Sukhoi Su-25 | Ground attack aircraft

Sukhoi Su-25
Sukhoi Su-25

Militarymedia.net | The Sukhoi Su-25 (Western reporting name Frogfoot) remains the mainstay of Russia's ground attack regiments. This type is widely analogous to the US A-10 but has matured into a more sophisticated warplane.

The T-8 prototype made its first flight on February 22, 1975, but the type was comprehensively redesigned before serial production was permitted. The Su-25 flew about 60,000 sorties in Afghanistan and this experience led to various modifications being applied to production aircraft from 1987. The Su-25 is also strongly committed to supporting Russian intervention in Chechnya and military action in Syria. The Su-25 is widely exported and used in various military conflicts.

The Russian Air Force currently operates around 250 Su-25s of all variants. This type plays a major role in rapid-deployment groups formed in each of the six military districts of the Russian Federation. The older Su-25 aircraft are used in conjunction with newly upgraded versions, such as the Su-25SM3 Grach, which entered service in 2013.

Many former Soviet republics acquired Su-25 regiments stationed on their territory after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The operators include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the unrecognized state of Abkhazia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan (in storage), and Uzbekistan. The Su-25 has been exported to Angola, Bulgaria, Congo, Ivory Coast, Czech Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Macedonia, North Korea, Peru, Slovakia, Sudan and possibly several other countries.

Sukhoi Su-25
Sukhoi Su-25 

Sukhoi Su-25 Variant

The Su-25K is a downgraded export version with certain systems downgraded. It had a less powerful engine, inferior avionics and lacked a chaff dispenser. It has been exported to Angola, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, North Korea, Peru and Slovakia.

The Su-25KM is an upgraded export version.

Su-25UB two-seat trainer.

The Su-25T is an all-weather and night-capable variant with increased range/endurance and survivability. Basically this is a special variant designed to destroy tanks. It is based on the fuselage of the two-seat trainer version of the Su-25UB with a fairing humped rear cockpit. The second seat was removed to store more avionics. This fighter aircraft was developed in the 1980s. An initial batch of 20 Su-25Ts were built during 1990-1991 in Tbilisi (Georgia). Production was then moved to Ulan-Ude (Russia). The first Russian-made Su-25T flew in 1995.

The Su-25TM is an improved version of the Su-25T with further enhanced weapons capabilities. The 20 Georgian Su-25Ts have been upgraded at Ulan-Ude to the Su-25TM. Unusually, the Su-25TM carries the Kopyo-25 radar externally in a pod under the fuselage. This aircraft saw only limited service due to the high unit price. In 1993 the Russian Ulan-Ude aviation plant began preparations for mass production of the Su-25TM. The prototype made its first flight in 1995. In the same year the Su-25TM was officially redesigned as the Su-39.

The Su-25TK is an export version of the Su-25TM.

The Su-39 is a new version of the Su-25TM. A pre-production Su-25TM made its first flight in 1995. In the same year the type was redesigned as the Su-39. However, this fighter was never ordered due to funding problems. Only 4 prototypes were ever made.

The Su-25UBM is an upgraded version of the Su-25UB two-seat trainer. The Su-25UB aircraft were upgraded in the same way that the Su-25T was upgraded to the Su-25TM standard.

The Su-25SM is an upgraded version of the original Su-25. It has a new head look and an improved fire control system. This increases the accuracy of guided ammunition. The Su-25SM is not as technologically advanced as the Su-25T and Su-25TM variants but is much better than the original production model. About 80 aircraft were upgraded to the Su-25SM standard using some of the systems developed for the Su-25TM. It has a nose-mounted Kopyo radar.

The Su-25SM3 Grach is the latest version. The first upgraded aircraft were delivered to the Russian military in 2013.

The Su-25UTG is a naval version, designed to operate from aircraft carriers. It is equipped with an arrester latch and has a reinforced undercarriage. It can carry anti-ship missiles.

Sukhoi Su-25
Sukhoi Su-25 

The Su-25KM Scorpion is a modern Georgian version, designed primarily for export. Scorpion has comprehensively upgraded the avionics. The Georgian manufacturer is working with Elbit Systems and Elgad of Israel to upgrade the aircraft. The Su-25KM Scorpion was produced in the early 2000s. Production was discontinued in 2010. At that time, about 12 Scorpions were produced. These planes turned out to be too expensive for Georgia and found no export customers. According to unofficial sources some Scorpions have been moved to Turkmenistan as part of a trade deal.

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