Hobby Master HA6303 Russian Sukhoi Su-34 "Fullback" Strike Fighter - "Bort #10", Oleg Peshkov Commemorative Scheme, August 2017 (1:72 Scale)
"It's got a bigger cockpit than the Tu-160."
- A joke pertaining to the gargantuan size of the Su-34's flight deck
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 that was developed in the late 1980s, making its first flight on April 13th, 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 forward 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. Nevertheless, 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 defense 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.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a Russian Sukhoi Su-34 "Fullback" strike aircraft known as "Bort #10", clad in a Oleg Peshkov Commemorative Scheme. Comes with wing tip jamming pods and cluster bombs.
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Historical Account: "Splash One Suhkoi" - A Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M attack aircraft near the Syria-Turkey border on November 24th, 2015. According to Turkey, the aircraft - whose nationality was unknown at the time - was fired upon while in Turkish airspace because it violated the border up to a depth of 2.19 kilometres (1.36 miles) for about 17 seconds after being warned to change its heading 10 times over a period of five minutes before entering the airspace. The Russia Defence Ministry denied the aircraft ever left Syrian airspace, counter-claiming that their satellite data showed that the Sukhoi was about 1,000 metres (1,100 yd) inside Syrian airspace when it was shot down. The U.S. State Department said that the U.S. independently confirmed that the aircraft's flight path violated Turkish territory, and that the Turks gave multiple warnings to the pilot, to which they received no response and released audio recordings of the warnings they had broadcast. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pointed out that Turkey had the right to defend its airspace. Russian president Vladimir Putin said that the U.S. knew the flight path of the Russian jet and should have informed Turkey; two U.S. officials said that Russia did not inform the U.S. military of its jet's flight plan.
The Russian pilot and weapon systems officer both ejected from the aircraft. The weapon systems officer was rescued; the pilot, however, was shot and killed by Syrian rebel ground fire while descending by parachute. A Russian naval infantryman from the search and rescue team launched to retrieve the two airmen was also killed when a rescue helicopter was targeted by the rebels.
The shooting down of the Sukhoi Su-24M was the first destruction of a Russian or Soviet Air Forces warplane by a NATO member state since the attack on the Sui-ho Dam (during the Korean War). Reactions to the incident included denunciation from Russia and an attempt to defuse the situation by NATO afterwards. Russia deployed the guided missile cruiser Moskva armed with S-300F (SA-N-6 Grumble) long-range SAM missiles off the Syrian coast near Latakia and S-400 (SA-21 Growler) mobile SAM systems to Khmeimim airbase. In response, the Turkish Armed Forces deployed the KORAL land-based radar electronic support system in Hatay Province along the Turkish-Syrian border.