The Su-25 and Su-28 single-seat, close-support aircraft, known by the Nato reporting name Frogfoot, is manufactured by the Sukhoi Design Bureau Joint Stock Company, based in Moscow, and the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association of Novosibirsk, Russia.
The Su-25 is designed to defeat small mobile and stationary ground targets and to engage low-speed air targets at the forward edge and in the nearest tactical and operational depth.
A two-seater variant, Su-35UB (Frogfoot-B), is a weapons training aircraft manufactured at Ulan-Ude. The Su-25UTG is the two-seater aircraft carrier variant fitted with an arrester hook under the tail. The Su-25UTG is deployed on the Russian Navy 50,000t aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.
Variants of the Su-25 are operational with the Russian Air Force, the Russian Naval Aviation forces, Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, North Korea, Peru, the Slovak Republic, Turkmenistan and the Ukraine. The export variant of the aircraft carries the designation Su-25K.
An upgraded version for the Russian Air Force, the Su-25SM entered service in January 2007. The upgrade includes new navigation computer, Pastel countermeasures suite, SUO-39 fire control system and Phazotron Kopyo-25M radar.
Su-25K aircraft, the Scorpion, has been developed by Tbilisi Aerospace Manufacturing (TAM) .”
In August 2010, the Russian Air Force temporarily grounded its Su-25 fleet to investigate a crash that occurred on 6 August 2010. The crash occurred at 60km north-west of Step Airport in Siberia while performing training missions.
The Ulan-Ude aviation plant (UUAZ) made the decision in November 2010 to resume production of Su-25 once orders are obtained from the Russian Defence Ministry and the United Aircraft Building Corporation.
An upgraded Su-25K, the Scorpion, has been developed by Tbilisi Aerospace Manufacturing (TAM) of Georgia and Elbit of Israel. Scorpion has a new advanced avionics system with a weapon delivery and navigation system for both Nato and Eastern European weapons and pods, and a new glass cockpit with two multicolour LCD displays and a head-up display (HUD).
The aircraft has an all-welded, 24mm titanium alloy cockpit with transparent windscreen armour block to protect the pilot. It is equipped with a single K-36L Zvezda ejection seat.
The wings have ten pylons for carrying a range of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapon systems selected for the mission. Air-to-ground missiles include Kh-23 (Nato codename AS-7 Kerry), Kh-25ML (AS-10 Karen) and Kh-29l (AS-14 Kedge). The air-to-air missiles carried on the smaller outboard pylons are the R-3S (AA-2D Atoll) and the R-60 (AA-8 Aphid).
The aircraft can be fitted with UB-32A pods for 57mm S-5 rockets, B-8M1 pods for 80mm S-8 rockets, S-24 240mm guided rockets and S-25 330mm guided rockets.
The Su-25 can be armed with 350kg-670kg laser-guided bombs, 500kg incendiary devices and cluster bombs.
The aircraft’s twin-barrel gun, the 30mm AO-17A, is installed in the underside of the fuselage on the port side. The gun is armed with 250 rounds of ammunition and is capable of firing at a burst rate of 3,000 rounds a minute. SPPU-22 gun pods can also be installed on the underwing pylons. The pods carry the GSh-23 23mm twin-barrel guns, each with 260 rounds of ammunition.
The aircraft is equipped with an integrated navigation and aiming system, including ASP-17 BTs-8 gun / bomb sight with an AKS-750s camera installed in the nose. The nose also houses a Klyon PS laser ranger and target designator, manufactured by the Urals Optical and Mechanical Plant (YOM3).
Su-35UB (Frogfoot-B), is a weapons training aircraft manufactured at Ulan-Ude.”
The electronic warfare suite includes an SPO-15 Sirena-3 radar warning receiver and a Gardeniya radar jammer. The ASO-2V decoy dispenser can deploy chaff and flares for protection against radar and infrared guided missiles.
