LATEST UPDATE 22 MARCH 2014 (2014 PLANNING) | Nicknamed ‘the Flying Tank’ by the Sukhoi aircraft designers, the Russian Air Force is getting more and more of these Su-34s in its service. Of these heavily weaponised strike aircraft, 32 have been delivered as of December 2013 on an early contract, and more are on their way.
According to Sukhoi sources the production facilities already started constructing another load of 92 of these Su-34s, with at least 14 planned for 2014. NATO gave them the nickname Pullback – sorry, bad joke – Fullback. The Su-34 can be loaded with up to eight tons of weaponry and deliver the payload to a target up to 680 miles (1,100 km) after lift-off without aerial refueling. The ferry range is 2,162 nautical miles (4,000 kilometres) from where the aircraft takes off.
The Russian Air Force Su-34s are powered by Lyulka AL-31MF afterburner turbojet engines, which can bring the Fullback up to Mach 1.8 at high level.
One of the more special characteristics is the standard side-by-side two man crew cockpit. The Su-34 is a derivative of the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker multirole fighter.