SU-24 FENCER gallery

(Su-24M Fencer D image). The Su-24 Fencer arose from the need of the Soviet Air Force to have an aircraft capable of carrying out all-weather attack missions during the day or night against targets located many hundreds of kilometers away. At first it was thought to modify the Su-7 Fitter attack aircraft, but the small size of this aircraft forced a new design.
(Su-24M Fencer D image). In the early 1960s, during the studies for the new interdiction aircraft, the development of a new navigation and attack system much more capable than the existing ones also began. This system was called “Puma” and its development would last until 1973-74 when the first Su-24 had already been completed and delivered for testing. In 1962, the first designs included a delta wing aircraft with two Tumansky R-21 turbojet engines designated as “S-6”, but this aircraft was canceled due to lack of progress in the “Puma” system.
Later, the Air Force included a requirement for the new aircraft to have STOL capability, maintaining supersonic speed and the same attack performance. An attempt was made to modify the design of the Su-15 Flagon interceptor with the installation of 6 engines, two for cruising speed and four for takeoffs and landings. Thus, in 1966, the T.58VD (on the image) emerged, but this model had to be discarded three years later because the engines occupied most of the airframe reserved for fuel, left no underwings hardpoints and there were serious problems of instability in the transition from normal flight mode to the STOL mode.
(Su-24M Fencer D image). It can be said that the Sukhoi Su-24 was officially born in 1965 when Sukhoi completed a prototype with the designation “T-6”. Later, in 1967, the “T-6.1” model would appear, at first with only two engines, but to which the other 4 were installed for STOL flights, concluding that it was not viable and definitively abandoning this requirement for the new attack aircraft. In this period, the American F-111 interdiction aircraft appeared, which in short, was what the Soviets were looking for. This appearance made them begin studies for the feasibility of equipping the Su-24 with the same type of variable geometry wing as the F-111.
(Su-24M Fencer D image). In 1968, the development of the movable wings denominated “swing wing” began and by 1970 there was a finished prototype designated as “T-6-2I”. Until 1974 tests were carried out and when the “Puma” system finally arrived, development entered its final stage. The “Puma” system consisted of the assembly of two Orion-A radar scanners for attack and navigation, an Orbita-10-58 onboard computer and a “Relyef” terrain clearance radar that automatically controlled the flight at very low altitude. Finally on February 4, 1975 the “T-6” officially became the Su-24 and was accepted for service. For the first time, the Soviet Air Force had a powerful aircraft capable of hitting the enemy day or night with precision regardless of the weather conditions.
(Su-24M Fencer D image). The Su-24 solved the problem of shortening the takeoff and landing run by using the “swing wing”, which has four sweep settings. The wing can be adjusted to 16º, 35º, 45º and 69º depending on the type of flight. In takeoffs and landings the setting is located at 16º, using the 35º and 45º setting positions for cruising speeds depending on the flight height, and the 69º sweep position is used for very low altitude flight. The landing gear is very robust and is specially designed to operate from poorly prepared runways and uneven terrain.
(Su-24M Fencer D image). The standard Su-24 Fencer A had installed two Saturn/Lyulka AL-21F-3A after-burning turbojet engines with variable air intakes that allowed a maximum speed at high altitude of Mach 2.18, but after verifying that all the missions were to be carried out at low altitude these intakes were removed. This resulted in weight savings and less maintenance, but limited its high-altitude speed to Mach 1.35, although it is true that this limitation does not affect its combat capacity at all. Later, the rear part of the fuselage around the engines was modified, several lateral antennas were installed in the nose and other minor improvements were made. These aircraft thus modified were designated by NATO as “Fencer B”, although the Soviets did not reclassify the aircraft in any way.
(Su-24M Fencer D image). This aircraft was the pioneer in installing various systems such as the combat tactical “Puma” or the Severin K-36D type zero-zero ejection seats. These seats allowed the two crew members to eject whatever the height and speed conditions. They also had a system that allowed it to be operated by either of the two crew members and that minimally separated the ejections to prevent both from colliding. The “Puma” system allows automatic attacks and is believed to be very accurate, capable of placing ordnance within a radius of no more than 50 meters from the target in low-level high speed flights.
(Su-24M Fencer D image). The range of weapons used by the Fencer is very extensive, ranging from unguided rockets to TN-1000 and TN-1200 tactical nuclear bombs, in addition to all kinds of air-to-surface missiles. The fixed armament is composed of a rotating 23mm 6 barreled GSh-6-23 gun installed under the fuselage with 500 rounds. In addition, the Su-24 has two weapons stations on the out-board wing section, two on the wing root and four under the fuselage for a maximun payload of 8,000 kg. The Fencer C had a combat radius of 322km in lo-lo-lo missions with a payload of 8,000kg. On hi-lo-hi missions with 3,000 kg of ordnance it was 1,050 km, and on lo-lo-hi missions it was 950 km with 2,500 kg of weapons.
