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Air Force to buy 58 Su-34 Fullback fighter-bombers by 2015

ULYANOVSK, July 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Air Force will buy 58 Su-34 Fullback fighter-bombers by 2015, Russia's defense minister said Friday.

Design work on the plane began in the late 1980s to replace the Su-24 Fencer fighter-bomber.

"The handover of Tu-160 [Blackjack] and Su-34 aircraft to Russia's Air Force is a very important event for the Armed Forces and the country's defense capability," Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, said during a visit to an aviation company.

Ivanov said he had paid great attention to the aircraft's construction "because it means high technology, employment and Russia's competitiveness."

He added that more funds should be spent specifically on aircraft construction.

Sukhoi, a Russian manufacturer of military aircraft, demonstrated the first serial Su-34 in Novosibirsk Thursday.

The fighter-bomber is capable of attacking air-, ground-, and sea-based targets in any weather, day and night. The Su-34 avionics feature a rearward-facing radar between the engines to track and fire upon targets behind the aircraft.

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