Warplanes: The Most User Friendly Fighter Bomber Ever Built

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March 28, 2006: The Russian air force is buying 24 new Su-34 fighter bombers. This is the latest variant of the Su-27. The Su-34 is somewhat like the American F-15E, a high performance fighter modified to act as a very effective bomber. Aside from it's similarity to the F-15E, the Su-34 has one very distinguishing characteristic. The cockpit for the two man crew not only allows forside-by-side seating, but is spacious enough for the pilots to stand up and, standing behind their seats, stretch a bit. There is also a toilet and cooking facilities back there as well. The cockpit itself is protected with 17mm lightweight armor. The canopy does not open, as the pilots enter via a hatch near the front landing gear. The cockpit is pressurized for operations under 33,000 feet (above that, they have to wear the usual flight gear). Although the Su-34 looks like a fighter, it's as heavy as a bomber (44 tons max) and can carry up to eight tons of weapons. It's 77 feet long, with a wingspan of 48 feet. By comparison, the F-15E is 36 tons, 64 feet long and with a 43 foot wingspan. An even more lavishly equipped (with sensors) version is in development, to replace the Su-24 (for long range precision bombing.)

 


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