19 September, 2011, RT.com
Russian Air Forces have finished tests of the Sukhoi Su-34, military sources say. The aircraft will reportedly be approved for use by the military arm and will become the backbone of the Russian frontline bomber fleet.
Commander of the Air Forces Colonel General Aleksandr Zelin has already signed the recommendation which gives the green light for mass production of the aircraft, the source told Interfax news agency. He added that a government order for deployment of the Su-34s is expected next year.
Earlier, General Zelin said the Air Forces planned to buy a total of 120 Su-34s, which will be formed into five squadrons with 24 aircraft deployed in each one. The aircraft are to be produced by the Novosibirsk branch of the Sukhoi Corporation.
The Sukhoi Su-34 is a 4+ generation two-seater fighter-bomber comparable in its role and specifications to the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle. It has 12 pods and can carry up to eight tons of load. It has a range of 1,100 kilometers and top speed of 1,900 kph. The vehicle can engage surface and aerial targets thanks to its armament versatility. It also has advanced radar and tracking equipment.