Sukhoi Su-24 - Famous Russian Aircraft

Review by John Baxter

I would guess that when someone mentions variable-geometry winged aircraft, the one that probably most springs to mind is the F-111. But it wasn’t the only variable-geometry aircraft to go into military service. The other was the Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer. (There was also the Su-17 swing wing developement of the Su-7. Editor).

I was offered this book to review and jumped at the chance. Two reasons – 1) I’ve nothing of substance on this aircraft in my library; and 2), Crecy along with authors Yefim Gordon and Dmitry Komissarov don’t produce nonsense! So, I anticipated a welcome addition – and I wasn’t disappointed. This 352 page hardback publication is simply outstanding. Technical, extensive, deeply researched, it’s a Soviet/Russian aviation enthusiast’s dream.

Ok, it’s not easy reading and the technicalities come on ‘hot and strong’ but the depth and wealth of info is extraordinary. It’s backed by 492 colour photos, 172 b&w photos and 124 colour profiles, plus five pages of b&w line drawings. In addition, there’s dozens of national insignias, unit badges and individual aircraft numbers – all in colour- as well as several 3-view b&w drawings and some other illustrations. So it’s exceptionally well-illustrated. I’ve often wondered from where the photos were sourced as I have my doubts about anyone having easy ramp access, especially on a Soviet/Russian air base. Nevertheless, practically all the photos in Yefim’s books are amazingly good, sharp and clear.

Now be warned. My research showed that this book is an expanded and possibly revised edition of two earlier publications – ‘Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer – Soviet Swing Wing Bomber’ published by Aerofax/Midland in 2005 and ‘Sukhoi Su-24’ Russian Aircraft in Action series published by Polygon Press circa 2004. Both authored by Yefim Gordon. The photos and profiles in these two earlier publications are used here, with additional photos obviously as this book is twice the size of the other two combined! So if you already have either of these two in your library, it might be worth checking this one before you buy. Having said that, this large book is undoubtedly the best of the three!

Would I recommend it? Yes! Unequivocally! It’s authoritative, definitive and a mine of information, but it’s not something, I believe, you can pick up and read cover to cover. There are seven chapters covering design, production and service, plus two extensive appendices on production list and accidents (and there are plenty of those). The Su-24 in combat chapter makes for interesting reading. It’s the Soviet’s Vietnam in many respects and I love the line “the Geneva Convention does not apparently apply to jihad”. All in all, it’s very, very impressive.

This is a great book for any military and especially Soviet/Russian enthusiast at a very competitive price. It has a wealth of wonderful material also for the modellers. ‘Sukhoi Su-24’ is available from Hyland’s Bookshop in Melbourne or on 03 9654 7448 for about $100. That’s about equivalent to the cost of the other two books mentioned put together.

Many thanks to Ms Orietta Colussi of DLS Australia for the review copy