Sukhoi Su-25 / Su-28 / Frogfoot
Originally known to NATO as the Ram-J (tenth new type seen at Ramenskoye), it was identified subsequently as the Sukhoi Su-25. The Su-25 'Grach' (Rook), NATO callsigned 'Frogfoot', is a dedicated strike attack aircraft designed for the Close Air Support and Anti-Tank roles from Tbilisi Aerospace Manufacturing (TAM). The Su-25 is designed to withstand heavy enemy fire relying on the heavily armoured airframe and cockpit, seperated engine bays and foamed internal fuel tanks. The design sacrifised speed for low-level maneuvrability, low-speed handling and weapons accuracy. A special design feature are the wingtips which split at the rear to form airbrakes, this to furthur improve low-speed handling. The nose houses a laser rangefinder which also acts as target designator. Above the tailcone at the back of the aircraft is a Sirena-3 radar warning system located.
The Su-25 carries stores on ten underwing pylons. The inner pair are plumbed for external tanks, and the outer pair are for Atoll or Aphid air-to-air missiles. Armament includes an internal 30mm cannon, and equipment fitted includes a headup display and a laser range-finder. The Su-25 also features unusual wing-tip split-flap speedbrakes and a split rudder.
The aircraft may be operated from high mountain runaways (at 3000 m above sea level). The rear cockpit is equipped with a periscope to improve the vision of the front during takeoff, landing and flight. The rear cockpit of an instructor is additionally equipped with a failure simulator of the aviation instruments and systems in the front cockpit and flight controls with the priority action.
By 1982, a trials squadron was operating in Afghanistan against tribesmen opposing the Soviet occupation. This opportunity has been taken to develop operational techniques, including co-ordinated low-level attacks by Mil Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunships and Su-25s in support of ground troops.
Deployment of the single-seat close-support Su-25K began in 1978, and it saw considerable operational service during the former Soviet Union's involvement in Afghanistan (the first machines to be deployed being pre-production aircraft, designated T-8) and the ruggedness of the design was revealed in dramatic fashion on numerous occasions. One particular aircraft, flown by Colonel Alexander V. Rutskoi, was actually heavily damaged on two occasions, once by anti-aircraft fire, then by Sidewinder air-to-air missiles launched by Pakistani Air Force F-16s. On each occasion the pilot managed to return to his base. The aircraft was repaired, repainted and returned to service. Rutskoi was less lucky - while flying a second Su-25 on a combat mission, his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and a Blowpipe shoulder-launched missile, which exploded in the starboard engine. The aircraft still flew, but another burst of AA brought it down. Rutskoi ejected and spent some time as a prisoner of the Pakistani authorities before being repatriated. However, operations in Afghanistan also revealed a number of serious shortcomings. For example, the close positioning of the Su-25's engines meant that if one took a hit and caught fire, the other was likely to catch fire, too. When the 'Frogfoot' first encountered the Stinger shoulder-launched missile, four aircraft were shot down in two days, with the loss of two pilots; it was found that missile fragments shredded the rear fuselage fuel tank, which was situated directly above the jet exhaust.
First production variant was the Su-25 (NATO Frogfoot-A), the Su-25K being the first export variant of the type. While Warsaw Pact Su-25Ks resembled early Su-25 models both externally and internally, the Su-25Ks exported to Iraq and North Korea had downgraded avionics and fire control systems. The Su-25BM (Su-25BMK for export) is a modified variant of the Su-25 (Frogfoot-A) capable of towing aerial targets for air-to-air and ground-to-air gunnery training. The internal cannon was deleted.
The Su-25 Frogfoot subsonic ground-attack aircraft entered service with the Czech Air Force in 1984, having become fully operational in the Soviet Union in 1983.
The Su-25UB Frogfoot-B (Su-25UBK for export) is the two-seat trainer variant developed as a combat transition trainer for the Russian Air Force. The Su-25UB/UBK is equipped with the same avionics and systems as the Su-25 Frogfoot-A and is fully combat capable and able to use the same ordnance. Again Su-25UBKs exported to non-Warsaw Pact countries were equipped with downgraded avionics and fire control systems.
