Hobby Master HA6304 Russian Sukhoi Su-34 "Fullback" Strike Fighter - "Blue 43", Second Prototype, Akhtubinsk Flight Test Center, Russia, December 1993 (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 that served as the second prototype aircraft and tested at the Akhtubinsk, Russia, during December 1993.
Pre-order! Ship Date: July 2020.
Release Date: ?
Historical Account: "Valery Chkalov" - A state flight testing center known as Valery Chkalov 929 GLITs VVS is located in Akhtubinsk. The Groshevo (Vladimirovka) military testing range is located to the north of Akhtubinsk.
In 2012, construction of a site for flight test operations began, including a new runway specifically designed to accommodate flight testing of the Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter currently under development.
Valery Pavlovich Chkalov (February 2nd, 1904 - December 15th, 1938) was a Soviet and Russian aircraft test pilot and a Hero of the Soviet Union (1936).