According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the country’s first batch of upgraded multi-role bombers Su-34 is ready for operation.

Accordingly, some upgraded Su-34Ms joined the bomber unit of the Air Defense and Air Force of the Eastern Military District at the end of June. The region is located in the far eastern Khabarovsk Territory, near the Russian-Chinese border.

Currently Su034M is being used for training activities.

Russia ordered 76 Su-34Ms in 2020, with delivery expected by 2027, Military Watch Magazine wrote. The number of aircraft will reportedly be enough to replace “two regiments of Su-24M strike platforms” being phased out.

The aircraft will also replace “the much larger, long-distance Tu-22M3,” according to Russia Beyond.

Russia began inducting the twin-engine twin-seater Su-34 in 2014. The aircraft is based on the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker air superiority fighter, and has been designed to perform bombing and aerial combat missions.

The aircraft is fitted with “AL-31F turbojet engines with afterburners and the Sh-141 radar station to detect ground and air targets.”

The aircraft’s armor-shielded cabin allows it to attack targets from a low altitude, while its recently outfitted Kh-35U anti-ship air-to-surface missile is capable of sinking a mid-sized vessel from a distance of 250 km (155 miles).

The ministry stated that the Su-34M will feature an upgraded electronic system, “high precision weapons and a set of several hanging containers with reconnaissance equipment.”

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