Development of the Su-25UB as an advanced trainer for the Russian Air Force led to the unarmed Su-25UT two-seat trainer, which is also known as Su-28. The cannon, armor, fire control systems, ECM systems and all other combat equipment was deleted, as well as five of the hardpoints and the chaff/flare dispensers. Although intended to replace the L-29 Delfin and L-39 Albatros trainers it never did. Only one aircraft was flown in August 1985, appearing in the colours of DOSAAF, the Soviet Union's paramilitary 'private flying' organization, which provided students with basic flight training. The aircraft, which actually outperformed the L-39, appeared in many aerobatic displays.
The Su-25UTG is a navilized version of the Su-25UT trainer, with a strengthened undercarriage and arrester gear, which was used to familiarize Navy pilots with carrier procedures. One Su-25UT was converted to Su-25UTG, the major change being the braking parachute being replaced by the arrester hook. No more were built.
As a result of lessons learned during the Afghan conflict an upgraded version known as the Su-25T was produced, with improved defensive systems to counter weapons such as the Stinger. The improvements included the insertion of steel plates several millimetres thick between the engine bays and below the fuel cell. Following this modification no further Su-25s were lost to shoulder-launched missiles. In total, 22 Su-25s and eight pilots were lost in the nine years of the Afghan conflict.
The Su-25TM, also known as Su-39, is improved version of the Frogfoot based on the Su-25UB combat trainer. Avionics and systems were considerably upgraded, making the aircraft capable of conducting missions at night and under all weather conditions. The main role of this variant is the Anti-Tank role. The weapons systems also allow the Su-25TM or Su-39 to be used in the Anti-Ship role and has a limited air-to-air combat capability against helicopters and other low speed aerial targets. Survivability is increased using additional armor, reduced infrared signature, chaff/flare dispensers, IR jammer and more RWR antennas. System upgrades include auto pilot, better nav/attack systems and sensors, Low Light Level Television/Forward Looking Infra Red (LLTV/FLIR) pod, cockpit displays, wide-angle HUD. Production will depend on export orders. The Su-25TK and Su-34 were proposed designations used for the export version of the Su-25TM. The Su-34 designation was later re-used for the Su-27IB Flanker.
The Su-25SM is the designation used for upgraded standard production Su-25 single-seat aircraft, and Su-25UBM the designation for a similar upgrade for the Su-25UB. The upgrade is carried out by the 121 ARZ plant at Kubinka Air Base. In 2001, the first Su-25SM was completed followed by a second aircraft in 2003. The test programme was completed in 2005, and the 121 ARZ started series upgrade of the Russian Air Force Su-25 fleet. The first six aircraft were completed in 2006 and handed over to the Russian Air Force on December 28, 2006. They received new serials; side number 01 thru 06. Six more Su-25SMs are scheduled for delivery in 2007, and eight for 2008. Two attack regiments will convert to the Su-25SM, starting with the 368th Attack Aircraft Regiment at Budyonnovsk.
Main element of the Su-25SM upgrade is the new PrNK-25SM nav/attack system with satnav receiver, colour multi-purpose LCD, and SUO-39 fire control system. The upgrade is claimed to offer two to three times greater accuracy in weapons delivery and up to ten times in navigation accuracy. The upgrade also replaced the obsolete RWR with the L-150 electronic intelligence station and enables the use of R-73 advanced IR guided air-to-air missiles and KAB-500Kr TV-guided bombs.
Work on the upgrade of the first Su-25UB two-seat combat trainer to Su-25UBM standard in a similar upgrade started in May 2005 according to AFM, but recently it is reported it is planned for 2007.
The Su-25KM 'Skorpion' is a Su-25K upgrade offered by the collaboration between Elbit Systems and Georgia's TAM (Tbilisi Aerospace Manufacturing). Improvements include Multi Function Color Displays, new HUD, Elbit Mission Computer, and an optional Helmet Mounted Display. On 27 October 2004, the first Su-25KM Skorpion was delivered to the Turkmenistan Air Force. This makes the Turkmenistan Air Force the first customer for the new variant. Georgia had already overhauled 43 standard Su-25s for Turkmenistan as a part payment for Georgian debts for the supply of gas, which is also believed to be the payment for the Su-25KM delivery.
