In the world of military aviation, two heavyweights stand tall: the Su-34 and the F-15E. These aircraft, known for their formidable capabilities, have been the subject of much debate. In this article, we’ll dive into a comparative analysis of these two aircraft, exploring their strengths, weaknesses, and operational effectiveness.

The attack Su-34 is a better fit for the Russian Air Force than the more versatile Su-30CM for copying the capabilities of the American F-15E Strike Eagle. Because of its custom-made aim-navigation system, the Su-34 can use missiles and bombs that can hit the ground from the air.

Su-34 Vs. F-15E: A comparative analysis of two formidable combat aircraft, exploring their strengths, weaknesses, and operational effectiveness.

Chronology of the creation and adoption

The F-15E and Su-34 were developed from the F-15 and Su-27, respectively, which are heavy fighters designed for air superiority.

 Air defense breakers like the F-111 and Su-24 were designed to take the place of attack aircraft with variable wing shapes.

The American F-15E Strike Eagle entered service with military units considerably before the Russian Su-34. In December of 1988, the 4th Wing at Seymour Johnson, North Carolina, received the first “Shock Eagles” for use in combat.

The United States Air Force ordered 236 of these planes in the 1960s, and they finally finished production in 2001. One F-15E cost the United States government $43 million in the mid-1990s. Su-34 was made to replace the Su-24M for the front-line aviation regiments.

In September 2011, the final phase of the “thirty-four” state joint trials concluded. Russian Air Force officially accepted the Su-34 in early 2014. 

Due to the urgent requirement for this combat aircraft, the first deal for 32 Su-34s was made before 2008. NAPO Chkalov in Novosibirsk commenced mass production of Su-1993M bombers in 24. Su-34 cost 1 billion rubles in 2008.

Su-34

Design, Equipment, and Weapons

The F-15E Strike Eagle is a bomber fighter that borrows heavily from the design of the F-15D, a two-seater bomber used for military training.

The fighter-glider bombers have been upgraded slightly from the F-15D. When flying in a double-cabin F-15E, the pilots face each other from behind the cockpit. The plane’s avionics and weaponry were upgraded to handle impact missions better.

The F-15E was unique because it had conformal fuel tanks. These are non-droppable tanks for streamlined fuel that are attached to the sides of the fuselage. 

Conformal tanks contribute less resistance to flight than their outboard equivalents, allowing you to reach speeds of up to 1.8 M.

Aviation fuel reserves have nearly tripled over the previous two and a half years. Suspension devices provide the attachment of additional weapons to the exterior of a conformal tank.

The combined fuel capacity of the internal and conformal tanks is 2,021.7 kg. Three PTB suspensions are available, with a total capacity of 5,396 kg.

The Su-34 can carry more than 12,000 kilograms of fuel in its internal tanks. Although the Su-34 and F-15E have comparable battle radii and distillation ranges, the Russian bomber can carry a much heavier payload to the same location.

The Su-34’s fighting range increases slightly when flying at a low altitude. The two planes can refuel in midair.

When using air suspension purely, the F-15E has a thrust-to-air ratio (engine thrust divided by aircraft weight) of 0.93, somewhat greater than the ratio for the Su-34 (0.71).

Why? Because the Su-34 weighs a lot more. So, an empty F-15E weighs around 14 300 kg, whereas a Su-34 weighs a massive -22 500 kg. Nonetheless, the Su-34 is hardly a pushover in a shootout.

American planes can go as fast as 2.5M, a little faster than most other planes. But F-15E can reach above speed without using external suspensions. But it is limited to 1.4 when using PTB speed.

The Russian bomber speeds up—to 1,8M. When playing drums, the cruise speed in both cars is almost the same. The Su-34 is big and heavy, partly because it gives the crew more safety and comfort.

A key distinction between the Sukhoi and the Strike Needle is the roomy two-seat cockpit, where the pilot and navigator sit “shoulder to shoulder” on K-36DM ejection seats.

An onboard bathroom and a mini-kitchen with a microwave make the Su-34 a comfortable choice for long-distance flights (up to 10 hours). The air conditioning system allows the pilots to work at altitudes of up to 10,000 meters without using breathing masks.

