MOSCOW, November 1. /TASS/. A Russian multipurpose fighter bomber may get a one-seat variant as an attack aircraft, Russia’s Aerospace Force ex-commander and Chairman of the Federation Council Defense and Security Committee Viktor Bondarev told TASS on Wednesday.
"My opinion is that a new attack aircraft should be made on the basis of the Su-34 after all. This is a splendid plane. It is maneuverable and has eight tonnes of the bomb load against four tonnes carried by the Su-25. It has excellent characteristics… I believe that it is simpler and easier to make a cockpit for one pilot and leave all the rest as it is," he said.
A new attack aircraft will actually have the same engines as the Su-34, he added.
"An attack aircraft will always be needed. The Su-25 has been upgraded to the Su-25SM3 version. It has a very reliable airframe and huge modernization and repair potential. I believe it will fly for another 10-15 years. Naturally, we will have to replace it eventually and today various options are being considered," the Aerospace Force ex-commander said.
As a source in the defense industry told TASS, experimental design work on developing an attack aircraft on the basis of the Su-34 bomber is expected to begin in 2018.
Russia’s Defense Ministry signed the first contract on the delivery of Su-34 aircraft to the troops in 2008. The Russian Armed Forces are expected to get a total of 150-200 such planes. This aircraft can carry up to eight tonnes of combat load and develop a speed of up to 1,900 km/h and its operation range is 4,000 km.