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Russia's Sukhoi Su-34 jets make first-ever nighttime flight into stratosphere

The aircraft destroyed a hypothetical enemy at a supersonic speed, according to the Central Military District's press service

YEKATERINBURG, September 30. /TASS/. Crews of generation 4++ multifunctional fighter-bombers Sukhoi Su-34 from an aviation division of the Central Military District, in the Chelyabinsk Region, carried out a night-time flight into the lower stratosphere and destroyed a hypothetical enemy at a supersonic speed, the district's press service said.

"During the training flights Sukhoi Su-34 crews carried out climbs to altitudes of about 15 kilometers, into the lower stratosphere. Upon achieving supersonic speeds they practiced interception and elimination of a hypothetical enemy. The crews operated totally on their own, without contacting air defense stations on the ground, which made the task more complex," the news release reads.

In October last year, an air regiment of the Central Military District completed a program for rearmament to obtain the newest generation 4++ planes. The last three jets were redeployed to the Chelyabinsk Region in the last move that completed the formation of a second squadron of Sukhoi Su-34.

Russia's frontline bomber Su-34

The Sukhoi Su-34 (NATO's reporting name Fullback) is a two-seat all-weather frontline bomber, converted from the frontline fighter jet Sukhoi Su-27. It was developed at the Sukhoi Design Bureau under chief designer Rollan Martirosov.

The plane's main task is to destroy ground, surface and air targets and air defense-protected infrastructures located away from the airbase. It is capable of effectively delivering strikes amid enemy resistance round the clock in good and bad weather with a variety of weapons, and of conducting air reconnaissance. The plane's combat features enable it to enter into highly maneuverable duels with enemy fighter jets and cope with combat missions independently without escort fighters.

The Sukhoi Su-34 performed its first flight on April 13, 1990. It was authorized for service on March 20, 2014. The maximum speed near the surface is 1,400 kilometers per hour, and at high altitudes, 1,900 kilometers per hour; range of flight - 4,500 kilometers without refueling and 7,000 kilometers with midair refueling; and altitude - 14,650 meters.

Weaponry: 30 mm gun GSh-30-1 and 12 weapon stations for air-to-air or air-to-surface missiles of different types, unguided rockets and aerial bombs.

Since September 30, 2015, Sukhoi Su-34 jets have participated in combat operations in Syria as part of Russia's Aerospace Force Group. The fighter-bombers successfully attacked militants' infrastructures and manpower. Some flew sorties from the Khmeimim air base in Syria and others from the Hamadan airbase in Iran.