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Su-27IB | Su-32FN

The prototype of the attack plane for the front aviation, known as Su-27IB, was created by reengineering of one of mass produced training-combat Su-27UB's. At the Novosibirsk plant named after V. P. Chkalov the new nose section with an armored cockpit was made, then installed on the modernized airframe of the two seater. The leading edges of the extended almost up to the cockpit wings now house fully rotatable horizontal canards or foreplanes. That has significantly changed the aerodynamics of the a/c improving its maneuverability and take off - landing characteristics (this technology was developed at first on a experimental T-10-24 in 1986 and was implemented on other Sukhoy designs such as carrier Su-27K for the fleet and multirole Su-35 for the Air Force). The air intakes were significantly redone becoming invariable (the high speed at high altitude had no importance for the fighter - bomber working mostly on a ground level with wings loaded with assorted armament). The engines and the engine nacelles were replaced as well.

The very first time Su-27IB (in the bureau this plane was known under the codename T-10B) took to the sky with one of the best firms pilots, Anatolij Ivanov, in the cockpit on the April 13, 1990. The details of the tests are still not disclosed but quite unexpectedly ITAR-TASS published through its channels a photograph of unusually looking Su-27 descending on a flight deck of the aircraft carrying cruiser "Admiral Kuznetsov". The caption under the photo by the correspondent A. Kremko was somewhat amusing: "A landing on the deck of CV "Tbilisi" It was the first official photograph of Su-27IB. And really at the time of the tests the plane overflew the deck a couple of times, but according to the official information from the bureau it was done in order to study the conditions of the landing for the carrier planes. But the question is - why could not have been it done with other types of a/c that already had made numerous landings on the deck?

But suddenly the secret was uncovered very quickly after the Su-27IB was displayed publicly in 1992 on a closed exhibition at Machulischi (close to Minsk) at the time when in the capital of Byelorussia all the heads of the CIS gathered including the Russian president Boris Yeltsin. The organizers of the exhibit (such a demonstration to the government is done approximately once every two years) planned that by showing the new perspective hardware to the president they will be able to squeeze some financing for the continuation of the RD works and for the manufacture of the pre-serial prototypes.
The visual differences from basic Su-27:
  • New radar with enlarged nose cone.(1)
  • Seat-by-seat cockpit(2)
  • Two-weel nose gear(3)
  • Resahped, flatten nose section of the fuselage(4)
  • Canard foreplanes(5)
  • Non-adjustable engine intakes(6)
  • Larger tail-planes(7)
  • No fin tips (8) under fuzelage

Su-32 Strike Flanker
For mysterious reasons, Su-32FN name was introduced for the former Su-34. From official announses dis designation is introduced for navalized and export version of Su-34.
At the beginning of 1994 two experimental Su-34 bombers were built at a serial plant in Novosibirsk. These significantly differed from the prototype. They had new gear with a tandem set up of the wheels. Such a design allows the plane to use poorly prepared strips (and as a consequence a good combat survivability in the conditions when all the major runways are destroyed as it happened in Iraq in 1991) In the tail section of the fuselage, between the engines the engineers placed a powerful Radio Locating Station for aft observation. This forced the constructors to move the breaking parachute from the tail cone to the upper surface of the fuselage making it sliding, of "button" type. The regular equipment and systems were also placed on board of the plane.

The Su-34 bomber is intended to destroy point heavily guarded targets in any weather conditions, day or night. The accomplishment of the goal is ensured by the installation of the most sophisticated at this day radioelectronic equipment on board, including multifunctional radar with increased resolution capability able to see even insignificant in size ground targets and allowing the attack with high precision.

Not only the aft facing radar warns the crew about an enemy's attack, but also can guide the air to air missile firing. The missiles are able to hit the enemy guided missiles as well as the planes. Not a single foreign attack a/c at this time has similar capabilities.

