Sukhoi Su-24 "Fencer"
Su-24 is a strike and attack fighter built and operated by Russia
. It can carry a multitude of payloads and comes in a variety of models.The Sukhoi
Su-24 Fencer made its first ultra-secret flight in the Soviet Union
in January of 1970. Originally designated the Su-19
, the plane was re-designated the Su-24 to throw off any western intelligence agencies that might have know about the project. The Su-24 looked good on paper, but when the plane
actually began testing and finally entered service in December of 1974, it had proved itself to be far more advanced than anyone had predicted. The Su-24 performed well above the expectations of the Sukhoi Aircraft Design Bureau
and the Red Air Force
. Afraid that western intelligence might analyze the Su-24's superior capabilities and build a counter defense, the Soviets went out of character to protect the new ace up their sleeve. Against the typical Soviet fashion of exporting the newest fighters to the Warsaw Pact
, the Soviets did not allow the aircraft to be sold to other nations until 1983, when a unit was deployed to East Germany
The aircraft comes in many different configurations and versions. The original Su-19 is known in the west as the "Fencer-A". The early production models were known as "Fencer-B". The "Fencer-C" introduced a fairing on the leading edge of each wing near the wing root that presumably contains an upgraded ground attack package. "Fencer-D" has a number of physical differences from the other variants, including a lengthened nose, a blister behind the nose gear that carries a laser rangefinder and a marked-target seeker. The model also has improved terrain following radar and a retractable air-refueling probe. The Su-24D's export version is the Su-24MK, but the export version has a downgraded avionics package. In 1985, the "Fencer-E" was launched. This version is a low altitude, high-speed reconnaissance aircraft. The version was designed to replace to Tupolev Tu-16. The "Fencer-F" is a dedicated Electronic Counter Measures platform. The job of dedicated ECM aircraft is to accompany the strike package into the target, all the while jamming the enemy's radar, fire control and hopefully communications. Of all variants, the Russian Air Force now operates 900. None of the type have seen combat.
NOTE: These specifications are taken from The Encyclopedia of Modern Warplanes.
In the interest of being correct, they have been Cross-referenced with Jane's All The World's Aircraft.
Power Plant: two 11250-kg (24,802-lb) afterburning thrust Lyul'ka AL-21F-3A turbojets
Maximum Speed: Mach 2.18 at high altitude, Mach 1.2 at sea level.
Service Ceiling: 57,415 feet.
Combat Radius: 600miles on a hi-lo-hi mission with standard 6,614-lb payload.
Armament: one GSh-23-6 six barrel cannon; provisions for 17,635-lbs of AAMs, ASMs, guided bombs, dumb bombs, rocket launcher pods, drop tanks, ECM pods, all which is carried on nine external hard points.