As you know, Americans love to make different ratings, including those relating to weapons and technology. Naturally, in these ratings, the first places are occupied by samples and products of American manufacture.
October 24 on the "Military Review" appeared publication: "Su-30CM and F-22: advantages and disadvantages." In which the author, Dave Majumdar, quite seriously asserts that the Russian Su-30CM combat aircraft, which are in many respects direct analogues of the F-15E Strike Eagle and F / A-18F Super Hornet, are doomed to defeat when meeting with American fighters.
Let us leave this very controversial conclusion to the conscience of the author and try to compare the American F-15E Strike Eagle fighter-bomber with a Russian car of a similar purpose - Su-34.
An analogue of the F-15E Strike Eagle fighter-bomber in the Russian Air Force should be the attack Su-34, and not the multipurpose Su-30CM. The determining factor in this case is the presence on the Su-34 of a special aim-navigation system adapted for the use of air-to-ground missile and bomb weapons.
The ability to carry a bomb load, as well as the presence in the crew of the Su-30CM two pilots are not the main features in the classification. After all, the Russian Su-27CM and Su-35 can also use free-fall bombs and NAR, but no one in their right mind will write these heavy fighters into bombers.
Chronology of the creation and adoption
The F-15E and Su-34 airplanes are based on heavy fighters gaining air superiority F-15 and Su-27. They were intended to replace the attack aircraft with variable geometry of the wing - “air defense breakers”: F-111 and Su-24.
Historically, the American F-15E Strike Eagle appeared in combat units much earlier than the Russian Su-34. The first "Shock Eagles" entered service with the 4 th wing at Seymour Johnson, North Carolina in December 1988. In total, up to 2001, 236 aircraft of this type were built for the US Air Force. In the middle of 90, one F-15E cost the US treasury $ 43 million.
“Thirty” was ready to start production in 1994 year, but due to lack of funding and the collapse of industrial cooperation and economic ties between enterprises of the former USSR, the prospects of this machine for a long time remained uncertain.
The Su-34 was remembered at the beginning of the 2000s in connection with the need to replace the Su-24M in front-line bomber aviation regiments aviation. The final stage of state joint trials of the “thirty-four” was completed in September 2011. Only at the beginning of 2014, the Su-34 was officially adopted by the Russian Air Force.
In connection with the acute need for this combat aircraft, even before being put into service in 2008, the first contract for the supply of 32 Su-34 was signed. Mass production began at NAPO them. Chkalov in Novosibirsk, where Su-1993M was building front-line bombers before 24. At the same time, the cost of Su-34 in 2008 was about one billion rubles.
In the 2012 year, according to another contract, the number of aircraft delivered before the 2020 of the year was increased by another 92 units. As the number of built Su-34 increases, their price in absolute terms should decrease.
Design, equipment and weapons
The layout of the F-15E Strike Eagle bomber fighter is based on the F-15D two-seater combat training bomber. In comparison with the F-15D, the glider of a fighter-bomber is somewhat strengthened. Pilots in a double cabin F-15E sit behind each other. In accordance with the impact tasks on the plane, his avionics and armament were changed.
A special feature of the F-15E was the use of conformal fuel tanks on this aircraft, which are special non-dropable tanks for streamlined fuel that are hung on the side surfaces of the fuselage. The resulting gaps are eliminated with special elastic pads.
Installing conformal fuel tanks on the F-15E
Conformal tanks, compared to outboard ones, do not increase the drag of the aircraft in such a way, allowing you to fly at speeds up to 1,8 M. Aviation fuel reserves increase by more than 2 / 3. Suspension units on the surface of conformal tanks allow you to place additional weapons. The total fuel supply in the internal and conformal tanks reaches 10217 kg. 3 PTB suspension available with a total capacity of 5396 kg.
The stock of fuel in the internal tanks on the Su-34 exceeds 12000 kg. The combat radius and distillation range of the Su-34 and F-15E are almost equal, but the Russian bomber can carry a large bomb load at the same range. The combat range of the Su-34 when flying at low altitude is somewhat larger. Both aircraft are equipped with an in-flight refueling system.
The thrust-to-air ratio of the F-15E (thrust ratio of the engines to the weight of the aircraft) with the air-to-air suspension only is 0,93, which is slightly higher than the corresponding figure for the Su-34, whose thrust-to-weight ratio is 0,71. This is because the Su-34 is significantly heavier. So the mass of empty Su-34 is - 22 500 kg, and F-15E - 14 300 kg. But this does not mean that the Su-34 is a lighter enemy in close combat.
