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    New Russian fighter-bomber in final test stages

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    "We have practically completed the tests [of Su-27IB fighter-bomber]," said Yury Tregubenkov, director of the Chkalov center in Siberia.

    AKHTUBINSK, March 22 (RIA Novosti) - A new Russian fighter-bomber capable of delivering high-precision strikes has started its final test flights, a senior official said Wednesday.

    "We have practically completed the tests [of Su-27IB fighter-bomber]," said Yury Tregubenkov, director of the Chkalov center in Siberia. "Only a few of them are left and we are planning to complete them in a year to 18 months."

    He said that the aircraft could be officially given the designation Su-34 after the tests were completed.

    The Su-34 (NATO reporting name Fullback) 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.

    Air Force Commander Vladimir Mikhailov said yesterday that Russia's Air Force would receive a regiment of new Su-34s by 2010.

    The Chkalov center is also conducting tests of several warplanes and the Mi-28 Night Hunter and the K-52 Alligator attack helicopters.

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