Warplanes: Pimp My Su-24

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November 25, 2007: The Russian Air Force has received the first six of twelve upgraded Su-24 fighter-bombers. The improvements include modern electronics (all digital, flat panel screens, GPS and so on). The aircraft were also equipped to deliver all the latest smart bombs. Russia apparently wants to get the most out of the few flyable Su24s it still has in service. Three times this year, so far, Russian Su-24 bombers were grounded because one of them had crashed. Su-24s have been in service for 32 years, and about a third, of the 1,400 manufactured, are still in technically service. But, like the U.S. F-15Cs (about the same age as the Su-24), older aircraft get cranky and unreliable.

The Su24 was something of an "F-111 Lite." The 43 ton, swing-wing bomber has a crew of two and can carry up to eight tons of weapons. The aircraft has inefficient engines, and lots of 1980s vintage electronics. When everything worked, the Su-24 was an all-weather bomber capable of delivering dumb bombs quite accurately. Most of the time, everything didn't work. The new upgrade (the Su-24M2) aims to fix that.

 


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