Sukhoi Su-24

Sukhoi Su-24

Infobox Aircraft
name= Su-24

type= Attack aircraft
manufacturers= Sukhoi
first flight= 2 July 1967
introduced= 1974
status= Active service
primary user= Russian Air Force
more users= Ukrainian Air Force Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force
number built= Approximately 1400
unit cost=US$24-25 million in 1997 [ [ Military aircraft prices] ]
variants with their own articles =

The Sukhoi Su-24 (NATO reporting name Fencer) was the Soviet Union's most advanced all-weather interdiction and attack aircraft in the 1970s and 1980s. The two-seat, twin-engined aircraft carried the USSR's first integrated digital nav/attack system. In many aspects, the Su-24's configuration is similar to that of the F-111. It remains in service with former Soviet air forces and various export nations.


One of the conditions for accepting Sukhoi Su-7B into service in 1961 was the requirement for Sukhoi to develop an all-weather variant capable of precision airstrikes. Preliminary investigations with S-28 and S-32 aircraft revealed that the basic Su-7 design was too small to contain all the avionics required for the mission.cite web|url=|title=Sukhoi Su-24 history on the manufacturer's website|accessdate=2007-04-15] OKB-794 was tasked with developing an advanced nav/attack system, codenamed "Puma", which would be at the core of the new aircraft.

In 1962-1963, Sukhoi designed and built a mockup of S-6, a delta wing aircraft powered by two Tumansky R-21F-300 turbojet engines and with a crew of two in a tandem arrangement. The mockup was inspected but no further work was ordered due to lack of progress on the "Puma" hardware.

In 1964, Sukhoi started work on S-58M. The aircraft was supposed to represent a modification of the Sukhoi Su-15 interceptor (factory designation S-58). In the meantime, revised Soviet Air Force requirements called for a low-altitude strike aircraft with STOL capability. A key feature was the ability to cruise at supersonic speeds at low altitude for extended periods of time in order to traverse enemy air defenses. To achieve this, the aircraft was expected to utilize two Tumansky R-27F-300 afterburning turbojets for cruise and four Kolesov RD-36-25 turbojets for STOL performance. Side-by-side seating for the crew was implemented since the large "Orion" radar antennae required a large frontal cross-section. To test the six-engine scheme, the first Su-15 prototype was converted into S-58VD flying laboratory which operated in 1966-1969.

The aircraft was officially sanctioned on 24 August 1965 under the internal codename T-6. The first prototype, T-6-1 was completed in May 1967 and flew on 2 July with V. S. Ilyushin at the controls. The initial flights were performed without the four lift engines which were finally installed in October 1967. At the same time, R-27s were replaced with Lyulka AL-21Fs. STOL tests confirmed the data from S-58VD that short-field performance was achieved at the cost of significant loss of flight distance as the lift engines occupied space normally reserved for fuel. In addition, the use of lift engines precluded underfuselage hardpoints and the aircraft was difficult to control during transition from STOL to conventional flight.

On 7 August 1968, the OKB was officially tasked with investigating a variable geometry wing for the T-6. The resulting T-6-2I first flew on 17 January 1970 with Ilyushin at the controls. The subsequent government trials lasted until 1974, dictated by the complexity of the on-board systems. The all-weather capability was achieved thanks to the aforementioned "Puma" nav/attack system operating in conjunction with "Orion-A" attack radar, "Relyef" terrain radar, and "Orbita-10-58" computer. The crew was equipped with zero-zero Zvezda K-36D ejection seats.

The first production aircraft flew on 31 December 1971 with V. T. Vylomov at the controls, and on 4 February 1975, T-6 was formally accepted into service as the Su-24.


The Su-24 has a shoulder-mounted variable geometry wing outboard of a relatively small fixed wing glove, swept at 69°. The wing has four sweep settings: 16° for take-off and landing, 35° and 45° for cruise at different altitudes, and 69° for minimum aspect ratio and wing area in low-level dashes. The variable geometry wing provides excellent STOL performance, allowing a landing speed of 230 km/h (143 mph), even lower than the Su-17 'Fitter' despite substantially greater take-off weight. Its high wing loading provides a stable low-level ride and minimal gust response.

The Su-24 had two Saturn/Lyulka AL-21F-3A afterburning turbojet engines with 109.8 kN (24,700 lbf) thrust each.

