Gaincorp GC8011 Russian Sukhoi Su-34 "Fullback" Strike Fighter - #43, Blue/Grey Scheme (1:72 Scale)
"Their [US] defense budget in absolute figures is almost 25 times bigger than Russia's. This is what in defense is referred to as 'their home — their fortress'. And good on them, I say. Well done! But this means that we also need to build our home and make it strong and well protected. We see, after all, what is going on in the world. The Comrade Wolf knows who to eat, as the saying goes. It knows who to eat and is not about to listen to anyone, it seems."
- Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking to the Federal Assembly in his 2006 annual address
The Sukhoi Su-34, NATO reporting name 'Fullback,' is an advanced Russian two-seat fighter-bomber and strike aircraft. It is intended to eventually replace the Sukhoi Su-24.
A variant of the Sukhoi Su-27 with side-by-side seating was developed in the late 1980s, making its first flight on 13 April 1990. It has a complex development history, being first developed as a carrier-based trainer, but by the time it was first publicly revealed in the mid-1990s it was as the Su-27IB (IB standing for Istrebitel Bomardirvoschik / Fighter Bomber), an advanced strike aircraft. Sukhoi, seeking export customers for the aircraft, has shown it as both the Su-32FN (FN for "Fighter, Naval") and the Su-34. Its proposed export designation may be Su-32MF (MnogoFunktsionalniy, multi-function). At present its official designation appears to be Su-34. Its oddly shaped nose, said to be semi-stealthy, is reminiscent of that of the SR-71 Blackbird, and has earned it the nickname "Platypus," although its NATO reporting name is Fullback.
The aircraft shares most of its fuselage and wing structure with the Su-27/Su-30, with canards as per the Su-30/Su-33/Su-35 to increase static instability (higher manoeuvrability) and to reduce trim drag. The aircraft has an entirely new nose and foreward fuselage with a cockpit providing side-by-side seating for a crew of two. The Su-34 retains the Su-27's engines, but with fixed intakes, limiting its maximum speed to about Mach 1.8. Production models are likely to have thrust vectoring, like recent Su-30MKs.
The most unusual aspect of the Su-34 is its side-by-side cockpit. Unlike the earlier Su-27, it has a modern "glass" cockpit, with color CRT multi-function displays.
The development of the Su-34 has been hampered by the poor state of Russian finances, and to date only a handful of preproduction models have been built. In mid-2004 Sukhoi announced that low-rate production was commencing and that initial aircraft would reach squadron service around 2008. Neverthless, upgrade programs continue for surviving Russian Su-24s, as the Su-34 may still not enter wide service for some years to come.
In March, 2006 Russia's minister of defence Sergei Ivanov announced that the government purchased a starting number of two planes this year, and going to have a complete air regiment of 24 Su-34s by the end of 2010. He also claimed that the plane is "many times more effective on all critical parameters" so Russia overall will need far fewer of these newer bombers than it had to have with the old Su-24. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 8 inches
Length: 11 inches
Historical Account: "Air Space" - The Su-34 has an unusually large flight deck rather than a cockpit, having space for a galley, a latrine, and a bunkbed. It was joked that "It's got a bigger cockpit than the Tu-160". Much of the design work went into crew comfort, which is why the cockpit is so large, and why some of the unusual features were included. Some of these include a cockpit pressurized by the air conditioning system, rather than with oxygen masks, and space in the cockpit to lie down (one at a time) and massage function in the K-36 ejector seats.
The Su-34 has 12 stores pylons for up to 8,000 kilograms (17,635 pounds) of ordnance, intended to include the latest Russian precision-guided weapons. It retains the Su-27/Su-30's 30mm cannon. A Leninets V004 phased-array radar is fitted, mated to a Platan electro-optical / laser targeting unit and an advanced nav-attack system. It shares the Su-35's "stinger" tail with Leninets V005 rear-facing radar.