Navigation and communications
The aircraft is equipped with an RSBN tactical air navigation system (TACAN), MRP-56P marker beacon receiving unit, RV-1S radio altimeter and various air data and acceleration indicators.
The communications systems include an SRO-2 identification friend or foe (IFF) transponder and a SO-69 air traffic control transponder, together with VHF/UHF transceivers and an air-to-ground radio.
The Russian Air Force Su-25 aircraft is powered by two Soyuz / Gavrilov R-195s turbojet engines rated at 44.18kN. Cooling air is introduced at the end of the tail cone to reduce the temperature of the exhaust gases and minimise the infrared signature of the aircraft.
The aircraft is equipped with self-sealing, foam-filled fuel tanks with a total fuel capacity of 3,600l. The range of the aircraft can be extended by the provision of four PTB-1500 external fuel tanks, which are carried on the underwing pylons.
The Su-25 can climb at the rate of 58m/s. The maximum speed of the aircraft is 950km/h. The combat radius and ferry range of the aircraft are 375km and 7,500km respectively. The normal range of the Su-25 is 750km. The service ceiling is 7,000m.
The take-off and landing roll of the Su-25 are 750m and 600m respectively. The aircraft weighs around 10,740kg and its maximum take-off weight is 17,600kg.
The basic version of the aircraft was produced at Factory 31, at Tbilisi, in the Soviet Republic of Georgia. Between 1978 and 1989, 582 single-seat Su-25s were produced in Georgia, not including aircraft produced under the Su-25K export program. This variant of the aircraft represents the backbone of the Russian Air Force’s Su-25 fleet, currently the largest in the world. The aircraft experienced a number of accidents in operational service caused by system failures attributed to salvo firing of weapons. In the wake of these incidents, use of its main armament, the 240 mm S-24 rocket, was prohibited. In its place, the FAB-500 500 kg (1,100 lb) general-purpose high-explosive bomb became the primary armament.
The basic Su-25 model was used as the basis for a commercial export variant, known as the Su-25K (Komercheskiy). This model was also built at Factory 31 in Tbilisi, Georgia. The aircraft differed from the Soviet Air Force version in certain minor details concerning internal equipment. A total of 180 Su-25K aircraft were built between 1984 and 1989.
The Su-25UB trainer (Uchebno-Boyevoy) was drawn up in 1977. The first prototype, called “T-8UB-1”, was rolled out in July 1985 and its maiden flight was carried out at the Ulan-Ude factory airfield on 12 August of that year. By the end of 1986, 25 Su-25UBs had been produced at Ulan-Ude before the twin-seater completed its State trials and officially cleared for service with the Soviet Air Force.
It was intended for training and evaluation flights of active-duty pilots, and for training pilot cadets at Soviet Air Force flying schools. The performance did not differ substantially from that of the single-seater. The navigation, attack, sighting devices and weapons-control systems of the two-seater enabled it to be used for both routine training and weapons-training missions.
From 1986 to 1989, in parallel with the construction of the main Su-25UB combat training variant, the Ulan-Ude plant produced the so-called “commercial” Su-25UBK, intended for export to countries that bought the Su-25K, and with similar modifications to that aircraft.
The Su-25UBM is a twin seat variant that can be used as an operational trainer, but also has attack capabilities, and can be used for reconnaissance, target designation and airborne control. Its first flight was on 6 December 2008 and it was certified in December 2010. It will enter operational use with the Russian Air Force later. The variant has a Phazotron NIIR Kopyo radar and Bars-2 equipment on board. Su-25UBM’s range is believed to be 1,300 km (810 mi) and it may have protection against infra-red guided missiles (IRGM), a minimal requirement on today’s battle fields where IRGMs proliferate.