The Su-24 has side-mounted intakes. In early 'Fencer-A' aircraft these intakes had variable ramps, allowing a maximum speed of 2,320 km/h (1,440 mph), Mach 2.18, at altitude and a ceiling of some 17,500 m (57,400 ft). Because the Su-24 is used almost exclusively for low-level missions, the actuators for the variable intakes were deleted to reduce weight and maintenance. This has no effect on low-level performance, but absolute maximum speed and altitude are cut to a modest Mach 1.35 and 11,000 m (36,100 ft) [] . The earliest 'Fencer-A' had a box-like rear fuselage, which was shortly changed in production to a rear exhaust shroud more closely shaped around the engines in order to reduce drag. The revised aircraft also gained three side-by-side antenna fairings in the nose, a repositioned braking chute, and a new ram-air inlet at the base of the tailfin. The revised aircraft were dubbed 'Fencer-B' by NATO, but did not merit a new Soviet designation.

The Su-24's fixed armament is a single fast-firing GSh-6-23 cannon with 500 rounds of ammunition, mounted in the fuselage underside. The 'Fencer' installation of this weapon covers the gun with an eyelid shutter when not in use. There are eight external hardpoints (two under the inner wing glove, two swiveling pylons under the outer wing, and four on the fuselage) for a maximum warload of 8,000 kg (17,600 lb), including various nuclear weapons. Two or four R-60 (NATO AA-8 'Aphid') infrared missiles are usually carried for self-defense.

Initial 'Fencers' had sparse electronic countermeasures equipment, with many 'Fencer-A' and 'Fencer-B' limited to the old Sirena radar-warning receiver with no integral jamming system. Later-production Su-24s had more comprehensive radar warning, missile-launch warning, and active ECM equipment, with triangular antennas on the sides of the intakes and the tip of the vertical fin. This earned the NATO designation 'Fencer-C,' although again it did not have a separate Soviet designation. Some 'Fencer-C' and later Su-24M 'Fencer-D' have large wing fence/pylons on the wing glove portion with integral chaff/flare dispensers; others have such launchers scabbed onto either side of the tailfin.

Operational history

The Soviets used some Su-24s in Afghanistan in 1984, and the aircraft saw combat again in the Chechen conflicts of the 1990s. Its bombing accuracy in the latter conflict has been criticized, because while the Su-24 apparently performed within its original design parameters, there were large numbers of civilian casualties and collateral damage.Fact|date=April 2007 A Su-24 was also reportedly used in 1975 to disable the Krivak class frigate 'Storozhevoy', whose crew had mutinied in the Baltic sea.

About 1,400 Su-24s were produced. Substantial numbers of ex-Soviet Su-24s remain in service with Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. Roughly 577 are currently operational with Russian forces, split 447 with the Russian Air Force and 130 with the Russian Navy.Fact|date=April 2007

There are reports of Su-24s being used by Russia to attack Georgian targets in the August 2008 South Ossetian conflict. [] .

Su-24 is planned to be replaced by Sukhoi Su-34 or another more advanced aircraft as Russian finances permit [] .


:"Source: Sukhoi"

;Su-24:The first production version. Manufactured 1971-1983.;Su-24M ('Fencer-D'):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 29 June 1977, and the first production Su-24M flew on 20 June 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 system (similar to the American Pave Tack) was fitted in a bulge in the port side of the lower fuselage for compatibility with guided weapons, including laser-guided bombs and TV-guided bombs, and Kh-14 (AS-12 'Kegler') and Kh-59 (AS-13 'Kingbolt') missiles. The new systems led to a reduction in internal fuel amounting to 85 liters (22.4 US gallons). Su-24M was manufactured in 1981-1993.;Su-24MK ('Fencer-D'):Export version of the Su-24M with downgraded avionics and weapons capabilities. First flight 30 May 1987 as T-6MK, 17 May 1988 as Su-24MK. Manufactured 1988-1992, sold to Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.;Su-24MR ('Fencer-E'):Dedicated tactical reconnaissance variant. First flight 25 July 1980 as T-6MR-26, 13 April 1983 as Su-24MR. 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.;Su-24MP ('Fencer-F'):Dedicated ELINT variant, intended to replace the Yak-28PP 'Brewer-E'. First flight 14 March 1980 as T-6MP-25, 7 April 1983 as Su-24MP. The Su-24MP has additional antennas for intelligence-gathering sensors, omitting the laser/TV fairing, but retaining the cannon and provision for up to four R-60 (AA-8) missiles for self-defense. Only 10 were built.

Surviving Su-24M and Su-24MK models are going through a life-extension and updating program, with GPS, upgraded cockpit with multi-function displays (MFDs), HUD, digital moving-map generator, helmet-mounted sights, and provision for the latest guided weapons, including R-73 (AA-11 'Archer') air-to-air missiles. It is unclear if the Su-24MR and Su-24MP will receive the cockpit and navigation upgrades. The upgraded aircraft are designated Su-24M2.;Q-6 : Program cancelled by Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation.


