Moscow, March 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Air Force will receive a regiment of new Su-34 fighter-bombers by 2010, its head said Tuesday.
"Under a three-year state contract, the Chkalov Aircraft Production Association [in Novosibirsk] ...will manufacture and deliver a regiment of Su-34 [NATO designation Fullback] fighter-bombers to the Russian Air Force," Air Force Commander Vladimir Mikhailov said.
Mikhailov said the Su-34 would replace the outdated Su-24 (NATO designation Fencer) frontline bomber.
"Test flights of Su-34 fighter-bombers started at the beginning of 2006," Mikhailov said. "We have about 10 [Su-34s] in the Air Force at present."
The Su-34 fighter-bomber is a two-seat strike aircraft equipped with twin AL-31MF afterburning turbojet engines. It is designed to deliver high-precision strikes at heavily guarded targets in any weather conditions, day or night.
Its armament includes a 30mm GSh-301 cannon, up to 12 Alamo or Archer AAMs, ASMs, and bombs.
"[The plane's] variable payload makes the Su-34 a unique aircraft capable of destroying almost any target," the Air Force Commander said.
Various sources put the number of planes in a Russian fighter-bomber regiment at 25-30.