not if they are to give a gap away.


17 posted on 03/07/2012 9:46:29 PM PST by cunning_fish
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To: EQAndyBuzz

In fact latest Patriot system is based on reverse-engineering of earlier 80’s version of S300 USAF got for evaluation in 1994.
It is not if Raytheon copied all that Soviet bulbs and semiconductors. It was rebuilt on American level using superior American technology, but an idea was to catch up with S300 concept with it’s architecture and performance.

Russians has the edge in air defence for a long time and it is not if they are to give a gap away.


18 posted on 03/07/2012 9:46:37 PM PST by cunning_fish
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To: South Hawthorne
Do you know where F-35b was conceived?

Methinks your Timex still tells Cold War time.

Perhaps something like this could help you to catch up:


19 posted on 03/07/2012 10:42:42 PM PST by DTA (U.S. Centcom vs. U.S. AFRICOM)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Oh, I'm glad you went there. First, recall that the Russki's are the ones saying that the SU-34 is their answer for the same 3 roles that the Super Hornet is good for: Air to Air, Ground Attack, and Reconnaissance. So now, let's do some comparisons. Here are the published stats for the SU-34 and F18E/F.

SU-34:
Length: 72 ft 2 in
Wingspan: 48 ft 3 in
Height: 19 ft 5 in
Empty weight: 48,502 lb
Weapons load: 17,600 lb
Maximum speed: 1,180 mph
Combat radius: 680 mi
Service ceiling: 49,200 ft
Wing loading: 129 lb/ft²
Thrust/weight: 0.68

F-18E/F
Length: 60ft 1in
Wingspan: 44ft 8in
Height: 16ft
Empty weight: 32,081 lb
Weapons loadout: 17,750 lb
Maximum speed: 1,190 mph
Range: 1,275 nmi
Combat radius: 449 mi
Service ceiling: 50,000+ ft
Wing loading: 94.0 lb/ft²
Thrust/weight: 0.93

Notice that they look REMARKABLE similar! Except the Russki version is bigger, 50% heavier with a piss-poor thrust to weight ratio and 37% greater loads on the wings. (Therefore, it is less maneuverable and won't climb as well) But, hey, at least that SU-34 has got a toilet and a food warmer in it!

20 posted on 03/08/2012 5:49:48 AM PST by Axeslinger (Where has my country gone?)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Oh, and as a follow-on:

Re: "It's loaded weight figures are twice as much as the F-18." You're right. It's loaded weight is almost 100,000lbs. But that's because it has to carry that much more fuel to get the desired extra combat radius. There's that whole thrust to weight ratio again... Lots more fuel to lift MUCH more weight to go a bit farther.

But note that it's armament loadout weight is actually LESS than the F-18

21 posted on 03/08/2012 5:57:09 AM PST by Axeslinger (Where has my country gone?)
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To: Darteaus94025

“Just refill oil in bottom of light bulb and keep wick trimmed short.”

LOL!

Maybe they can use scented oil to keep the cockpit romantic!

“A brief note. The Su-34 has a side-by-side seating configuration, unlike traditional tandems. There is sufficient space between the seats to put a mattress, so while one pilot navigates the plane, monitoring the horizon and processing information from the automatic control system, the other pilot can take a nap.”


22 posted on 03/08/2012 6:49:26 AM PST by Yehuda
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To: Axeslinger

Umm, I think those figures are misleading. It should’nt read ‘weapons loadout’ but rather payload, which almost always includes external fuel tanks.

http://www.sci.fi/~fta/aviat-5.htm

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/russia-to-begin-receiving-su34-longrange-strike-fighters-02595/

Open source information for the Super Hornet’s internal fuel load puts the figure at approximately 15,000 lbs while that of the SU-34 is estimated to be about 26,000 lbs; which is why its so big. So the Super Hornet would almost certainly need external tanks to cover similar distances. Which eats into its total payload capacity.


23 posted on 03/08/2012 7:13:26 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki
No the numbers aren't misleading. I intentionally obtained numbers for the weapons loadout weight, rather than the useful load or takeoff weight, so that I could compare apples to apples and eliminate fuel weight variability. The only criterion that the SU-34 surpasses the F-18E/F is in combat radius. With in-flight refueling, that is more of a logistical issue than a combat issue (although the two can most certainly be intrinsically related). In combat, I'd put the Super Hornet against the SU-34 any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

I stand by my first post...It's kind of cute how the Russki's have finally gotten around to putting an aircraft on station that we've had there for the last 18 years.

