Russia boosts air power, inducts sophisticated jets

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MOSCOW, Dec 25 (UNI) The Russian Air Force got a shot in their arm with induction of four ultra sophisticated and upgraded Su-24M2 Fencer tactical bombers.

The fighter jets were inducted to an Air Force regiment based in Russia's Far East, the company said in a statement today.

The aircraft have been modernised at a Novosibirsk-based aircraft-manufacturing plant, a subsidiary of the Sukhoi Aircraft Holding. Another six Su-24s are currently being modernised at the same plant.

''Four Su-24M2 frontline bombers have flown from the Novosibirsk-based Chkalov aircraft-manufacturing association to an airbase in Russia's Far East, where they will be deployed as part of an air regiment,'' the Sukhoi statement said.

Another two modernised aircraft were deployed earlier in December with the Lipetsk pilot combat training center in central Russia.

The Su-24 is a two-seat fourth generation twin-engine tactical bomber and is similar to NATO's Tornado and Mirage 2000 planes.

The fighter jet has been in service with the Russian Air Force since the mid-1970s.

Russia boosted by revenue from robust oil sales is pushing for fleet modernisation of its air planes and is on the path of phasing out its fourth generation jets. The safety records of these fighter jets have become a cause of concern for Russians.

The Sukhoi has upgraded the existing Su-24M and the new version is now called Su-24M2, equipping it with improved cockpit, SVP-24 computer and latest software, which improves navigational accuracy and non-guided weapon delivery precision.

According to the Defense Ministry, the Su-24 will be gradually replaced with new Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft, which has the potential to become the top plane in its class for years to come.

Russia and India have already inked an agreement in October for the production of fifth generation advanced multirole fighter which is being developed by Sukhoi, which is part of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), and India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited under an intergovernmental agreement.

UNI

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