Sukhoi Su-34 ‘Fullback’ strike aircraft are thought to have been sent by Russia to bolster its military offensive against Ukraine.
Online videos show up to seven SU-34 fighter-bombers flying over Kharkiv, Ukraine’s northeastern metropolis. Images of FAB-500 unguided bombs, apparently dropped by Su-34s on a civilian target in Kharkiv, were also widely circulated on the internet.
This was seen by experts as a foreshadowing of things to come, hinting that the Russian military has begun using tactical aviation for bombing operations. Only Su-25 assault planes were thought to be used for support missions previously.
On February 28, the Russian Air Force allegedly carried out an airstrike on a Ukrainian military base in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s northeastern metropolis.
However, Ukraine’s side has a counter-narrative, saying that defensive forces shot down a Su-34. Images of what appears to be the bomber’s wreckage have gone viral on social media. Experts, on the other hand, believe that further proof is needed to back up this allegation.
The Russian air force now has at least 125 Su-34s in service, according to Janes World Air Forces. The 277th Bomber Aviation Regiment at Komsomolsk-Khurba in the Far East, the 559th Bomber Aviation Regiment at Morozovsk in the Rostov region near Ukraine, and the 47th Independent Mixed Aviation Regiment at Voronezh-Baltimor, also near Ukraine, “fly operationally in Russia (it is also used in Syria, as well as by developmental test units).”
The Su-34 Strike Plane is a high-altitude attack plane.
The Sukhoi Su-34 is a twin-engine all-weather bomber/ground attack plane that can attack both naval and ground targets. The cockpit is set up side by side, with the pilot and co-pilot/navigator/weapons officer sitting next to each other. A built-in stepladder runs from behind the landing gear to the back of the cockpit, allowing access to the cockpit.
According to Sukhoi, the cockpit is large enough to stand up in. There’s also enough room on board for one of the two pilots to rest, as well as a washroom and a small galley.
The platypus-nosed jet’s ability to carry such a massive amount of fuel is extremely impressive. This enables it to carry out long-range operations without the need for airborne refuelling. The cockpit capsule is also shielded against small weapons and anti-aircraft fire thanks to its titanium coating. The airframe, as well as other components, are armoured.
For a variety of reasons, the Su-34 is a unique aircraft. Its duckbill-shaped fuselage combines the payload and range of a medium- or long-range bomber with the manoeuvrability of a fighter.
The Su-34 has a 30-mm cannon for ground attacks, as well as 12 hardpoints for various bombs and missiles on the wings and fuselage. One of the Su-34’s most noticeable features is the distinctive tail boom on the back of the fuselage.
A braking parachute, auxiliary power unit, additional fuel, and a smaller rear-facing radar antenna can alert the pilots if missiles are approaching the aircraft are all housed in the boom.
The main battle fighter Jet
No Su-34s were lost in Syria due to mishaps or hostile fire. During Russia’s second Chechen War and the Russo-Georgian War, two Su-34 prototypes are believed to have provided escort jamming and precision strike assistance.
According to a recent danger assessment by Danish intelligence, these aircraft, stationed at Russia’s northernmost bases, are “capable of reaching the airspace over northeastern Greenland with minimal prior warning.”
“Russian combat aircraft might reach Thule Air Base, a vital site in the United States’ space and missile defence architecture, while simultaneously widening Russia’s A2/AD bubble into the North Atlantic,” according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. This might put American and NATO interests in the region in jeopardy.
Despite its efficacy as a counter-insurgency aircraft in Syria, the Su-34 could be vulnerable due to its radar visibility and role in breaching hostile airspace to strike vital targets behind enemy lines.