The Russian Air Force took delivery of its first six upgraded SU-25SM Frogfoots in late December 2006.
Five Iraqi Su-25K and two Su-25UBK Frogfoots fled to Iran during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Two of these Su-25Ks entered service with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Air Force (IRGCAF), after having been refurbished with help from Georgian technicians. The IRGCAF also has about 30 Su-25UBK two-seat combat trainers on order from Russia's Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant.
Russia, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Congo, Czech Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, North Korea, Peru, Slovakia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
Engines: 2x Soyuz/Tumanski R-195 turbojet
Max Thrust: 9,920 lb.
Military Thrust: 9,920 lb.
Wing Span: 47.11 ft. / 14.36 M
Length: 50.95 ft. / 15.53 M
Height: 15.75 ft. / 4.80 M
Wing Area: 362.74 Sq ft. / 33.70 Sq M
Weight Empty: 20,944 lb. / 9,500 Kg
Max. Takeoff Weight: 45,195 lb. / 20,500 Kg
Power & Performance
Max. Thrust Loading: 0.44
Maximum Wing Loading: 124.59 lb. per Sq. ft.; 608.31 Kg / Sq. M
Max Speed at sea level 975 km/h: 526 knots, 604.9 mph, 974.152 km/h
Operational Ceiling: 22,950 ft. / 6,995 M
Armament: one AO-17A 30 mm twin-barrel gun 250 rounds
Bombload 4400 kg (9,700 lb)
External hardpoints 10 or 11
Su-25UT (Su-28, Frogfoot-B)
Engines: 2 x 2 ТРД Р-195, 4500 kg
Wingspan: 14,36 m
Length: 15,53 m
Height: 5,20 m
Wing area: 30,10 sq.m
Empty weight: 10050 kg
Normal TO weight: 15100 kg
Maximum TO weight: 18500 kg
Normal landing weight: 11825 kg
Maximumlanding weight:13200 kg
Maximum military load: 4000 kg
Internal fuel: 3430 lt
External fuel: 4 x ПТБ-800, 820 lt each or 2 x ПТБ-1150, 1160 lt each
Practical ceiling: 7000 m
Maximum speed SL:940 km/h
Maximum speed at altitude:М=0.82
Range SL: 495 km
Range at altitude: 1000 km
Range with 4хПТБ-800: 1980 km
Takeoff roll normal mass:500 m
Takeoff roll maximum takeoff mass:1050 m
Landing roll normal landing mass:550 m
Landing roll maximum landing mass:750
Maximum loading: +6,5/-2,0
Armament: ВПУ-17А, double-tube with 30-mm gun ГШ-30, 250 bullets
Engines: 2 x R-195, 44.1kN
Wingspan: 14.4 m / 47 ft 3 in
Length: 15.5 m / 51 ft 10 in
Height: 4.8 m / 16 ft 9 in
Wing area: 33.7 sq.m / 362.74 sq ft
Weight empty: 20947.5 lb / 9500.0 kg
Max take-off weight: 17600 kg / 38802 lb
Max. payload weight: 19183.5 lb / 8700.0 kg
Max. speed: 526 kt / 975 km/h / 606 mph
Ceiling: 7000 m / 22950 ft
Range w/max.fuel: 1250 km / 777 miles
Range w/max.payload: 375 km / 233 miles
Landing speed: 116 kt / 215 km/h
Initial climb rate: 16732.28 ft/min / 85.0 m/s
Armament: 1 x 30mm cannon, 4000kg
Engine: 2 x Tumansky R-13
Installed thrust (dry): 83 kN
Empty wt: 9500 kg
MTOW: 19,200 kg
Wingspan: 15.50 m (50 ft 10 in)
Length 14.50 m (47 ft 6 in)
Wing area: 34 sq.m
Fuel internal: 5000 lt. Air refuel: No
Armament: one multi-barrel cannon beneath the centre fuselage
10 hardpoints for some 4000 kg (8,818 lb)