The aircraft shares most of its wing structure, tail, and engine nacelles with the Su-27/Su-30, with canards like the Su-30MKI/Su-33/Su-27M/35 to increase static instability (higher manoeuvrability) and to reduce trim drag. The aircraft has an entirely new nose and forward fuselage with a cockpit providing side-by-side seating for a crew of two. The Su-34 is powered by the AL-31FM1, the same engines with the Su-27SM, but its maximum speed is lower at Mach 1.8+ when fully loaded. The Su-34 has a maximum range of 4,000 km (with the armament) without refuelling, and 7,000 km with aerial refueling.
The Su-34 has a three-surface planform, with a conventional horizontal tailplane, twin-tail at the rear and a pair of canard foreplanes in front of the wings for extra lift (force) and more manoeuvring capability. The Su-34 has 12 hardpoints for up to 12,000 kilograms of ordnance, intended to include the latest Russian precision-guided weapons. It retains the Su-27/Su-30's 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon, and the ability to carry air-to-air missiles R-77 (pcs 6) and R-73 (still 6). The maximum weight of any single munition carried is 4000 kg, with a maximum munitions load the maximum attack range is 250 km.
The Su-34's most distinctive feature is the unusually large flight deck. Much of the design work went into crew comfort. The two crew members sit side by side in a large cabin, with the pilot-commander to the left and navigator/operator of weapons to the right in NPP Zvezda K-36dm ejection seats. An advantage of the side by side cockpit is that duplicate instruments are not required for each pilot. Since long missions require comfort, the pressurization system allows operation up to 10,000 metres (32,800 ft) without oxygen masks, which are available for emergencies and combat situations. The crew members have room to stand and move about the cabin during long missions. The space between the seats allows them to lie down in the corridor, if necessary. A toilet and a galley are located behind the crew seats. Entrance into the cockpit is from below, using a ladder attached to the nose landing gear and a hatch in the cockpit floor. The cockpit is a continuous capsule of armour. Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS). Helmet is a kind of command center: precision target designation of all onboard weapons tied to the movement of the head and the eyes of the pilot.
Maximum detection range for the passive electronically scanned array forward radar is 200–250 km, to cover the rear a second aft-facing radar is mounted. The main radar can simultaneously attack four targets (in the air, on land or on the water). The rear warning radar system can warn of attack from behind and allow it to fire its R-73 (missile)s against pursuers without needing to turn the aircraft. The rear radar is unofficially called the N-012.
A Khibiny ECM system is fitted as standard Maximum operating overload +9G
It will have a frontal radar cross-section an order of magnitude smaller than prior generation fighters, use stealth.