Air International 2007-05
A.Mladenov - Su-24 Fencer: Sukhoi's Swing-Wing Bomber /Military/
Pictured is one of the 500 basic Su-24s produced up to 1983. At its peak the Soviet Air Force operated 35 Fencer regiments.
On June 25, 1980 the reconnaissance Su-24MR Fencer-E took the air for the first time and entered squadron service with the Voronezh-stationed aircrew conversion regiment in 1983. This is a demonstrator aircraft which was proposed in 1995 for the civilian task of environmental monitoring, though the idea eventually came to nothing.
Fencers flown by a number of countries have undertaken operational bombing missions. Russian aircraft have been used on missions in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Tajikistan.
A multiple bomb rack with six 220lb OFAB-100 fragmentation/high explosive bombs under an Su-24MK. Up to six racks can be carried, able to hold 36 such weapons.
The Kh-59M (AS-18) is a lock-on after launch air-to-surface missile controlled from the aircraft via a TV-camera in the weapon’s nose. It has a maximum range of 54nm.
Ukraine is the world's second-largest Fencer operator. In 1991, following the break-up of the Soviet Union, it inherited a fleet of 257 aircraft. The example pictured is a Su-24M.
The Russian Air Force operates a few export-configured Su-24MKs. One of these is pictured on approach to land.