Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council Defense and Security Committee, Viktor Bondarev, disclosed that Russia might one day have a new single-seat attack jet based on the Su-34.
The former head of the Russian Air and Space Force (RuASF) added that the new jet will replace the Su-25 and have twice the payload.
“My opinion is that a new attack aircraft should be made on the basis of the Su-34 after all. This is a splendid plane. It is maneuverable and has eight tonnes of the bomb load against four tonnes carried by the Su-25. It has excellent characteristics… I believe that it is simpler and easier to make a cockpit for one pilot and leave all the rest as it is,” he told TASS.
The new strike aircraft will feature the same engines as the Su-34 Bondarev said.
“An attack aircraft will always be needed. The Su-25 has been upgraded to the Su-25SM3 version. It has a very reliable airframe and huge modernization and repair potential. I believe it will fly for another 10-15 years. Naturally, we will have to replace it eventually and today various options are being considered,” he pointed out.
An anonymous source told TASS that development could start in 2018.
Russia’s Defense Ministry signed the contract for the delivery of the first batch of Su-34 (NATO reporting name: Fullback) aircraft to the RuASF in 2008. The Russian Military is expected to receive between 150 and 200 Su-34s.
Based on the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker air superiority fighter, the Su-34 is a twin seat, all weather fighter bomber. Even if the Fullback retains the basic Su-27 airframe layout, the Su-34 has a redesigned nose section which accommodates an advanced, multi-mode, phased array radar with terrain following and terrain avoidance modes. Furthermore given that the capacity of Su-34 internal fuel tanks has been increased, the aircraft is heavier than the Su-27.
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