American aircraft has a slightly higher maximum speed - up to 2,5M. However, these speed indicators F-15E can be achieved in the absence of external suspensions, when using PTB speed is limited - to 1,4M. Russian bomber accelerates - to 1,8M. Cruising speed in both cars when performing drums is almost the same. The large mass of the Su-34, to some extent is the price for better security and greater comfort for the crew.
The difference between Sukhoi and Strike Needle is a spacious two-seat cockpit, in which the pilot and navigator sit in the K-36DM ejection seats “shoulder to shoulder”. In the cabin of the Su-34 there is a mini-kitchen with a microwave and a bathroom, which greatly facilitates long-distance flights lasting up to 10 hours. The air conditioning system allows the pilots to work without oxygen masks at a height of up to 10000 meters.
The Su-34 cockpit is designed as a durable titanium armored capsule with armor thickness up to 17 mm. Armor also covered some vital aircraft aggregates. This to a certain extent increases the survival rate of the aircraft, and, most importantly, it gives additional chances for the rescue of the crew of a front bomber.
The entrance to the armored cab is made through the front landing gear niche. For the characteristic shape of the front of the Su-34 received the name of the troops - "Duck".
Russian and American combat aircraft are equipped with sighting and navigation systems for the effective use of air-to-surface aviation armament at any time of the day and in difficult weather conditions. As well as by means of REP, built-in and suspended equipment, allowing to make high-speed low-altitude "throws" at extremely low altitude at any time of the day.
Picture in the cockpit of the pilot F-15E, broadcast system LANTIRN
The Su-34 front-bomber avionics avionics include the Khibiny-175В EBC L-10В complex, which has characteristics unique to our front-line aviation. The complex provides individual and group protection against air and aviation weapons.
Su-34 with containers of the REP-L-175В complex on the wing consoles and with the group protection container under the fuselage
Unlike the previous-generation Su-24M bomber, whose jamming equipment was designed to counter American-launched anti-aircraft missile guidance stations: Nike-Hercules, Hawk and Patriot, the REP-Su-34 complex operates in a wider range . It can put effective interference with any radar and air defense missile systems regardless of the country of origin.
The radars of both aircraft are capable of detecting long-range air targets, their characteristics are comparable with similar stations installed on "clean" fighters.
American radar AN / APG-70 can see air targets at a distance of 180 km, it is expected that on the F-15E part this station will be replaced with radar AFAR AN / APG-82.
Radar W-141 and AN / APG-70 can also be used in the mapping mode of the earth's surface and provide detection of ground and surface radio contrast targets, as well as the use of weapons. The detection range of large ground and surface targets of the X-NUMX radar is 141-200 km.
Russian radar complex Ш-141 provides detection of air targets at a distance of 100 km. He can accompany up to 10 air targets and fire at 4 targets.
In addition, during the design stage, the Su-34 provided a radar for the rear hemisphere review to warn the crew about the attack of the missile defense system and enemy fighters. This option on the Su-34 should significantly increase the chances of survival during the performance of a combat mission. But while the rear hemisphere review station has not been brought to a working state.
To replace the reconnaissance Su-24M, the Orenburg OAO PO Strela received an order from the Sukhoi company to design the Sych integrated reconnaissance containers for the Su-34 front-line bomber. It is planned to release reconnaissance containers of three options: radio, radar and optical-electronic.
The built-in 30 mm gun GSH-301 wins the gun mounted on the F-15E for the power of the projectile. On 12 Su-34 suspension units, all types of air-to-surface aviation weapons can be deployed, which are in service with Russian front-line aviation with a total weight of up to 8000 kg.
Taking into account export orders, Damocles suspension containers have been adapted for the Su-34, ensuring the use of guided aerial bombs with laser-guided BGL NATO standards.
As well as the F-15D, the F-15E shock is armed with the M20 Vulcan built-in 61 mm gun, but compared to the “clean” fighters, the ammunition for it is reduced to free up weight and free space for additional equipment.
The F-15E fighter-bomber is capable of carrying a wide range of air-to-surface and air-to-air munitions on 9 suspension units. The total mass of the payload on the external sling can reach 11 000 kg.
However, it should be understood that a large bomb load on the Strike Needle, compared with the thirty-four, is in many ways a fiction. Eleven tons is the total payload, taking into account the PTB and the conformal tanks. In the case of full refueling for bombs and missiles, about 5000 kg remains. By this indicator, the F-15E is slightly inferior to the Su-34.
