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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Su-24 attack interceptor: jack of two trades, master of both

Su-24 FencerWith the F-111 establishing U.S. supremacy in the design of attack aircraft in the early 1960s, the task for Soviet engineers was clear – create a plane that could combine the tasks of a fighter-bomber and a fighter-interceptor to achieve accuracy, speed and manoeuvrability at both high and low altitudes.

In the early 1960s, Soviet aviation engineers received one of their hardest tasks yet: As the United States pulled ahead in attack aircraft design with the powerful “sweep-wing” F-111, the Soviet Air Force needed a plane that fused two proven existing designs, the Su-7B fighter-bomber and the Su-15 fighter-interceptor.

The aircraft had to be capable of hitting small ground targets, reaching supersonic speeds and breaking through low-altitude enemy air defenses at 50 meters – and make it home.

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