; AFG: 15 Su-24MK reported to be in Afghan Air Force colors during the 1980s, although it is likely these remained Soviet aircraft and were withdrawn with that country's forces in 1989; ALG: 39 purchased for the Algerian Air Force where 32 Su-24MK (upgraded to Su-24M2 standard ) and 4 Su-24MR examples remain in service; ANG: Possible use in the past not confirmed, but none are currently on strength; AZE: 4 in service with the Azerbaijan Air Force; BLR: Inherited from the Soviet Union, 34 serve with the Belarusian Air Force, consisting of 22 Su-24MK and 12 Su-24MR; IRN: 9 to 14 purchased for the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force with up to 18 later flown over from Iraq.; IRQ: 18 to 24 purchased, but none survived the 2003 US-led Invasion of Iraq. During the first gulf war, many were flown to Iran where they were impressed into service for the IIAF; see above.; KAZ: 25 in service with the military of Kazakhstan; LBA: 6 Su-24MK purchased for the Libyan Air Force, 5 still on inventory, one destroyed in fire.; RUS: About 558 remain. Another 79 Recon aircraft are in service.Fact|date=August 2008
* Russian Air Force
* Russian Naval Aviation; USSR: Passed on to successor states.
* Soviet Air Force
* Soviet Naval Aviation; SYR: Reports of as many as 20 in service with the Syrian Air Force; UKR: 200 received in the collapse of the USSR, with the type still in service.
* Ukrainian Air Force; UZB: Inherited examples from the Soviet Union may remain in service

pecifications (Su-24MK)

aircraft specifications

plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=jet
crew=Two (pilot and weapons system operator)
length main=22.53 m
length alt=73 ft 11 in
span main=17.64 m extended, 10.37 m maximum sweep
span alt=57 ft 10 in / 34 ft 0 in
height main=6.19 m
height alt=20 ft 4 in
area main=55.2 m²
area alt=594 ft²
empty weight main=22300 kg
empty weight alt=49,165 lb
loaded weight main=38040 kg
loaded weight alt=83,865 lb
max takeoff weight main=43755 kg
max takeoff weight alt=96,505 lb
more general=
*Fuel capacity: 11100 kg (24,470 lb)
engine (jet)=Saturn/Lyulka AL-21F-3A
type of jet=turbojets
number of jets=2
thrust main=75 kN
thrust alt=16,860 lbf
afterburning thrust main=109.8 kN
afterburning thrust alt=24,675 lbf
max speed main=1,315 km/h
max speed alt=710 knots, 815 mph, Mach 1.07
max speed more=at sea level; Mach 1.35 at high altitude
range main=615 km in a lo-lo-lo attack mission with 3000 kg (6,615 lb) ordnance and external tanks
range alt=330 nm, 380 mi
ferry range main=2775 km
ferry range alt=1,500 nm, 1,725 mi
ceiling main=11000 m
ceiling alt=36,090 ft
climb rate main=150 m/s
climb rate alt=29,530 ft/min
loading main=651 kg/m²
loading alt=133 lb/ft²
more performance=
*G-force limit: 6
*Takeoff roll: 1550 m (5,085 ft)
*Landing roll: 1100 m (3,610 ft)
*1x GSh-6-23 cannon, 500 rounds of ammunition
*Up to 8,000 kg (17,640 lb) ordnance on 8 hardpoints, including up to four Kh-23 (AS-7 'Kerry') radio-command missiles; up to four Kh-25ML (AS-10 'Karen') laser-guided missiles; up to two Kh-28 (AS-9 'Kyle'), Kh-58 (AS-11 'Kilter'), or Kh-31P (AS-17 'Krypton') anti-radiation missiles; up to three Kh-29L/T (AS-14 'Kedge') laser/TV-guided missiles; up to two Kh-59 'Ovod' (AS-13 'Kingbolt') TV-command guided missiles, or KAB-500KR TV-guided and KAB-500L laser-guided bombs.
*Unguided rocket launchers with 55 mm S-5 rockets, 80 mm S-8 rockets, or 120 mm S-13 rockets
*Other weapon options include general-purpose bombs, external gun pods, and tactical nuclear bombs.
*Two R-60 (AA-8 'Aphid') air-to-air missiles are normally carried for self-defense; upgrade aircraft can carry R-73 (AA-11 'Archer') as well.

ee also

similar aircraft=
* MiG-23
* General Dynamics F-111
* Panavia Tornado IDS
* SEPECAT Jaguar
* Xian JH-7


External links

* [ SU-24 from Russian Military Analysis]
* [ SU-24 from Airforce Technology]
* [ SU-24 from Sukhoi]
* [ SU-24 from Muwen]

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