The fighter - bomber is equipped with the most powerful navigation complex. The control of the Su-34 uses multichannel digital electrodistance [total word by word translation] system. The system of active safety is installed

The cockpit is outfitted with multifunctional CRT indicators and HUD's. The pilots also have helmet mounted sights that allow to perform target cueing for the guided missiles "by looking", this significantly decreases the time of weapons reaction (which is especially important in the low altitude flight, when the crew has only seconds to find, identify and hit the target).

One of the major combat modes of the Su-34 flight is an intrepid trust at low altitude following the terrain. However the plane based on the airframe of an air superiority fighter and having a wing with relatively low wing load (even though bigger than that of regular Su-27) will be subjected to excessive effect of the turbulence caused by the condition of the air mass' close to the ground. This can adversely effect the crew's physical capability to perform a lengthy low altitude flight and under certain circumstances can lead to a disaster (because of such reasons in particular the length of the low altitude section of the American McDonnell - Douglas F-15E "Strike Eagle's" flight is limited; this a/c is also created on a base of an air superiority fighter and has a terrain following radar) For the Su-34 the low altitude flight comfort is achieved by using an automatic pitching oscillation suppression system (such an equipment is use only on the American strategic bomber Rockwell B-1B).

The combat experience of the low altitude aviation use was taken into consideration by the creators of the Su-34. The cockpit is made (the first time in the world practice on this type of a/c) in a form of an armored capsule with titanium walls up to 17 mm thick. The other vital construction elements have similar protection, particularly the fuel tanks and the engines. The total weight of the structural protection is 1,480 kg. All this in addition to the protection measures implemented on Su-27 (which had in particular fuel tanks with porous filling) provide the Su-34 with high degree of survivability in a low altitude flight over the territory reach in air defense measures.

Lately decreasing of radar, thermal and visual signature of a/c became a major element of guarantying their survival (Stealth technology). Even cursory look at the Su-34 gives an opportunity to make a conclusion that this plane has a smaller Radar Cross Section compared to the other craft in its class. Clearly visible integral arrangement of the airframe (the family feature of the all Su-27 family a/c) is combined with radically changed flatten nose section. The large "beak" of the radar sight is absent (the radar antenna and the air intakes are responsible for the size of the Radar Cross Section of a combat plane in the fore hemisphere). All this plus radioabsorbing covering and materials can make the Su-34 much less visible on a radar screen than such a/c as Su-24, F-111 and F-15E (according to the bureau representative at low altitude Su-34 will have the same radar visibility as modern cruise missiles, and as we know this class of weapons have Radar Cross Section less than 1 square meter)

The pilots' access to the cockpit is also simplified and is facilitated by a ladder through a hatch by the front wheel. The cockpit itself was constructed very spacious, behind the crew compartment of the new strike Su there is a toilet and a food heating closet. The design of the cockpit allows the crew members to leave their seats in turns and assume a fully stretched vertical position in a special compartment behind the cockpit for a relaxation. The distance between the chairs allows a one of the crew members to lie down in the corridor between the seats and to rest in a horizontal position if necessary.

The Su-34 armament includes internal GSh-301 (30 mm) cannon, very precise selfguiding and correctable missiles and bombs with effective radius from 0 to 250 km; guided air to air missiles R-77 and short range missiles R-73. The total armament load on the external hardpoints can reach 8,000 kg.
The a/c characteristics:
Weight: maximum take off : 35,000 +, weapon load on the hardpoints: 8,000 Flight data: Maximum speed at an altitude: 1.8 Mach, on a deck: 1,400 km/h transfer flight distance without external tanks and air refueling: 4,000 km

The visual differences from basic Su-27 (red marks) and predecessor Su-27IB (green marks):
  • New radar with enlarged nose cone.(1)
  • Seat-by-seat cockpit(2)
  • Resahped, flatten nose section of the fuselage(3)
  • Two-weel nose gear(4)
  • Canard foreplanes(5)
  • Non-adjustable engine intakes(6)
  • Two-weel main gears(7)
  • Larger tail-planes(8)
  • New back-sphere radar with larger antenna(9)
  • No fine tips uder fuzelage (10)