24 posted on 03/08/2012 7:53:29 AM PST by Axeslinger (Where has my country gone?)
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To: Axeslinger

I don’t know where you got that figure from, but pretty much all of (public) information about the Super Hornet puts that figure of 17700 lbs (8,032 kg) as it’s external load, not weapons load. And that includes external fuel tanks.

So the SU-34 would most likely be able to carry more/heavier munitions since it was designed for such a role. Leaving out what this article is bragging about, I don’t see any point in comparing two aircraft designed for totally different roles.


25 posted on 03/08/2012 10:08:22 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: Axeslinger

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/595147/posts

Here’s a very old thread comparing the F-14 and Super Hornet. The F-14 had a significantly lower external load than the Super Hornet but it had a larger internal fuel capacity.


26 posted on 03/08/2012 10:31:59 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Completely agree, Suk’

The figure of 17700 for the SH is max external load, not max weapon load. This would include drop tanks on external hard points. Quote from Wiki:

“Hardpoints: 11 total: 2× wingtips, 6× under-wing, and 3× under-fuselage with a capacity of 17,750 lb (8,050 kg) external fuel and ordnance...”

SH’s never carry anywhere near that amount of weaponry in actual combat scenarios. They’ll fly with maybe 10k in ordnance and 1-3 drop tanks for anything beyond a very short ranged flight.

And, the Su-34 would in practical applications carry both more fuel and weapon payload than the SH for any given mission profile. Comparing the SH and the Su-34 is off of the mark as they are designed and built to do somewhat different things. The SH is a multirole medium tactical fighter/bomber whereas the -34 is a heavy tactical striker. Could potentially operate in a strategic role in some applications.


27 posted on 03/08/2012 10:42:39 AM PST by FAA
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To: Axeslinger; sukhoi-30mki; Yehuda; FAA; org.whodat; South Hawthorne; 6ppc; Cronos

Well, as soon as we are looking similarities in F-18 and Su-34, how do you think will they make a navy version to operate from carriers?

I fond an old video of some flanker-series aircraft in similar side-by-side layout taking-off from the ground and landing on carrier. It seems like there is a co-pilot with camcorder filming:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRTbUxGMQEs&feature=related

It looks like aircraft is very similar to Su-34.


28 posted on 03/08/2012 8:09:08 PM PST by cunning_fish
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To: cunning_fish

Russia is putting out BS, they are working 24/7 trying to play catch up in drones.


29 posted on 03/08/2012 8:14:06 PM PST by org.whodat
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To: sukhoi-30mki; cunning_fish
The Su-34s and Su-35s are AWESOME jets! I would have loved to see some of these birds in Indian colour, but I guess India is going to stick with upgraded Su-30MKI, Rafale and Pakfa.
30 posted on 03/09/2012 7:40:10 AM PST by ravager
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To: cunning_fish

“I fond an old video of some flanker-series aircraft in similar side-by-side layout taking-off from the ground and landing on carrier. It seems like there is a co-pilot with camcorder filming..”

What you have there is the Su-33KUB..........or what was the original prototype of a side-by-side naval trainer for Russian naval pilots. Looks exactly like an Su-34 and there’s good reason for that. Some conjecture over whether the naval trainer begat the concept Su-34 or the Su-34 begat the concept naval trainer. Note the date of the film is 1999. And note the shot of the cockpit instrument array.........straight out of 1980. Memory may fail, but, I don’t recall mention of the land-based Su-34 until sometime into the 2000’s.

No real funding for the -33KUB that I’m aware of. All Su-33s on decks today are conventional Ks. However, the Russian navy decided in 2010 to replace all Sukhoi -Ks with Mig-29Ks so I don’t think anymore is coming of a ship-based -33KUB at this time.


31 posted on 03/09/2012 7:56:57 PM PST by FAA
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To: ravager

The SU-30 covers most of the performance bases of both the SU-34 and 35 and you would not want to spend money on new infrastructure and systems on what are essentially subvariants of the Flanker family.

You might as well as buy or develop a dedicated bomber than buy the SU-34, which was aimed at taking over from the SU-24 and covering other strike roles. It’s not expected be a great export success; most sites put only the PLA-Navy as being the only realistic buyer to cover a maritime strike role.


32 posted on 03/09/2012 8:52:14 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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