The Sukhoi Su-24 (NATO reporting name: Fencer) is a supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft developed in the Soviet Union. This variable-sweep wing, twin-engined side-by-side two-seater carried the USSR's first integrated digital navigation/attack system. It remains in service with former Soviet air forces and various air forces to which it was exported.
Variants[edit | edit source]
- Sukhoi S-6: An early project in the gestation of the Su-24, like a meld of the Su-7 and Su-15.
- Sukhoi T6-1: The initial prototype with cropped delta wings and 4 RD-36-35 lift engines in the fuselage.
- Sukhoi T6-2I/3I/4I: Prototypes for the variable geometry Su-24 production aircraft.
- Sukhoi Su-24: The first production version, the armaments include Kh-23 and Kh-28 type air-to-ground guided missiles, together with R-55 type air-to-air guided missiles. Manufactured 1971–1983.
- Sukhoi Su-24M: Work on upgrading the Su-24 was started in 1971, and included the addition of inflight refueling and expansion of attack capabilities with even more payload options. T-6M-8 prototype first flew on June 29th 1977, and the first production Su-24M flew on June 20th 1979. The aircraft was accepted into service in 1983. Su-24M has a 0.76 m (30 in) longer fuselage section forward of the cockpit, adding a retractable refueling probe, and a reshaped, shorter radome for the attack radar. It can be identified by the single nose probe in place of the three-part probe of earlier aircraft. A new PNS-24M inertial navigation system and digital computer were also added. A Kaira-24 laser designator/TV-optical quantum system (similar to the American Pave Tack) was fitted in a bulge in the port side of the lower fuselage, as well as Tekon track and search system (in pod), for compatibility with guided weapons, including 500 and 1,500kg laser-guided bombs and TV-guided bombs, and laser/TV-guided missiles Kh-25 and Kh-29L/T, anti-radar missiles Kh-58 and Kh-14 (AS-12 'Kegler') and Kh-59 (AS-13 'Kingbolt')/Kh-59M TV-target seeker guided missiles. The new systems led to a reduction in internal fuel amounting to 85 l (22.4 US gal). Su-24M was manufactured in 1981–1993.
- Sukhoi Su-24M2: Next modernization of Su-24M introduced in 2000 with the "Sukhoi" program and in 1999 with the "Gefest" program. The modernized planes are equipped with new equipment and systems. As a result, they get new capabilities and improved combat efficiency, including new navigation system (SVP-24), new weapons control system, new HUD (ILS-31, like in Su-27SM or KAI-24) and expanding list of usable munitions (Kh-31A/P, Kh-59MK, KAB-500S). The last batch of the Sukhoi was delivered to the Russian VVS in 2009. Modernization continues with the program "Gefest". All frontline bombers Su-24 in the Central Military District received new sighting and navigation systems SVP-24 in 2013.
- Sukhoi Su-24MK: Export version of the Su-24M with downgraded avionics and weapons capabilities. The Su-24MK's first flight was on May 30th 1987 as T-6MK, and on May 17th 1988 as th Su-24MK. Manufactured 1988–1992, sold to Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
- Sukhoi Su-24MR: Dedicated tactical reconnaissance variant. The Su-24MR's first flight was on July 25th 1980 as the T-6MR-26, and on April 13th 1983 as the Su-24MR. It entered service in 1983. Su-24MR retains much of the Su-24M's navigation suite, including the terrain-following radar, but deletes the Orion-A attack radar, the laser/TV system, and the cannon in favor of two panoramic camera installations, 'Aist-M' ('Stork') TV camera, RDS-BO 'Shtik' ('Bayonet') side-looking airborne radar (SLAR), and 'Zima' ('Winter') infrared reconnaissance system. Other sensors are carried in pod form. Manufactured 1983–1993.
- Sukhoi Su-24MP: Dedicated electronic signals intelligence (ELINT) variant, intended to replace the Yak-28PP 'Brewer-E'. First flight March 14th 1980 as T-6MP-25, April 7th 1983 as Su-24MP. The Su-24MP has additional antennas for intelligence-gathering sensors and radar jamming, omitting the laser/TV fairing, but retaining the cannon and provision for up to four R-60 (AA-8) missiles for self-defense. Only ten were built.
Users[edit | edit source]
- Algerian Air Force
- Argentine Air Force
- Azerbaijani Air and Air Defence Force
- Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force
- Iraqi Air Force
- Libyan Air Force
- Russian Air Force
- Russian Naval Aviation
- Sudanese Air Force
- Syrian Arab Air Force
- Turkmen Air Force
- Ukrainian Air Force