The Su-25UTG (Uchebno-Trenirovochnyy s Gakom) is a variant of the Su-25UB designed to train pilots in takeoff and landing on a land-based simulated carrier deck, with a sloping ski-jump section and arrester wires. The first one flew in September 1988, and approximately 10 were produced. About half remained in Russian service after 1991; they were used on Russia’s sole aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov. This small number of aircraft were insufficient to meet the training needs of Russia’s carrier air group, so a number of Su-25UBs were converted into Su-25UTGs. These aircraft being distinguished by the alternative designation Su-25UBP (Uchebno-Boyevoy Palubny)—the adjective palubnyy meaning “deck”, indicating that these aircraft have a naval function. Approximately 10 of these aircraft are currently operational in the Russian Navy as part of the 279th Naval Aviation Regiment.
The Su-25BM (Buksirovshchik Misheney) is a target-towing variant of the Su-25 whose development began in 1986. The prototype, designated T-8BM1, successfully flew for the first time on 22 March 1990, at Tbilisi. After completion of the test phase, the aircraft was put into production.
The Su-25BM target-tower was designed to provide towed target facilities for training ground forces and naval personnel in ground-to-air or naval surface-to-air missile systems. It is powered by an R-195 engine and equipped with an RSDN-10 long-range navigation system, an analogue of the Western LORAN system.
The Su-25T (Tankovy) is a dedicated antitank version, which has been combat-tested with notable success in Chechnya. The design of the aircraft is similar to the Su-25UB. The variant was converted to one-seater, with the rear seat replaced by additional avionics. It has all-weather and night attack capability. In addition to the full arsenal of weapons of the standard Su-25, the Su-25T can employ the KAB-500Kr TV-guided bomb and the semi-active laser-guided Kh-25ML. Its enlarged nosecone houses the Shkval optical TV and aiming system with the Prichal laser rangefinder and target designator. It can also carry Vikhr laser-guided, tube-launched missiles, which is its main antitank armament. For night operations, the low-light TV Merkuriy pod system can be carried under the fuselage. Three Su-25Ts prototypes were built in 1983–86 and 8 production aircraft were built in 1990. With the introduction of a definitive Russian Air Force Su-25 upgrade programme, in the form of Stroyevoy Modernizirovannyi, the Su-25T programme was officially canceled in 2000.
A second-generation Su-25T, the Su-25TM (also designated Su-39), has been developed with improved navigation and attack systems, and better survivability. While retaining the built-in Shkval of Su-25T, it may carry Kopyo (rus. “Spear”) radar in the container under fuselage, which is used for engaging air targets (with RVV-AE/R-77 missiles) as well as ships (with Kh-31 and Kh-35 antiship missiles). The Russian Air Force has received 8 aircraft as of 2008. Some of the improved avionics systems designed for T and TM variants have been included in the Su-25SM, an interim upgrade of the operational Russian Air Force Su-25, for improved survivability and combat capability. The Su-25TM, as an all-inclusive upgrade programme has been replaced with the “affordable” Su-25SM programme.
The Su-25SM (Stroyevoy Modernizirovannyi) is an “affordable” upgrade programme for the Su-25, conceived by the Russian Air Force in 2000. The programme stems from the attempted Su-25T and Su-25TM upgrades, which were evaluated and labeled as over-sophisticated and expensive. The SM upgrade incorporates avionics enhancements and airframe refurbishment to extend the Frogfoot’s service life by up to 500 flight hours or 5 years.
The Su-25SM’s all-new PRnK-25SM “Bars” navigation/attack suite is built around the BTsVM-90 digital computer system, originally planned for the Su-25TM upgrade programme. Navigation and attack precision provided by the new suite is three times better of the baseline Su-25 and is reported to be within 15 m (49 ft) using satellite correction and 200 m (660 ft) without it.
A new KA1-1-01 Head-Up Display (HUD) was added providing, among other things, double the field of view of the original ASP-17BTs-8 electro-optical sight. Other systems and components incorporated during the upgrade include a Multi-Function Display (MFD), RSBN-85 Short Range Aid to Navigation (SHORAN), ARK-35-1 Automatic Direction Finder (ADF), A-737-01 GPS/GLONASS Receiver, Karat-B-25 Flight Data Recorder (FDR), Berkut-1 Video Recording System (VRS), Banker-2 UHF/VHF communication radio, SO-96 Transponder and a L150 “Pastel” Radar Warning Receiver (RWR).
