Due to the superiority of US aircraft such as the General Dynamics F-111, and the rapid development of American radar homing surface to air missiles, the Soviet Union decided in the mid 1960s to begin development of a long range fighter bomber capable of flying supersonically and attacking targets at low level. Sukhoi initially rejected the concept of a swing wing aircraft, developing a tandem seat aircraft with a fixed swept wing, designated S-6. Inadequacies with the design led to it being scrapped in favour of the T6-I, featuring side by side cockpit seating and a double delta wing based on that of the Su-15TM. Following changes requested by the Air Force, and the impressive display by an F-111 at the 1967 Paris Air Show, the T6-1 was fitted with swing wings and, re-designated T6-2I, made it's first flight on 17th January 1970.
Initially used for performance and stability tests, T6-2I was later used to test the automatic flight controls. At the end of 1970 T6-3I, the second swing wing prototype, was added to the performance test programmme. Both aircraft performed approximately 300 flights each when they completed the test programme in 1976, with the final year spent evaluating the type's ability to operate from unpaved runways.
Specifications (Su-24 M 'Fencer-D')Edit
The Su-24 measures 74 ft 1 1/2 in (22.59 m) in length and 20 ft4 in (6.19 m) in height, with a wingspan which varies between 57 ft 10 1/2 in (17.64 m) and 34 ft (10.37 m). The powerplant comprises two Lyul'ka AL-21F-3 turbojets, each rated at 17,230 lb st (76.67 kN) in dry thrust and 24,800 lb st (110.29 kN) with afterburning. Empty weight is 49,162 lb (22,300 kg), with normal take off weight set at 79,365 lb (36,000 kg) and maximum take off weight of 87,522 lb (39,700 kg).