The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation has provided information about the planned delivery of eight modernised Sukhoi Su-34M Fullback fighter-bombers to the Central Military District Aviation Regiment by the end of 2021.
The final recipient of the first modernised Fullbacks will be the reconnaissance squadron of the 2nd Guards mixed aviation regiment based at the 6980th Guards Aviation Base (Military Unit Number 69806) at the Shagol airport in the Chelyabinsk Region.
This regiment is a part of the 21st Mixed Aviation Division of the 14th Red Banner Army of the Air Force and Air Defence and currently operates the Sukhoi Su-24MR reconnaissance aircraft.
The other two squadrons of the regiment were re-equipped with new Su-34 front-line bombers in 2017-2019, having replaced the older Su-24M Fencers.
The flight and engineering personnel of the regiment are completing retraining for this type of aircraft at the Russia's Top Gun school, officially called 4th Centre of Combat Employment and Retraining of Personnel of Frontline Aviation, located at Lipetsk-2 airfield.
The Su-34M (T.10VM) version is part of the Sich development programme, primarily focused on performing reconnaissance tasks. The modernisation includes updated avionics, integration of additional high-precision weapons, incl. Kh-101 and Kh-102 radar evading cruise missiles (even with nuclear warhead) and most notably three types of underwing pods with electronic sniffing sensors, opto-electronic sensors and radar sensors.
On 1 June 2020, Scramble Magazine reported on this contract for 76 improved Su-34M frontline bombers. By the end of 2027, the Russian Federation - Aerospace Forces (RF VKS) will have 76 Su-34M Fullbacks in their inventory.
Photo (just illustrative) by Anton Harisov/AviaPressPhoto via RussianPlanes.net