RUSSIA'S NOVOSIBIRSK Chkalov plant plans to produce 12-13 Sukhoi Su-34 tactical bombers by 1998. Chkalov plant officials say two more production-configuration Su-34s are now being assembled at the site.

The plant had been producing Sukhoi Su-24 Fencers until 1992, and the new type is to be substituted for them as the backbone of the bomber force of Frontal (Tactical) Aviation command of the Russian air force.

The first pre-series Su-34 was flown from Novosibirsk on 28 December, a year after the second prototype was assembled there. The first prototype, initially designated Su-27IB, has been flying since 1991.

The two-seat side-by-side Su-34 has an unrefuelled range of 4,000km (2,000nm), a multi-function radar, inertial-navigation system coupled with GLONASS satellite navigation and a variety of air-to-ground guided missiles and bombs.

Source: Flight International