TechRussia Bolsters Frontline with More Su-34s Amid Ukraine Conflict

Russia Bolsters Frontline with More Su‑34s Amid Ukraine Conflict

Russians preparing Su-34
Russians preparing Su-34
Images source: © @Defence_IDA

12:12 PM EDT, April 7, 2024

As pointed out by analysts and those closely watching the conflict in Ukraine, Russia has increased its deployment of aircraft to the front lines to offset the significant losses incurred recently. Online footage reveals the arrival of new Su-34s. So, what exactly are these aircraft?

The Su-34s play a critical role in Russian military operations, representing a significant chunk of the aircraft deployed in Ukraine. Due to their extensive use, they have frequently fallen prey to Ukrainian air defenses, which were remarkably effective earlier this year. Notably, in February, 10 Russian Su-34s were downed, showcasing a level of aerial defense capability not seen in the preceding months.

The addition of Su-34s to the Russian forces

In March, Ukrainian aviation specialist Valeriy Romanenko cautioned against excessive optimism. He highlighted that Russia possesses substantial reserves and maintains ongoing production of these tactical bombers. Recent reports confirm this, with the delivery of a new batch of Su-34s to the Russian Ministry of Defense, which are now ready to be deployed to the units actively involved in the Ukraine conflict.

According to Romanenko’s calculations, the production rate of Su-34s in 2022 and 2023 was about 10 units annually. Estimates on the total number of Su-34s available to Russia range between 80 and 120, a substantial number of which are engaged in Ukraine. Russia endeavors to keep a steady supply of these bombers at the front as they are pivotal in conducting assaults on Ukrainian cities and military targets.

These aircraft are known for deploying KAB-type aerial bombs, weighing up to about 3307 pounds. Some analysts have called them "a miracle weapon," highlighting the lack of effective Ukrainian defenses against them.

The Su-34 tactical bomber

The Su-34 tactical bomber, also known as Fullback per NATO's terminology, is designated as a fighter bomber. Developed in the 1990s to succeed the Su-24, it can fulfill reconnaissance and strike missions.

This Russian aircraft boasts dimensions exceeding 23 meters in length and 6 meters in height. Fueled by twin AL-31F M1 engines, the Su-34 can achieve up to 1180 mph speeds and carry up to 8 tons of underwing weaponry. It is also armed with a GSh-30-1 cannon of 30 mm caliber. The Su-34's maximum operational range is approximately 2485 miles with a ceiling of about 55774 feet.

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