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Russia Integrates Kh-35U Anti-Ship Missiles Into Su-34 Bomber

Russia has integrated its latest Kh-35U anti-ship air-to-surface missiles with the Su-34 bomber, Izvestia reported.

The integration process, which included a series of tests since 2018, was completed this summer with “combat launches” in the far east, the Moscow-based news outlet added.

The April trials involved testing the aircraft at different altitudes and under various weather conditions. In one of the tests, the outlet revealed, the missile was tested under Arctic conditions.

Enhances Offensive Capability

Military expert Dmitry Boltenkov explained to the outlet the significance of having the missile on the aircraft: “With such missiles, bombers acquire completely different capabilities to combat naval targets.”

Boltenko said aircraft equipped with the missiles could attack a fleet of ships, asserting that “There is still no reliable protection from a massive salvo of such ammunition. It is not for nothing that our modern corvettes and coastal complexes are armed with them.”

He noted that Russia has more than 100 such aircraft protecting the country’s coastal regions against naval attacks.

The Missile

The 550-kg (1,213-pound) heavy missile has a range of 250 km (155 miles) and carries a warhead of 145 kg (320 pounds) capable of sinking a mid-sized ship and “seriously” damaging a large one, the outlet claimed.

“The product received a combined guidance system: on the cruising phase of the flight, the rocket uses an inertial navigation system and a radio altimeter, and when it enters a given area, it uses an active radar homing head,” Izvestia added.

Explaining why it’s “extremely difficult” to intercept the missile, the outlet wrote that the projectile “approaches the target at a height of no more than 10-15 m, and at the final stage, it drops to four. Due to this, the enemy’s radar systems cannot detect it in time, and the air defense systems do not have enough time to react.”

The Aircraft

The Sukhoi-made Su-34 is fitted with AL-31F turbojet engines with afterburners and the Sh-141 radar station to detect ground and air targets. 

The twin-engine, twin-seat aircraft is based on the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker air superiority fighter. It is capable of aerial combat in addition to its primary role of bombing land and naval targets, the outlet explained.

The aircraft cabin is shielded with additional armor, allowing the aircraft to attack targets at low altitudes.

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