F-15E's weapons include guided and unguided bombs weighing up to 2270 kg, including JDAM (a GPS-based kit that turns a free-fall bomb into a precision weapon), cluster munitions, AGM-65 Maverick guided missiles, heavy AGM-130 and AGM -158, HARM anti-radar missiles, Harpoon RCC. F-15E is the carrier of tactical nuclear bombs of the B61 family.
Service and combat use
As of 2014, the US Air Force and National Guard had an 213 F-15E. These fighter-bombers are deployed in the United States at the air bases of Seymour Johnson, Eglin, Luke, Nellis, Mountain Home, Elmerdorf, in Great Britain at the US Air Force Base Lakenhis.
Google Earth satellite image: F-15E fighter-bombers at Seymour Johnson, North Carolina
F-15E participated in numerous armed conflicts unleashed by the United States. Their first combat episode was participation in a company against Iraq in 1991. "Shock Eagles" bombed facilities of the Iraqi infrastructure and troops, hunted for mobile missile installations "Scud".
There, the Americans first met with the MiG-29, both sides used guided missiles in air combat, but to no avail. However, the Iraqi Air Force behaved passively, Iraqi air defense weapons posed a much greater threat to American strike machines. From their fire in 1991, two F-15Es were lost, the crew of one of them died.
The next time F-15E appeared over Iraq in 1993, when they provided a no-fly zone in the north of this country. In addition to air patrols, the aircraft struck Iraqi radar stations, air defense systems and military targets.
In the same 1993 year, Strike Needles participated in an operation in the Balkans. NATO forces intervened in the internal conflict in Yugoslavia, appointing the Serbs party guilty of all sins. First of all, F-15E crews were involved in the destruction of air defense positions. After that, they began to bomb Serb ground forces in Bosnia and Croatia with impunity.
In March, 1999, the American fighter-bombers bombed Yugoslavia. Serbian radar and air defense systems again became priority targets for them. F-15E made combat missions from the Italian air base Aviano and British Lakenhis.
Shortly after the September 11 attacks, X-NUMX, the F-2001E, attacked the Taliban in Afghanistan, taking off from Ahmed Al Jaber’s Kuwaiti airbase. In the first phase of the operation, training camps, weapons and ammunition depots, as well as entrances to the caves, in which, according to intelligence, there could be al Qaeda leaders and Taliban movements, were subjected to blows with adjustable bombs GBU-15, GBU-15 and GBU-24. Later, after the destruction of large stationary targets, F-28E acted at the request of the allied ground forces.
F-15E over Afghanistan during Operation Mountain Lion, 2006 year
During the sorties in Afghanistan, American fighter-bombers usually did not descend below 2000 meters above the mountain ranges in order to avoid being hit by missiles of MANPADS.
At the beginning of March 2002, several F-15E took part in the subsequently well-known “Anaconda Operation”. The purpose of the operation was to capture or physically liquidate the al-Qaida leadership in Afghanistan and destroy the militia bases and shelters in the Shahi Kot valley.
From the very beginning, due to mistakes in planning and unreliable intelligence, the operation went wrong. The Americans underestimated the enemy forces in the area several times. As it turned out, the militants were here before the 1000.
During the landing of special forces, two MH-47 Chinook helicopters were shot down, manpower losses were 8 killed and 72 wounded American soldiers.
Only thanks to the air support, including that provided by several F-15E, did the Americans manage to turn the tide of the battle and avoid the complete destruction of the landing force. At the same time, one F-15E fighter-bomber had to fire from the 20 mm cannon at the Taliban advancing on the position of the American special forces before the complete exhaustion of ammunition, which the US Air Force did not have since Vietnam.
In Afghanistan, it was not without “undesirable incidents”. 22 August 2007, the F-15E dropped 500-pound (230 kg) bombs on British troops. In this case, three soldiers were killed. 13 September 2009, the crew of the F-15E was attracted to intercept the drone MQ-9 Reaper, which stopped responding to commands from the ground, after which it was likely that he would invade the airspace of another country. 18 July 2009, the F-15E crashed in central Afghanistan, killing two crew members.
In January, 2003, part of the F-15E 4-th Fighter Bomber fighter aircraft from the Seymour Johnson airbase, was deployed at the Al Udeid Qatar airbase. They operated in southern and western Iraq, attacking radars, airfields, repeaters, communications centers and headquarters, thus paralyzing Iraqi troops.
As the scale of hostilities increased, the number of Strike Needles operating in Iraq increased. In February, 2003 bomber of this type was engaged in the destruction of the Iraqi anti-aircraft systems on the border with Jordan, which subsequently allowed the coalition planes to fly there unhindered. It is believed that during 15, F-2003E destroyed about 60% of the targets of the bombed tactical aviation of the USAF. One plane was shot down by anti-aircraft fire in the Tikrit area, the crew was killed.
