The Su-34 will likely remain in service with the Russian Air Force for decades to come as a partial replacement for the Su-24 and the Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire bomber.
Based on the Soviet Union’s potent Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker air superiority fighter, the Su-34 Fullback is the Russian Air Force’s long-range strike aircraft of choice. Though the new bomber, which has performed extremely well during the Kremlin’s campaign in Syria, was in development during the final days of the Soviet Union, the current iteration of the Fullback is in many ways a much more advanced and capable jet than what its designers has originally envisioned.
The conceptual origins of what would eventually become the Su-34 started in 1983 when the Soviet Union started to look for a replacement for the long-serving Su-24 Fencer bomber, but one that could defend itself against the American-built McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle and the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. The Sukhoi design bureau immediately leveraged its tandem seat Su-27UB design—what would eventually become the Su-30—but the Soviet Air Force preferred side-by-side seating for the long-range strike role. Thus, the Su-27IB was born.