Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) – a subsidiary of the state-owned Rostec State Corporation – announced on June 1 that it has delivered another batch of Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback fighter-bombers to the Russian Aerospace Forces (RuAF).
While the number of aircraft delivered as part of this batch was not disclosed, an image released by the UAC confirmed that at least two Fullbacks had been handed over to the Russian Ministry of Defence (MOD). The aircraft pictured as part of the delivery did not appear to show any identifiable unit markings, nor did they feature registration codes or Bort Nos. Manufactured by the UAC at its Su-34 assembly line at the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association Plant ‘V.P. Chkalov’ in Russia’s Novosibirsk Oblast, the firm states that the aircraft “underwent a set of ground and flight tests” before being transferred to the Russian MOD. It remains unclear where these newly acquired Su-34s will be based or which unit they will be operated by.
Commenting on the recent delivery, Yuri Slyusar – General Director of the UAC – said: “The Su-34 batch is the first delivery of operational-tactical aircraft this year. The UAC, as part of Rostec, faces the most important task – to provide the Russian MOD with new highly efficient aviation systems. We fulfil our obligations under the state defence order in a timely manner, and also, together with the military, carry out the necessary work to maintain the serviceability of the fleet of aircraft in operation.”
It remains unclear as to how many Su-34s are currently operational in the RuAF’s inventory, given that the platform has been heavily involved in supporting Russian ground forces since the nation invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Before the war began, the RuAF had received 136 series production-standard Su-34s in total (plus seven prototypes and pre-series production aircraft). This was increased to 140 after four more Fullbacks were delivered to the Russian MOD in mid-2022. However, the RuAF’s frontline Su-34 fleet has suffered heavy losses as a result of the conflict, with Key.Aero reporting on October 11 that Russia had lost 10% of its Fullback fleet (16 confirmed losses) during the conflict and more aircraft having been destroyed since.
Designed by Sukhoi and based on the company’s Flanker family of air superiority fighters, the Su-34 Fullback is a twin-seat, all-weather supersonic fighter-bomber/strike aircraft, which completed its maiden flight on April 13, 1990, and entered operational RuAF service on March 20, 2014. The platform has been developed for tactical use against maritime- and ground-based targets or aerial reconnaissance in day/night conditions and in hostile or degraded combat environments, where enemy air defence systems and electronic countermeasures are in use.