Why doesn’t India buys SU-34 Fullback fighter bomber?

The Sukhoi Su-34 is a Russian twin-engine, twin-seat, all-weather supersonic medium-range fighter-bomber/strike aircraft.Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback has performed extremely well over Syria. Su-34 which is a tandem seat bomber has long-range, sensors and a payload to perform the Backfire’s anti-ship mission and can also be armed with Indo-Russian BrahMos-A Air launched Supersonic Cruise missile

Russia for long had plans to export this strike optimised Flankers to its existing users of Flankers and Russia considers India has one of the potential buyers of this aircraft , while Su-34 Fullback does provide host of incrementally better penetration and strike capability over India’s top tier Su-30MKI.

Now , lets get into details. Why doesn’t India buys SU-34 Fullback fighter bomber after Canberra were retired by Indian Air Force in 2005 , Indian Air Force got in a strange dilemma for a Strategic Bomber. At that time so 200 Su-34 were envisioned for Indian Armed Forces including some 50 for Indian Navy for Naval Strike and Interdiction.

But IAF rejected saying a large percentage of SU 34 capabilities are shared by SU 30 MKI. And it makes more sense to build more of the same airframe , upgrade and modify as necessary. Indian Air Force realized SU-30MKI can fill in the roles and there was actually no need for a Strategic Bomber since Bombers are hard to maintain and operate and they have became increasingly vulnerable to Air Defense assets.

While IAF’s Su-30MKIs does provide similar performance when compared to Su-34 Fullback in strike missions but Su-34 holds some critical advantages over Su-30MKIs over Strike weapons package it can carry and an air frame optimised for strike missions which can be easily adapted for ASW patrols.

Su-30MKI later were modified to carry out Strategic roles for Strategic Air Forces Command to deliver Nuclear Weapons and missiles like BrahMos deep inside enemy territory .Brahmos integration on MKI had made SU 34 capabilities redundant. However one can still argue that SU 34 still has its advantages in its roles . But presently for Indian need SU 30 MKI will do. SU-30MKI can well go upto 8000 kilometres with two air-to-air refuelings which shows that India did not actually needed Fullbacks for heavy strike roles.

Also Su-34 will be very expensive to operate and maintain. All for the primary purpose of dropping bombs and firing cannons while diving headfirst into anti aircraft fire. If not the sheer indestructibility, we already have 200 Su 30 MKI which can do most of the stuff the Su 34 does. And it does it even better. The only real utility in that case we have for the Su 34 is close air support. For the time being, Sepecat Jaguars, Mig 27s and Mig 21s have this covered. There are 300 of them combined

Rafales will be soon inducted in Indian Air Force into Strike Role which is much better than Su-34 thanks to its proven weapon systems ( don’t mistake that I’m saying Su-34 isn’t yet proven. It has proved its mettle in Syria ) , better self-protection measures ( thanks to SPECTRA ) and better sensors and radar systems. Also one more reason not to induct Su-34 was the lack of after-saled support from Russia which India has been facing with its Russian aircrafts like SU-30MKI and Mig-29. Su-34 had also hefty operating costs and is more expensive to maintain than Rafale.

HAL Tejas will also soon take the baton. Most of these fighters lack the armour plating of the Su34 but its just a cost too great for Close Air support.

This is enough to sum up why India doesn’t buy Su-34 because though better in features and all , India has other aircrafts which can fill in its role with almost similar effectiveness if not better.



This Post is Copied From Quora Written By Harsh B. Mishra

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