Russia has sent Su-34M/M2 strike aircraft to Ukraine for testing
MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russia is testing in Ukraine the latest version of its Su-34 fighter bomber/strike aircraft. They are upgraded design version M and version M2. Delivery from the Novosibirsk plant, part of the UAC group on December 29 confirms the news.
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Three Su-34M strike aircraft were delivered then. They were built in 2022. They are part of the third batch of delivery for 2022 and the fourth batch since 2020, since then the Russian Ministry of Defense signed a contract with UAC for the delivery of a total of 76 version M and version M2. From 2020 to today, the Russian Aerospace Forces [VKS] operate with 14 fighters from the new update.
The second and third deliveries of Su-34M in 2022 were deployed to the 227th Bombardment Aviation Regiment of the 303rd Mixed Aviation Division of the 11th Red Banner Army of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Eastern Military District. This regiment took an active part in the war in Ukraine. For this reason, the Kremlin changed its status to a “guard regiment”.
It is noteworthy that the delivery of the second and third batches of strike aircraft have retouched hull numbers. This measure is taken because they participate in the hostilities in Ukraine. Sources claim that Su-34M2s were also delivered to the 227th Bombardment Aviation Regiment. Originally, the M2 version was intended for another aviation regiment [known by its codename Tatar Aviation Regiment], but after suffering losses in 2022, the Su- 34M2 has gone again to the 227th regiment.
The Su-34M and Su-34M2 should replace the entire Russian fleet of Su-34 base aircraft in the coming years. Russian sources claim that almost all of the Su-34M and M2 avionics have been replaced with a new version. This includes significant upgrades to the radar, communications, and fire control systems.
The new variants will come with a dedicated interface for three different types of sensors to achieve maximum situational awareness. These include the UKR-RT pod, which carries electronic search measures, the UKR-OE is a camera, and the UKR-RL, which integrates a synthetic aperture radar.
Vessia M and M2 increase the range of armaments. The strike aircraft is already armed with Kh-101 and Kh-102 radar-evading cruise missiles with a strike range estimated between 3,500 and 5,500 km. The air-to-air potential of the Su-34M has also been increased through additional armament with R-27ER and R-77 missiles.
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