The Su-34’s cockpit has an armored titanium capsule with a thickness of up to 17 mm. Some crucial aircraft aggregates were also shielded by armor.

Su-34
Su-34

This boosts the aircraft’s overall survivability and, more crucially, provides more opportunities for the rescue of a front-line bomber’s crew.

The front landing gear niche is where you can get into the armored cab. Because of the unique shape of the front of the Su-34, the troops called it “Duck.”

Both Russian and American combat aircraft have sighting and navigation systems that make it possible to utilize air-to-surface aviation weapons effectively at any time of day or night and in any weather.

High-speed, low-altitude “throws” can be performed at any time of day or night using REP and other equipment that is both permanently installed and suspended from the ceiling.

The Khibiny-175B EBC L-10 complex is a part of the Su-34 front-avionics, bomber’s and it is designed specifically for our front-line aircraft. The facility shields its residents from aerial and aviation weaponry.

Unlike the Su-24M bomber of the previous generation, whose jamming equipment was designed to counter American anti-aircraft missile guidance systems Nike-Hercules, Hawk, and Patriot, the REP-Su-34 complex operates across a broader range.

It may effectively interfere with any nation’s radar and air defense missile systems. Both aircraft’s radars are capable of detecting long-range air targets, and their capabilities are comparable to those of similar radars placed on “clean” fighters.

Detection of ground and surface radiocontrast targets and weapons employment is possible in the mapping mode of operation for radars like the W-141 and the AN / APG-70.

X-NUMX radar has a range of 141-200 km and can identify large ground and surface targets, while The Russian -141 radar array can spot aviation threats up to 100 kilometers away

The designers of the Su-34 also included a radar in the aircraft’s rear hemisphere so that pilots would be alerted to incoming missile defense systems and enemy fighter attacks.

While the forward radar, which uses a passive electronically scanned array, has a detection range of up to 200 kilometers (120 miles), or 110 nautical miles (nmi), against big surface targets,[8, 9] a second radar, which faces aft, is installed to protect the ship’s back.

Damocles suspension canisters have been developed for the Su-34 to allow laser-guided BGL NATO bombs.

The F-15E shock, like the F-15D, has a 61 mm M20 Vulcan gun installed internally. However, its ammunition is lighter and smaller than that of “clean” aircraft.

The F-15E fighter bomber can carry a variety of air-to-surface and air-to-air bombs on its nine suspension units. With an external sling, the maximum payload mass is 11 000 kg.

But it must be known that the Strike Needle can’t actually carry that many more bombs than the other 34. The total payload is eleven tons with the PTB and the conformal tanks. 

After a complete refueling of bombs and missiles, almost 5,000 kg is left over. The F-15E is marginally less effective than the Su-34 in this respect.

The F-15E can carry guided and unguided bombs weighing up to 2270 kg, such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM; a GPS-based kit that turns a free-fall bomb into a precision weapon), cluster munitions, guided missiles such as the AGM-65 Maverick, heavy missiles such as the AGM-130 and AGM-158, anti-radar missiles such as the HARM, and the Harpoon RCC. The F-15E can carry the B61 family of tactical nuclear bombs.

F-15

 

Service and combat use

In the United States, you may find F-15E fighter bombers stationed at Seymour Johnson, Eglin, Luke, Nellis, Mountain Home, and Elmendorf. They are stationed at Lakenhis Air Force Base in Great Britain.

The F-15E took part in many American wars that the United States started. In 1991, they saw action for the first time as a company in a conflict with Iraq. The “Shock Eagles” struck Iraqi military and infrastructure targets and searched for mobile “Scud” missile systems.

In the initial encounter between American and MiG-29 fighter jets, both sides used guided missiles in futile air warfare. Despite their lack of active resistance, the Iraqi Air Force posed little threat to American strike aircraft due to the larger danger of Iraqi air defense weaponry. One of two F-15Es was lost in a fire that year (1991).

The next time F-15Es were spotted over Iraq was in 1993 when they established a northern no-fly zone. The planes did more than scanning the skies; they also attacked Iraq’s radar installations, air defense systems, and other military objectives.

Strike Needles took part in a mission to the Balkans in 1993. When NATO forces engaged in the civil war in Yugoslavia, they declared the Serbs to be the guilty party.

