Russia to buy 92 Su-34 fightersMarch 1st, 2012 - 7:29 pm ICT by IANS
Moscow, March 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia has signed a deal to buy 92 Su-34 Fullback fighter-bombers from the Sukhoi aircraft maker, the defence ministry said Thursday.
The deal under which the warplanes are to be delivered by 2020 was signed by Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Sukhoi general director Igor Ozar.
The $36-million Su-34 fighter-bomber is a two-seat strike aircraft fitted with twin AL-31MF afterburner turbojet engines.
It is designed to deliver high-precision strikes on heavily-defended targets under any weather conditions, and is equipped with a 30-mm GSh-301 cannon, up to 12 Alamo or Archer air-to-air missile (AAM), air-to-surface missile (ASM) and bombs.
Serdyukov said this was one of the largest plane contracts under the government arms procurement programme and it will help replace all of the Su-24 bombers currently in service with the “4+ generation” aircraft.
The ministry said the air force will procure over 1,500 new aircraft by 2020. It said earlier that 70 Su-34s will be delivered by 2015.
Russia has partially resumed flights of Su-24 Fencer tactical bombers after one of them crashed in Kurgan region during a routine flight Feb 13. Both pilots ejected safely.
All Su-24s were grounded after the crash.
The crash was the third of a Su-24 in Russia over the last four months. The two previous crashes occurred in October and December 2011.
The Su-24 has been in service with the Russian Air Force since the 1970s. In recent years, Russia has been phasing out the planes.
Russia started full-scale production of Su-34s in 2008 at a Novosibirsk-based manufacturing plant.
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