Russia's New Armored Bomber Will Revolutionize the Battlefield

Russia is preparing a new, armored variant of the Su-34 fighter-bomber

Thu, Sep 15, 2016
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A Russian SU-34

The plane Su-34 is produced by Russian Sukhoi aircraft corporation, weighs 45 t, carrying 8 tons of weapons with a maximum speed of Mach 1.8, with a ceiling of 18,000 m and a tactical radius of 4,000 km. Su-34 bombers have been tested in actual fighting in Syria, launching bombs and rockets directed by laser, infrared beams, TV, GPS. One of the conclusions drawn by Russian military experts, was to expand the capabilities of this aircraft ground attack missions, to replace the armored Su-25 planes, whose resource is running out.

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Russian military aviation has 100 planes Su-34, so that until 2022, when 100 Su-25 unmodernized and 150 Su-24 unmodernized, will be withdrawn from the endowment, the number of Su-34 will rise to reach 250.

In close support missions, the aircraft Su-34 should enter into range of portable surface to air missiles (MANPADS), anti-aircraft artillery caliber machine guns and small endowment land forces. To counter this, the Su-34 will need armor plates to protect the flight deck, engines, fuel tanks and flight control vital mainframe systems. Dome cabin and its front window must also armored. Armor plates will be made of titanium with a thickness of 15 to 30 mm, nylon coated with multilayer (which stop fragments resulting from the explosion). It must withstand armor-piercing projectiles or explosives over the caliber 23mm up to 57mm caliber.

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Su-34 already has an advanced equipment of electronic countermeasures against missile ground-to-air portable (MANPADS) systems and short-range missiles, guided by radar. It is composed of handset radiation L150 Pastel digital radar, jamming radio station components and laser self-protection KNIRTI (SPS-171 / L005S Sorbtsiya-S) launchers mounted on top of plans and traps heat APP-50.

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Armor design and testing of the Su-34 is nothing quite so difficult for Russians, since experience with Su-25’s armor is successful one. Su-25 has a length of 15.5 m, 14.3 m span the height of 4.8 m, while the Su-34 has a length of 23.3 m, and its size of 14.7 m, a height of 6 m. Therefore, the armor of Su-34 will weigh 800 to 1000 kg, as opposed to that of Su-25 which has mass of 500 kg. The process will end in 2018 when a first group of 12 Russian Su-34 bombers will became operational for ground-attack missions.

Su-34 equipped with three additional tanks can fly 8 hours without fueling in the air. Another advantage for armored aircraft Su-34 is that it can find and discover for yourself targets on land or sea through research assignments, being mounted under the fuselage container M400 containing infrared sensors Raduga, panoramic rooms AP-403 and AP-404 plan -înclinate AK-108FM or container type M402 Pika SLAR (side-looking airborne radar). As an airplane bomber, Su-34 is best in aerial interdictions, that bombing from high altitudes, medium and large distances to supply routes and enemy troops in depth. During the bombing missions, the Su-34 can be used as a jamming platform to cover assault units striking, using jamming container L175V / KS418 equipped with DRFM (Digital RF Memory). One multifunction radar on board enables the discovery and classification of hunting enemy aircraft. For this purpose Su-34 is armed with long-range air-to-air missiles R-77, R 27 and R-73 short-range. After downing a Russian Su-24 aircraft to Syriaby Turkish F-16, Su-34 received air-to-air missiles.

The benefits of armored Su-34 are arising from the ability to develop long (up to two hours without feeding in air) at heights 8000-12000 m, where with the help of the sensors onboard, the pilot familiarize themselves with the tactical situation on ground or sea surface. During this time the pilot seeks permanent changes in the field, depending on who selects targets. Selecting and following of targets are done using electron-optical equipment Platan mounted Su-34 aircraft fuselage. It is equipped with a laser target marker which measures the distance to the target using a laser rangefinder precision.

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The attack of ground targets is exersised from heights of 1000-3000 m, by bombs, air-ground missile with rocket blocks UB 16/32 cal. 57 mm (PRND) and GSH-30-1 cannon board, caliber 30 mm (1,800 projectiles cadence / min). The armored Su-34 will ensure extremely precise support for land forces fighting terrorist groups without causing collateral damage and risk being downed. If the situation in eastern Ukraine will deteriorate, armored Su-34 armored could become nightmare for Ukrainian army.

The need of a such of aircraft of ground support becomes a common one, although only the US and Russia each have one type of such aircraft. Lacking a new type of aircraft for close support, the Americans gave up their plan to remove 240 aircraft A-10 Thunderbolt II, 30-40 years old, extending them until 2028 resource.

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A-10 planes are extremely resistant, specialized on support of troops on the ground, especially in anti-armor operations. A-10 is equipped with a cannon rotary GAU-8 with six pipes, caliber 30 mm (cadence 3,900 projectiles / minute, missiles with depleted uranium), bombs guided by laser, bombs in boxes with routing systems independent JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) air-ground missiles and AGM-65 Maverick. In the first Gulf War (1991) US A-10 aircraft destroyed 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 other military vehicles and 1,200 artillery pieces.

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