Russia’s Su-34 fleet found to have serious defects

The United States isn’t the only country to have trouble with new developmental aircraft. According to the Russian newspaper Izvestia, the country’s recently acquired Sukhoi Su-34 strike fighters have significant operational limitations due to various manufacturing defects. Of the 16 jets in service, each one has its own unique set of problems.

Read the article here… my Russian is almost non-existent–to be charitable–and Google translator is never 100% accurate, so this is the gist of it.

su34-100v2.jpgThe most serious problems affect the radar and navigation systems, Izvestia says citing anonymous Russian air force pilots. Apparently, the glitches are not just due to software but there are also some hardware issues.

Maintaining the Su-34 also sounds like a nightmare for the ground crews–as each aircraft is different, and apparently a lot of the wiring is poorly soldered. The worst of the jets are the first two planes which were delivered in 2006–which are basically only there to decorate the airfield according to a senior Russian air force official Izvestia spoke to. But the three newest jets are a lot better, which is not unexpected.

As the Sukhoi rep points out in the story, almost every new aircraft has teething problems. It’s just part of life in the aviation business–early examples often have flaws. They’ll fix it, I’m sure. It’ll just take time and money.

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