In 2011, as part of Operation Dawn Odyssey, F-15E was used to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya. In this case, one aircraft was lost under unexplained circumstances, both pilots successfully catapulted and were rescued.
In September, X-NUMX, F-2014E, bombed IG facilities in Iraq and Syria (Operation “Inalienable Determination”), making up to 15% of combat missions carried out by an aviation group of Western countries. However, according to observers, the effectiveness of these attacks was low. The main goal of the air strikes was not to crush the caliphate, but to squeeze the Islamists from Iraq to Syria.
In total, 15 F-15E fighter-bombers from the US Air Force were lost during the years of operation during combat operations and in catastrophes; a significant part of the lost aircraft crashed during training flights at extremely low altitude.
Su-34 has a not so rich combat biography, as it recently appeared in Russian military aviation units. The first Su-34 arrived at the 929 State Flight Test Center (GLITS) named after V.P. Chkalov, located near the city of Akhtubinsk, in the Astrakhan region and in the 4-th Lipetsk center for combat training.
Satellite image of Google earth: Su-34 front-line bombers at Lipetsk aerodrome
The first naval regiment was the 47-th separate mixed aviation regiment at the Baltimore air base near Voronezh. Currently, this airport is undergoing a large-scale reconstruction of the runway and infrastructure. That will allow in the future to increase the number of front-line bombers based here.
4 June 2015 of the year when landing at the Buturlinovka airfield in the Voronezh region after a scheduled training flight of the Su-34 aircraft did not open the braking parachute. The front bomber rolled out of the runway and turned over.
Satellite image of Google earth: Su-34 front-line bombers at Buturlinovka airfield
It was at the Buturlinovka airfield that Su-34 and Su-24М were temporarily relocated from the Baltimore airbase during the reconstruction of the runway there.
In the Rostov Region, the Su-34 received the 559 BAP, based at the Morozovsk airfield. Here is the 36 thirty-fours.
The first “baptism of fire” of the Su-34 was the Russian-Georgian armed conflict in August 2008. Then these, still not officially accepted for service, front-line bombers covered other Russian combat airplanes with the on-board jamming complex. Attacks on Georgian air defense systems with X-58 missiles under the cover of REP stations Su-34 were delivered by front bombers Su-24М.
Georgian 36D6 radar destroyed by anti-radar missile
An analysis of the Su-34 combat activity in Georgia showed that this front-line bomber needs further improvement in sighting and search equipment. To guarantee the detection of small targets of the radar complex was not enough. This requires perfect thermal imagers and high-resolution television systems. Not so long ago, the media reported on the development of a modernized version - Su-34M.
In September of this year, Su-34 in the number of 6 units were involved in the operation of Russian videoconferencing in the Syrian Arab Republic. It is noted that with these new machines in the course of air strikes on the positions and objects of the IG, guided aircraft weapons are used.
In general, comparing the American F-15E Strike Eagle and the Russian Su-34, it can be noted that these machines are at a different stage of life. Su-34 is just beginning its long service, and F-15E is already preparing for its completion. The resource of many F-15E is already running out, and they will be written off over the next 5 years.
Compared to the Su-34 bomber, which has solid armor protection for the cockpit and parts of the units and is better adapted for operations at low altitudes, the American F-15E has a greater “destructive orientation” - there is almost no armor on it.
The F-15E Strike Eagle fighter-bomber is currently the only tactical aviation combat aircraft in the US Air Force that is capable of participating in long-distance raids and performing long flights at low altitude.
It is not known whether the number of built Su-34 surpasses that of the F-15E delivered to the US Air Force, but it is already clear that the Thirty-Four will become the basis of front-line combat vehicles in the future.
In the near future, Su-34 will have to finally defeat the "children's sores". The aircraft of the first series, as well as the pre-production copies, differed significantly from each other, which made exploitation difficult. They noted the unstable operation of the radar and aim-navigation system.
In terms of improving the reliability of avionics and improving the performance of the Su-34 designers and industry is working hard. At the moment, all front-line combat bombers have been brought to the level of the 3 series of the factory. They installed auxiliary gas turbine plants designed to run the main engines without airfield equipment. This allows in the long run to increase autonomy and expand the list of home based airfields.
There is no doubt that in the Su-34, which in the future will become the main Russian front-line bomber, all the “growing pains” will be successfully overcome and this combat aircraft will have a great future and many years of service.
The author expresses his gratitude to the “Ancient” for the advice.