A single-seat variant of the Su-34 bomber configured as an attack aircraft is planned to be developed, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Defense and Security Committee Viktor Bondarev said.
The Su-34 based plane will be highly maneuverable and take advantage of its eight ton of weapons load against four tons carried by the Su-25, the current single-seat fighter in Russia’s arsenal. “It is simpler and easier to make a cockpit for one pilot and leave all the rest as it is," he said in comments to TASS made today.
A new attack aircraft will actually have the same engines as the Su-34, he said adding that the Su-25 has been upgraded to the Su-25SM3 version. “Naturally, we will have to replace it eventually and today various options are being considered," Bondarev said.
As a source in the defense industry told TASS, experimental design work on developing an attack aircraft on the basis of the Su-34 bomber is expected to begin in 2018.
Russia’s Defense Ministry signed the first contract on the delivery of Su-34 aircraft to the troops in 2008. The Russian Armed Forces are expected to get a total of 150-200 such planes. This aircraft can carry up to eight tonnes of combat load and develop a speed of up to 1,900 km/h and its operation range is 4,000 km.
The weight saving of the single-seat plane based on the Su-34 can have a better power to weight ratio which will make it more maneuverable.