The R-95sh engines have been overhauled and modified with an anti-surge system installed. The system is designed to improve the resistance of the engine to ingested powders and gases during gun and rocket salvo firing.
The combination of reconditioned and new equipment, with increased automation and self-test capability has allowed for a reduction of pre- and post-flight maintenance by some 25 to 30%. Overall weight savings are around 300 kg (660 lb).
Su-25SM weapon suite has been expanded with the addition of the Vympel R-73 highly agile air-to-air missile (albeit without helmet mounted cueing and only the traditional longitudinal seeker mode) and the S-13T 130 mm rockets (carried in five-round B-13 pods) with blast-fragmentation and armour-piercing warheads. Further, the Kh-25ML and Kh-29L Weapon Employment Profiles have been significantly improved, permitting some complex missile launch scenarios to be executed, such as: firing two consecutive missiles on two different targets in a single attack pass. The GSh-30-2 autocannon (250-round magazine) has received three new reduced rate-of-fire modes: 750, 375 and 188 rounds per minute. The Su-25SM was also given new BD3-25 under-wing pylons.
The eventual procurement programme is expected to include between 100 and 130 kits, covering 60 to 70 percent of the Russian Air Force active single-seat fleet, as operated in the early 2000s. On 21 February 2012, Air Force spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik said that Russia will continue to upgrade its Su-25 attack aircraft to Su-25SM version, which has a significantly better survivability and combat effectiveness. The Russian Air Force then had over 30 Su-25SMs in service and plans to modernize about 80 Su-25s by 2020, Drik said. By March 2013, over 60 aircraft are to be upgraded. In February 2013, ten new Su-25SMs were delivered to the Air Force southern base, where operational training is being conducted. During the period 2005–2015, more than 80 aircraft were upgraded.
Since early 2014, the Guards Aviation Division Attack Aviation Regiment of the Southern Military District in the Krasnodar region received 16 advanced Su-25SMs. Nine more were delivered in 2018, eight more in early 2019 and four more in early 2020.
Since 2018, the Aerospace Forces [VKS] have been receiving Su-25SM3s, and a total of 25 aircraft have already been delivered as of June 2019. Unlike the baseline Su-25 and its incrementally upgraded variant, the Su-25SM, both of which have a rather outdated Klen-PS laser target designator in the nose, the Su-25SM3 has been upgraded with the new SOLT-25 electro-optics nose module. The SOLT-25 provides 16× zoom and features a laser range finder and target designator, thermal imager, TV channels, and the ability to track moving targets in all weather up to 8 km away. In addition, the Su-25SM3 comes with the Vitebsk-25 protection suite, which integrates a set of Zakhvat forward and rearward facing missile approach warning ultraviolet sensors, the L-150-16M Pastel radar homing and warning system, two UV-26M 50 mm chaff dispensers, and a pair of wing-mounted L-370-3S radar jamming pods. Furthermore, the Su-25SM3 has been upgraded with the new PrNK-25SM-1 Bars targeting-and-navigation system and the KSS-25 communication system with Banker-8-TM-1 antenna.
The Su-25SM3s have SVP-24 navigation and bombing aids that allow stand off precision bombing as a result of experience in Syria.
The Su-25KM (Kommercheskiy Modernizirovannyy), nicknamed “Scorpion”, is an Su-25 upgrade programme announced in early 2001 by the original manufacturer, Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing in Georgia, in partnership with Elbit Systems of Israel. The prototype aircraft made its maiden flight on 18 April 2001 at Tbilisi in full Georgian Air Force markings. The aircraft uses a standard Su-25 airframe, enhanced with advanced avionics including a glass cockpit, digital map generator, helmet-mounted display, computerised weapons system, complete mission pre-plan capability, and fully redundant backup modes. Performance enhancements include a highly accurate navigation system, pinpoint weapon delivery systems, all-weather and day/night performance, NATO compatibility, state-of-the art safety and survivability features, and advanced onboard debriefing capabilities complying with international requirements. It has the ability to use Mark 82 and Mark 83 laser-guided bombs and air-to-air missiles, the short-range Vympel R-73.
