The latest batch of three Su-34s to leave the Novosibirsk Aircraft Plant of the Sukhoi Company, literately went south after take-off on 8 December 2014, according to a press release by its maker. Several Russian sources say the strike aircraft went home to Morozovsk Airbase in the Rostov region, 85 miles (140 km) east of the border with Ukraine.
The Novosibirsk Aircraft Plant apparently currently operates at its maximum capacity, which is about 15 to 16 aircraft a year. The latest batch are aircraft 13 to 15 of 2014, according to Russian sources. According to Russian sources the latest three landed at Morozovsk, where they complete a second Su-34 Bomber (Strike) squadron, each unit equipped with 12 planes. The location of the planes has nothing to do with the current military conflict in the eastern part of Ukraine, but has been planned a long time ago.
The State contract with the Ministry of Defense with Sukhoi for supplies of up to 92 Su-34s to the Air Force till the year of 2020 provides the aircraft designer and the Novosibirsk Aircraft Plant with a stable work load for the near future. The Russian Air Force’s total requirement is believed to be between 124 and 130 aircraft. Russian airplane experts report that so far 62 of these strike aircraft have been built: 32 of the initial contract, 17 of the 2012 contract of 92, plus prototypes and pre-production versions.
The new Sukhoi Su-34 (NATO-reporting name Fullback) is a new generation frontline bomber with an increased up to 2,160 nautical miles (4,000 km) flight range, a maximum speed of up to 1025 knots (1900 km/h) and can carry 17,636 lbs (8 tons) of payload. The Su-34 has new weapon systems and is equipped with an air-refueling system.
Su-34s were lately the star of NATO’s propaganda, with the military alliance using the Su-34s reporting name Fullback, when both Royal Netherlands Air Force as well as Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16 interception videos of the type were released.
Source: Sukhoi Aircraft Company and Russian Ministry of Defence, with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger