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  • The Mighty Ducks of Lipetsk
    Posted by Bill Sweetman 2:12 PM on Feb 03, 2012

    Photos of the first production Su-34 Fullback strike fighters have been out on the bulletin boards for a few weeks. After a long and budget-constrained evolution (unlike most post-Cold War Russian fighter developments, the Su-34 has no export sponsor) the aircraft is in service hands for tactics development.

    Air Power Australia has just posted a series of high-rez images.

    blog post photo

    I have not had time to review the jet's performance lately, or estimate the size of the big fuel tank that's visible in other images.

    blog post photo

    However, it's interesting that the Russian air force has made a priority of pursuing development of the Su-34 -- it's one of two air-to-surface-optimized combat aircraft in current production, the other being the Chinese H-6.

    One puzzle:  what's the real purpose of that THING sticking out the back? I have speculated that it's the future home of a high-power-microwave missile zapper, although Kopp contends that the antenna aperture is not big enough.

    And why are some Russian radomes white, and others dark gray?

    Tags: ar99, tacair, sukhoi, fullback

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