The Sukhoi Su-28 (also designated Su-25UT – Uchebno-Trenirovochnyy) is an advanced basic jet trainer, built on the basis of the Su-25UB as a private initiative by the Sukhoi Design Bureau. The Su-28 is a light aircraft designed to replace the Czechoslovak Aero L-39 Albatros. Unlike the basic Su-25UB, it lacks a weapons-control system, built-in cannon, weapons hardpoints, and engine armour.
- Su-25R (Razvedchik) – a tactical reconnaissance variant designed in 1978, but never built.
- Su-25U3 (Uchebnyy 3-myestny) – also known as the “Russian Troika”, was a three-seat basic trainer aircraft. The project was suspended in 1991 due to lack of funding.
- Su-25U (Uchebnyy) – a trainer variant of Su-25s produced in Georgia between 1996 and 1998. Three aircraft were built in total, all for the Georgian Air Force.
- Su-25M1/Su-25UBM1 – Su-25 and Su-25UB exemplars slightly modernized by Ukrainian Air Force, at least nine modernized (eight single-seat and one two-seat). Upgrades include a new navigation system, enhanced survivability, more accurate weapon delivery and other minor changes.
- Ge-31 is an ongoing Georgian program of Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing aiming at producing a renewed version of Su-25 without Russian components and parts.
Specifications (Su-25/Su-25K, late production)
|Length||15.53 m (50 ft 11 in) (including nose probe)|
|Wingspan||14.36 m (47 ft 1 in)|
|Height||4.8 m (15 ft 9 in)|
|Wing area||33.7 m2 (363 sq ft)|
|Empty weight||9,800 kg (21,605 lb)|
|Max take off weight||19,300 kg (42,549 lb)|
|Power plant (Dry thrust)||2 × Soyuz/Tumansky R-195 turbojet engine, 44.18 kN (9,930 lbf) thrust each|
|Power plant (Thrust with afterburner)|
|Maximum speed (Sea level)|
|Maximum speed (High altitude)||Mach 0.79 (975 km/h, 606 mph, 526 kn)|
|Combat radius||750 km (470 mi, 400 nmi) at sea level with 4,400 kg (9,700 lb) of ordnance and two external fuel tanks|
|Service ceiling||7,000 m (23,000 ft)|
|Rate of climb||58 m/s (11,400 ft/min)|
|Armament||– 1 × 30 mm Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-2 autocannon with 250 rounds
– SPPU-22 gun pods for 2 × 23 mm Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23 autocannons with 260 rounds
–Hardpoints: 11 hardpoints with a capacity of up to 4,400 kg (9,700 lb) of stores
|Avionics||– Phazotron Kopyo radar|
- Russian Air Force – Russia possesses a reduced fleet of Su-25s, which are operated by Attack Regiments. The major variants used are the single-seat Su-25, the twin-seat Su-25UB, and the Su-25BM target-towing version. In addition, the Russian Air Force received a small number of the Su-25T anti-tank variant, which have been tested under combat conditions in Chechnya. Overall, 286 Su-25s are in service with the Russian Air Force as of 2008. A modernisation programme of single-seat Su-25s to the Su-25SM variant is underway. The first, modernised Su-25SM was delivered in August 2001. By March 2013, over 60 Su-25SMs were scheduled to be delivered. The modernisation programme is to conclude in 2020 with over 80 examples upgraded.
- Russian Naval Aviation – the Russian Navy operates an adapted version of the Su-25UB two-seat trainer, the Su-25UTG. This is a carrier capable version used to carrier out full deck-landing training aboard the Navy’s aircraft carrier.