Videos of gun and missile tests taken at the Russian GkNIPAS range are extremely interesting. The one of the Su-34 is pretty unusual too.
The top image, showing a Russian Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback attack aircraft firing what appears to be an S-25 rocket at a close concrete target was filmed at the GkNIPAS FKP, the Russian State Governmental Scientific-Testing Area of Aircraft Systems.
Created on Jun. 27, 1941, “GkNIPAS” is one of the largest ranges in Russia and the leading one for the testing of aviation technology products (both aircraft and weapons). The site is located in a forest area about 60 km to the southeast of Moscow, and includes 50 facilities scattered across an area that covers about 10,000 hectares (100 sqkm)..
The range installations and computer-related systems, allow for testing in the areas of:
- Study on the impact of air and space conditions and electromagnetic effects on the air-launched weapons;
- Aeroballistic research used to examine the ballistic trajectories of aircraft and weapons at supersonic and hypersonic speeds;
- Research of interaction between the weapons and the lauch platform;
- Research on the impact of heat and vibrations on weapons during transport and storage;
- Test of rockets and their engine systems;
- Studies of the erosive effect on the protective coatings of aircraft weapons arising from aerodynamic and thermal loading
- Research of aircraft effects on atmospheric ozone layer;
- Research on the characteristics of aerosol formations and two-phase flows
- Tests of the emergency escape and lifesaving equipment of aircraft;
- Tests for national and international certification purposes of parts and systems of commercial aircraft with human-like dummies
- Study of the dynamics of parachute systems.
Here below you can find an interesting video showing many of the activities carried out at the Russian range, including the Yak-130 ejection seats test; the Su-34’s 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon ground firing and what seems to be a test of the ability of the Su-25’s armour to stop bullets.
Back to the Su-34, the aircraft entered in active service with the Russian Aerospace Forces in 2014. It is a two-seat strike fighter with a maximum range of 4,000 km, a payload of up to 12,000 kg on 12 hardpoints, the ability to carry R-77 and and R-73 missiles, a 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon, and a Khibiny ECM suite. For more details about the aircraft take a look at the infographic we posted here.
The top image of the Su-34 firing a rocket was sourced from a video about the development of the Fullback that you can watch here. It is at least interesting and rare to see an AAM (Air-to-Air Missile) tested on the ground from a plane with the extended landing gear. I honestly can’t remember of similar tests on other aircraft (but I may well be wrong, in such case please leave a comment or point me to a video that I would be glad to see). Usually, gun testing and calibrations are carried out with aircraft on the ground (hence with extended landing gear). But recent video has shown a Russian Su-25 using laser-guided air-to-ground projectiles in an air-to-air role against a Tu-16 bomber, hence it’s probably not too surprising. BTW, at around 30:23 of the video linked above, you can see the aircraft’s Chief Designer Rollan Martirosov who passed away recently.
H/T our reader and friend Al Clark for the heads-up and Alex Snow for providing additional details.