Ukraine conflict: Russia introduces Su-34 into fray

by Gareth Jennings

A file photo of the Su-34 ‘Fullback' long range strike aircraft of the VKS. Video footage was posted on 28 February showing the type operating over Ukraine for the first time. (Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation)

Russian Sukhoi Su-34 ‘Fullback' strike aircraft were seen operating over Ukraine for the first time on 28 February.

Footage of at least one of the jets overflying the Kharkiv region was posted online, with the person taking the footage noting that at least seven such aircraft had already flown overhead by the time he began filming.

The Su-34 is a long-range strike aircraft, that was designed as a replacement for the Soviet-era Su-24 ‘Fencer' in Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) service. As noted by Janes All the World's Aircraft: Development & Production , the Su-34 is equipped with 12 hardpoints for the carriage of a range of air-to-surface and air-to-air weaponry.

Unguided, or ‘dumb', weapons carried by the type comprise FAB-500T, BETAB-500ShP, ODAB-500PM, OFAB-250-270, ODAB-100-120, P-50T bombs, as well as S-8OM, S-8BM, S-13OF, S-8KOM, and S-25OFM-PU rockets. Guided, or ‘smart', weapons comprise R-27R1 (ER1), R-27T1 (ET1), R-73E and RVV-AE air-to-air missiles; Kh-59ME, Kh-31A, Kh-31P, Kh-29T (TE), Kh-29L, and S-25LD air-to-surface missiles; KAB-500Kr, KAB-500L, KAB-1500KR, KAB-1500L LGBs; and RBK-500 SPBE-D cluster bombs. The Su-34 is also equipped with one 30 mm GSh-301 gun with 150 rounds.

According to Janes World Air Forces , the VKS has at least 125 Su-34s currently in service, with the type flown operationally in Russia (it is also used in Syria, as well as by developmental test units) by the 277th Bomber Aviation Regiment at Komsomolsk-Khurba in the Far East, the 559th Bomber Aviation Regiment at Morozovsk in the Rostov region near Ukraine, and the 47th Independent Mixed Aviation Regiment at Voronezh-Baltimor, also near Ukraine.

Russian Sukhoi Su-34 ‘Fullback' strike aircraft were seen operating over Ukraine for the first time ...

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