Work on a two-seat strike version of the Su-27 has been underway at the Design Bureau since the early 80s, the aeroplane being initially regarded as a variant of the two-seat trainer Su-27UB. Officially work to produce a two-seat fighter-bomber was initiated by a decree of the government of 19th June 1986, the Design Bureau having assigned the new plane the manufacturer's designation T-10V.
In May 1988, the plane's conceptual design was presented for critical design review. The conventional Su-27UB-style cockpit configuration, with the pilots seated in tandem, one behind the other, was for the first time combined with an alternative option of a "side by side" pilot-seating arrangement. The latter option was selected as the principal solution. The new configuration made the crew more comfortable: the cockpit overhead space behind the seats allows the pilot to stand up, with the crew boarding the plane using an inbuilt ladder through the bay in the nosewheel landing gear unit and the service hatch in the back wall of the cockpit. The main distinctive features of the fighter-bomber are:
- large ordnance load and a broad line-up of guided air-launched weapons,
- high load capabilities engineered through reinforced design of the airframe and landing gear, and increased fuel tankage.
- probe-and-drogue flight refuelling capability,
- improved damage control (cockpit and essential systems armoured, explosion safety improved by engineering protection and filling the fuel tanks with PU-foam),
- advanced avionics line-up, including multi-purpose PAA radar, onboard optical search and track station and an integrated defensive aids suite,
- a state-of-the-art HUD system incorporating multi-role indicators with push-button panels.
R.G. Martirosov was appointed head of the 10V project, the plane's detailed design being completed in 1987-1988. The first prototype T10V-1 was built in 1989-1990 on the platform of the production Su-27UB. Its first flight was performed by the design bureau's test pilot A.A. Ivanov on 13th April 1990. Production of the aeroplane was set up in Novosibirsk, at NAPO, which produced the Su-24 family. The first pre-production craft was built at the end of 1993; its first flight was made on 18th December by the design bureau's test pilots I.V. Votintsev and Ye.G. Revunov. In June 1995, having been renamed the Su-32, the aeroplane was for the first time shown abroad at the air show in Le Bourget. In the summer of 1999, the Su-32 was used to establish 7 world records of lifting loads to high altitude.
In June 2003, the plane successfully completed the first stage of governmental testing. Preliminary Opinion on the machine's compliance with Air Forces requirements having been delivered, next stage testing got under way. By 2004, the Novosibirsk facility had produced a development batch of 8 Su-32 aeroplanes. In the long term, the Su-32 is expected to become the main strike asset of front-line aviation of the RF Air Forces, replacing all the Su-24 and Su-24M planes currently in service.