(Su-24M Fencer D image). Fencer A and B entered service with an apparent lack of external antennas, something that caught the attention of Western experts. It is likely that a good part of the avionics and ECMs were found distributed inside the fuselage, revealing a simple radar-warning receiver. However, since 1983 triangular antennas began to be observed in several parts of the aircraft, containing new equipment for missile-launch warning, radar warning and other active ECMs. The aircraft thus modified were designated by NATO as “Fencer C”, but again the Soviet Air Force did not consider them as a new variant and did not grant them any new classification.
(Su-24M Fencer D image). In 1986 a new variant designed as Su-24M Fencer D appeared. It had a retractable refueling probe in the nose, just ahead of the cockpit, and a UPAZ-A ventral refueling pod could be mounted that allowed it to fuel other Su-24s (“buddy” refueling). This assembly involved lengthening the airframe in front of the cockpit by 76 cm. The appearance of this system allowed attack aircraft to take off with a greater load of weapons at the cost of less fuel, which was supplied shortly after takeoff, reaching the necessary range for the mission.
(Su-24M Fencer D image). The avionics were modernized to allow the Su-24M the use of last generation weapons such as laser or TV guided bombs. The Orion-A attack radar was modernized and complemented with an AFCS SAU-6M1 ground tracking system that allows fully automatic flight. The radar was installed inside a shorter, remodeled radome. A Kaira-24 laser designator / TV-optical system, a new PNS-24M inertial navigation system and a TsVU-10-058K digital computer were also installed. The data on the combat radius of the Fencer D has not been made public although it is known to be 560 km in lo-lo-lo missions with a payload of 3,000 kg.
(Su-24M Fencer D image). Electronic countermeasures were greatly enhanced in the Su-24M with the mounting of a LO-82 missile-launch warning, an SPS-161 active ECM, and an APP-50 chaff/flare launcher. An IFF SRZO and a SO-69 repeater were also installed. Starting from the Su-24M airframe, two specific variants were prepared for reconnaissance and electronic warfare missions designated as Su-24MR Fencer E and Su-24MP Fencer F respectively.
(Su-24M Fencer D image). The modernization of the Fencer fleet is constant, due to the importance of their missions. It is one of the longest-lived Soviet aircraft and is expected to continue in service for a few more years. The last major modernization took place further into the 21st century, and resulted in the Su-24M2 Fencer D variant. This version incorporates a new ILS-31 HUD and a SVP-24 navigation system as well as the ability to use the latest missiles and bombs. All Su-24Ms finished receiving this modernization in 2014.
(Su-24M Fencer D image). The Su-24 Fencer has been manufactured in large quantities and the Su-24M has been exported to different Arab countries under the designation Su-24MK. An estimated 1,400 Fencers were manufactured between 1972 and 1992 in Novosibirsk. The first Fencer A arrived in the squadrons in 1974 and in 1979 they began to be deployed outside the USSR, in Templin, East Germany, though for operational evaluation. In 1984, a Squadron began operating over Afghanistan from a Soviet base. In the 1980s there were Su-24 squadrons deployed at the Grossenhain, Templin and Brand bases (all in East Germany) and in Zagan, Szprotawa and Krzywa bases (all in Poland), plus a few more in Hungary.
(Su-24M Fencer D image). Su-24 Fencer has participated in every conflict involving the former USSR and Russia since the 1980s. Afghanistan, Chechnya, Georgia, Syria and Ukraine have suffered the effectiveness of this aircraft despite its many years in service, indicating its excellent capabilities. In addition, the exported Su-24MKs have participated in Lebanon, Operation Desert Storm, Tajik and Afghan civil wars, Lybian civil war and Syrian civil war.
Currently there are still a large number of Su-24 Fencer in service, which shows the excellence of the design. Algeria maintains 22 Su-24Mk2 and 5 Su-24MRK2 for reconnaissance missions, Syria has 13 Su-24M2, Sudan has 7 Su-24M/MD, Ukraine has 12 Su-24M (on the image) and 6 Su-24MR reconnaissance and Russia has 35 Su-24M and 5 Su-24MR reconnaissance in the Naval Aviation and 70 Su-24M/M2 plus 79 Su-24MR reconnaissance in the Air Force.

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