Warplanes: May 7, 2005

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The future of the Russian Air Force lies in three planes: the Su-34 tactical bomber, the Yak-130 advanced combat trainer, and the new PAK FA multi-functional fighter.

The Su-34 bomber was developed out of the proven Su-27. The avionics of the Su-34 are comparable to that of other fifth generation aircraft, making it an extremely capable aircraft. The primary role of the Su-34 will be to destroy targets on the ground. However, the aircraft is also effective in the air-to-air combat. The new bomber can carry a full range of precision guided or unguided bombs and rockets. Furthermore, the aircraft is armed with a 30mm GSh-301 cannon. The Su-34, which weights 44 tons, can achieve a speed of 1900 kilometers an hour (Mach 1.6) with a maximum range of 4,000 kilometers. In the next two years, the Russian Air Force will buy five of the new bombers for $35 million each.

The Yak-130 advanced combat trainer and light attack jet is a plane with a great future. Its maneuvering is almost identical to the most of current operational and future aircraft; such as the MiG-29, Mirage, F-15, F-16, Eurofigther, of F-22, which makes it the ideal aircraft for basic and advanced combat training. The Yak-130 can carry a variety of weapon systems including various types of laser-guided, infrared-guided, or unguided bombs and missiles. The aircraft is armed with a 30mm GSh-301 cannon as well. The advanced combat trainer has a maximum take-off weight of 9 tons and can achieve a speed of 1,060 kilometers an hour with a maximum range of 2,000 kilometers. The Russian Air Force recently bought 300 Yak-130's for $13 million each. First aircraft will enter service in 2006.

The PAK FA represents the fifth generation aircraft, which has been in development since late 90's. Its primary role will be air-to-air engagement with secondary ground attack capability. The PAK FA fighter will feature a long combat radius of 1,200 kilometers, and the ability to do short takeoffs and landings. In addition, the aircraft will have Stealth technology and will be armed with the most modern weapon systems available. The Russian Air Force expects 1,000 of these new fighters in service by 2020 with an estimated cost of $35 million each. First new aircraft are expected to  enter service by 2010.

 


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