14:26 GMT +324 May 2018
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    Sukhoi Su-34 in flight

    Su-34: Russia’s Ultimate ISIL-Crushing Machine

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    As Russia begins its air campaign against the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group in Syria, the jet responsible is the Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback, Russia’s secret weapon in the skies.

    Developed in the final years of the Cold War, the Su-34 was meant to replace the Russian military’s aging fleet of Su-24 Fencers. Featuring a robust air-to-air self-defense system, the aircraft is a top-of-the-line strike fighter, and this marks the first time it’s been deployed outside of Russia.

    Jet formation flyby was carried out by four Su-34 Fullbacks
    Jet formation flyby was carried out by four Su-34 Fullbacks

    Equipped with short-range R-73 dogfighting missiles, the Su-34 also features long-range R-77 air-to-air radar-guided projectiles. In addition, the fighter carries a wide range of air-to-ground missiles. Including the Kh-59ME, Kh-31A, Kh-31P, Kh-29T, Kh-29L, and the S-25LD, these weapons can hit both ground and maritime targets.

    The fighter also features the Leninets B-004 array radar. Optimized for air-to-ground operations, the system allows for targeting from over 60 miles away.

    Capable of staying aloft for hours, the Su-34 is outfitted for aerial refueling. This gives the aircraft a combat radius of roughly 700 miles.

    It’s a fairly large aircraft, with side-by-side seating for the pilots and a 17,600-pound payload. That much weight requires some pretty hefty horsepower to stay airborne, and the Su-34 uses a pair of 27,500-lb. Saturn AL-31F turbofans.

    In addition to the Su-34, Russia is also operating Su-24s and Su-30SMs in Syrian airspace.

    Related:

    Russian Airstrikes in Syria Temporary
    Homs Airstrike: White Helmets Caught Faking Syria Casualties Report
    Russian Jets Carry Out 20 Sorties Against ISIL Targets in Syria
    Tags:
    Daesh, airstrike, Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback, Su-34, Russia, Syria
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