The Sukhoi SU-34s are Russian twin-engine, twin-seat strike fighters, intended to replace the older Sukhoi Su-24s. Not many of those are deployed yet. The first jets were received into the Air Force in 2008 – and as of July 2015, only around 70 aircraft are flying. These planes and its production facilities were probably top secret before, and maybe in Soviet Times it would be totally impossible to get into the facility. However nowadays some bloggers with connections are able to get into the factory and can even take detailed photos of what’s going on in those factories. And thanks to one such blogger – Aslan – we are now able to see the previously top secret stuff at Sukhoi’s Novosibirsk air factory.
Basically, the SU-34 is the first new aircraft in post Soviet Russia. NATO calls it Fullback. Russian pilots called it “Duckling”. Aslan says that the first time he saw its engine – in the pic above – it instantly reminded him a Star Wars scene of the young Skywalker racing.
An SU-34 contains over 57,000 parts and details – just imagine! They are all needed to be assembled in exact predefined order. Some parts, like engines, come from other factories.
The most meticulous and time consuming job is assembling its body. They need to manually drill hundreds and thousands of little holes. Before all of the holes were done by hand, today the holes are being pre-drilled by a robot and then a person with a hand drill makes them bigger.
Here are three larger parts of a body being combined together. Fifteen people are engaged in this.
There is one interesting test being conducted during production – checking that the body is hermetically sealed. It goes this way – they put large paper sheets inside the body and move it in a hangar where heavy artificial raining starts. Then after it stops, they check inside to see if any of paper sheets are wet. If yes – then there’s a leak and they need to find it.
Aslan arrived just before the raining started.
Is there are anyone who wants to see the workshop from above? – asks this man.
And they all climbed above – with help of Oxana – a crane operator. With this crane she moves different large parts around. But this time she just moved the crane to show different parts of a hangar from above.
Here is the body being prepared for an artificial raining.
A few jets are being produced at once in this hangar.
Those are inspectors, checking to see that everything is done right.
The fuel system. Before the visit, Aslan thought there were just regular fuel tanks in this aircraft, but in reality there is a whole interconnected system of pipes and pumps which is able to provide huge amounts of fuel as soon as it’s needed – immediately – to any part of the plane during the flight.
Some doodling on the gauges.
Moving a piece of a wing around.
At lunch time Aslan went to see the completed plane being tested. Two jets are being prepared for a test. One just arrived from a factory and is not yet painted, and the other is going to fly to the airbase.
This is the unpainted one, being tested for flights as is.
Pilots are already inside the cockpit.
A pro giving a look. They test those jets on maximum possible super sonic speeds on the highest and lowest possible altitudes.
Before take off they check the wing-changing geometry.
Another plane is being towed to the test area.
A veteran test-pilot. He is 66 now, but still is an active test pilot! Forty three years of test flight experience. He says that during one flight, over 350 flight modes are being tested.
Just a few meters away from a starting plane – a tremendously loud experience says Aslan.
And a take off!
Thanks a lot to Aslan for this really, really interesting posting! His website is below!