Hobby Master HA6105 Russian Sukhoi Su-25SM "Frogfoot" Ground Attack Aircraft - "Red 06", Ramenskoye (Zhukovsky), Russia, August 2012 (1:72 Scale)
"The implications of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan could pose the most serious threat to the peace since the Second World War. The vast majority of nations on Earth have condemned this latest Soviet attempt to extend its colonial domination of others and have demanded the immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops. The Moslem world is especially and justifiably outraged by this aggression against an Islamic people."
- US President Jimmy Carter, in his State of the Union address before Congress, January 23rd, 1980
The Sukhoi Su-25 (NATO reporting name: "Frogfoot") is a single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft developed in the Soviet Union by the Sukhoi Design Bureau. It was designed to provide close air support for the Soviet Ground Forces. The first prototype made its maiden flight on 22 February 1975. After testing, the aircraft went into series production in 1978 at Tbilisi in the Soviet Republic of Georgia. Russian air and ground forces nicknamed it "Grach" ("Rook").
Early variants included the Su-25UB two-seat trainer, the Su-25BM for target-towing, and the Su-25K for export customers. Some aircraft are being upgraded to version Su-25SM as of 2012. The Su-25T and the Su-25TM (also known as Su-39) were further developments, not produced in numbers. The Su-25, along with the Su-34, were the only armoured fixed-wing aircraft in production in 2007. Su-25 is in service with Russia, other CIS states, and export customers.
The Su-25 has seen combat in several conflicts during its more than 25 years in service. It was heavily involved in the Soviet war in Afghanistan, flying counter-insurgency missions against the Mujahideen. The Iraqi Air Force employed Su-25s against Iran during the 198089 IranIraq War. Most were later destroyed or fled to Iran in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Abkhazian separatists used Su-25s in 1993 against Georgians during the Abkhazian War. The Macedonian Air Force used Su-25s against Albanian insurgents in the 2001 Macedonia conflict and, in 2008, Georgia and Russia both used Su-25s in the Russo-Georgian War. African states, including the Ivory Coast, Chad, and Sudan have used the Su-25 in local insurgencies and civil wars.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a Russian Sukhoi Su-25SM "Frogfoot" ground attack aircraft then deployed to Ramenskoye (Zhukovsky), Russia, during August 2012.
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Historical Account: "Upgrade" - The Su-25SM (Stroyevoy Modernizirovannyi) is an "affordable" upgrade program for the Su-25, conceived by the Russian Air Force in 2000. The program 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 air frame refurbishment to extend the Frogfoot's service life by up to 500 flight hours or five 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 program. 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 armor-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 auto-cannon (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 program 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 February 21st, 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 and eight more in early 2019.
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 16x 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.