Air International 2017-05
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A.Mladenov - Fighting Workhorse /Military/
The RuASF intends to keep its existing fleet of Su-25SMs in active service until the early 2030s as the Frogfoots have a lot of unused life in them and the type is subject to a rolling life extension effort.
A Su-25SM belonging to the 368th ShAP at Budyonnovsk seen during its landing roll with twin-dome parachute deployed.
Currently the RuAF has between 160 and 170 Su-25s in active service or undergoing deep maintenance and upgrade.
A look at the final assembly hall of the TAM plant in Tbilisi, Georgia. This image dating from the late 2000s shows newly-built single- and two-seat airframes, most likely intended for delivery to Azerbaijan
The first-generation Frogfoot is likely to serve with most of its current operators well beyond 2020, while in Russia it could remain in use until the early 2030s.
The newly-installed avionics of the Su-25SM has increased automation and self-test capability, making possible a reduction in the aircraft’s pre- and post-flight servicing of some 25 to 30%.
This is the pattern aircraft for the Su-25SM3 upgrade, (c/n 10095, re-worked from the Su-25SM-4 prototoype), pictured in the late 2000s with the new radar jamming system of the Vitebsk-25 self-protection in two pods on the outermost wing hardpoints, 250kg freefall bombs and B13 pods for firing 122mm rockets. The missile approach warning sensors were not installed at that time.
Frontline attack squadrons equipped with the Su-25 have an active fleet of 12 single-seat plus two to three two-seat aircraft; the attack regiments consist of two squadrons. This example is from the 368th ShAP.
This pair of Su-25s - one upgraded and one non-upgraded machine - belong to the 960th ShAP based at Primirsko-Akhtarsk in the Southern Military District.
A Su-25SM of the 960th ShAP taking off from Hmeimim Air Base in Syria with a weapon payload of four OFAB-250-270 freefall bombs.
This Su-25BM, serialled 73, is the first Frogfoot upgraded with the Gefest i T SVP-24-25 digital navigation/attack system operated by the Lipetsk-based combat training and aircrew conversion centre.
The Su-25’s cockpit (seen here in an export-standard K form), although considered old-fashioned, is described as roomy and ergonomically well-designed, while the upgraded Su-25SM has a much more simplified and ergonomic cockpit. The pilot sits in a full armour bath made from welded titanium plates.
A Su-25SM from the 368th ShAP demonstrates the Frogfoot's remarkable combat survivability. This aircraft was hit by a man-portable air defence system during the August 2008 South Ossetia war between Russia and Georgia. The aircraft remained flyable and managed to return to base, but was judged as beyond economical repair
Plans for upgrading the Su-25UB Frogfoot (seen here) to the enhanced Su-25UBM2 standard have been delayed and the first production-standard machines upgraded to this standard are expected no earlier than 2019.
After the Su-25’s withdrawal from use with the 209th UAB at Borisoglebsk in 2014 the squadron's aircraft were re-distributed to the front-line attack squadrons flying the type.
A look at the final assembly hall of the TAM plant in Tbilisi, Georgia. This image dating from the late 2000s shows newly-built single- and two-seat airframes, most likely intended for delivery to Azerbaijan