 At the outset, F-15E crews participated in the elimination of anti-aircraft defenses. From then on, they were free to bomb Serb ground forces wherever they pleased in Bosnia and Croatia.

U.S. fighter bombers attacked Yugoslavia in March 1999. They refocused their attention on the radar and air defense systems of Serbia. F-15E fighter jets flew combat flights out of Aviano, Italy, and Lakenheath, United Kingdom.

Taking off from Ahmed Al Jaber’s Kuwaiti airbase shortly after the September 11 attacks, F-2001E X-NUMX fought the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Initial strikes with adjustable bombs GBU-15, GBU-15, and GBU-24 were directed at training camps, weapons and ammo stores, and cave entrances where intelligence indicated al Qaeda officials and Taliban movements might be hiding out.

F-28E acted at the request of the allied ground forces following the destruction of major stationary targets.

To avoid being attacked by MANPADS missiles, American fighter bombers generally stayed at altitudes of more than 2,000 meters during their operations over Afghanistan’s mountain ranges.

Several F-15E took part in the now-famous “Anaconda Operation” at the start of March 2002. The mission’s stated goals were to apprehend and eliminate the Afghan al-Qaida leadership and eliminate all militia camps and hiding places in the Shahi Kot valley.

Planning flaws and questionable intel doomed the mission from the start. Several times, American forces failed to account for the strength of enemy forces in the area.

Two MH-47 Chinook helicopters were shot down during the landing of special forces, resulting in the deaths of eight American soldiers and the injuries of seventy-two more.

As part of Operation Dawn Odyssey, it was an F-15E’s job to keep the skies over Libya clear in 2011. Even though one plane disappeared for no apparent reason, its two pilots were able to catapult to safety and be rescued.

The Su-34’s brake parachute failed to deploy during its scheduled training flight on June 4, 2015, when the plane landed at the Buturlinovka airport in the Voronezh area. The lead bomber skidded off the end of the runway and flipped over.

While the runway at Baltimore Air Force Base was being reconstructed, the Su-34 and Su-24M were temporarily stationed at the Buturlinovka airstrip.

The August 2008 confrontation between Russia and Georgia marked the Su-34’s “baptism of fire.” Then, these front-line bombers, which had not yet been officially accepted for service, jammed the signals of other Russian combat planes. Front bombers Su-24M attacked Georgian air defense systems with X-58 missiles from the cover of REP stations Su-34.

F15-E

Conclusion

The American F-15E has a larger “destructive orientation” than the Russian Su-34 bomber, which is better equipped for operations at low altitudes due to its substantial armor protection for the cockpit and sections of the units.

The U.S. Air Force’s only fighter bomber capable of long-range raids and long flights at low altitudes is the F-15E Strike Eagle. Designers and industry are working hard to improve the Su-34’s performance and make its electronics more reliable. 

All front-line combat bombers have now been upgraded to the factory’s three-series level. They put in gas turbine plants that could run the main engines even without airfield equipment. This gives them more freedom and lets them add more home airfields in the long run.

There is little question that all “growing pains” will be overcome with the Su-34, which will become the primary Russian front-line bomber in the future, and that this combat aircraft will have a prosperous career and many years of service.

The F-15E Striking Eagle is a tactical multirole aircraft with enhanced strike capabilities. 

Despite all the problems, a combat complex that is robust, adaptable, and, most importantly, has significant room for improvement was developed, which now forms the basis of the strike power of tactical aviation not only for the United States but also for some of America’s Asian allies, including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and South Korea.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, the comparison between the Su-34 and F-15E Strike Eagle reveals that both aircraft have unique strengths and capabilities. The Su-34 excels in its substantial armor protection, spacious cockpit, and advanced avionics, making it well-suited for low-altitude operations and long-range missions.

On the other hand, the F-15E Strike Eagle is renowned for its adaptability and enhanced strike capabilities, making it a versatile and formidable tactical multirole aircraft.

Despite the differences, both aircraft have proven their effectiveness in combat scenarios, contributing significantly to the respective air forces they serve. As advancements continue to be made in aviation technology and design, it is clear that both the Su-34 and F-15E Strike Eagle will remain vital components of their nations’ tactical aviation capabilities for years to come.