Su-25 – most successful close air support jet is helping Ukraine – Technology Org

The Sukhoi Su-25 is one of the most successful attack (close air support) jets in the world. It was developed back in the 1970s in the USSR, took off for its maiden flight in 1975, and began service in 1981. More than a thousand Su-25 planes were produced. Now both Ukrainian and Russian forces are using Su-25s and the world is reminded once again why this aircraft is so popular.

Sukhoi Su-25 - a very important and highly versatile close air support jet.

Sukhoi Su-25 – a very important and highly versatile close air support jet. Image credit: Дмитрий Муравский, Ministry of Defense of Ukraine via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Sukhoi Su-25 is used by more than 30 countries. This aircraft has been tested by fire in Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, and many other armed conflicts. It is probably the most popular close air support jet in the world. Partly because the US never exported its Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II.

What is the Su-25?

The Sukhoi Su-25 is 15.53 meters long and has a wingspan of 14.36 metres. It weighs 9.8 tons empty, but with fuel and weapons, it can be as heavy as 19.3 tons.

Su-25 has a powerful armament suite that includes one automatic 30 mm cannon, two automatic 23 mm cannons, and 11 hardpoints for various missiles and bombs. Most of the weapons, of course, are for attacking ground targets, but the Su-25 also carries several air-to-air missiles for self-defense.

The Su-25 is a very maneuverable aircraft, but, obviously, much slower than supersonic fighters. This is not accidental – the Su-25 must be able to fly at low speeds in order to effectively attack targets on the ground. The maximum speed of the Su-25 is around 975 km/h.

Su-25 can be used for reconnaissance, close air support, and attacking enemy tanks and other equipment. The Su-25 is far from a STEALTH plane, but you’ve seen videos of low-flying Su-25s evading radar and air-defense systems:

The Sukhoi Su-25 has various protective measures designed to increase the survivability of the pilot and the aircraft itself:

  • an electronic protection system that emits electromagnetic signals that disrupt guided missiles;
  • IR-trace masking system;
  • a titanium cockpit, somewhat reminiscent of a bathtub, which protects the pilot from machine gun fire;
  • threat recognition system.

The Su-25 is a well-protected aircraft designed to operate in close proximity to the enemy, but the war in Ukraine has shown that such aircraft are very vulnerable – they are often shot down by mobile shoulder-launched missiles (MANPADS). In this case, the pilot has to be ejected.

The Sukhoi Su-25 can operate in different climates, is easy to maintain, and does not require particularly well-developed infrastructure.

It is not clear how many Su-25s Ukraine has. At one time in history, there were 90-95 of them in the Ukrainian forces, but most of them were unusable. Others were being modernized. But it is clear that Ukraine still has them and still uses them.

Sources: , Wikipedia

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