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During the Second World War, the Soviets pioneered the heavily armed and armored close air support aircraft with the Il-2 Shturmovik, its name taking on generic terms — so the Su-25 and its derivatives are, while jet attack planes that first flew in 1979, still are "Shturmoviks".Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many There are several derivatives, starting with a two-seat trainer version:

  • SU-25KM “Scorpion”: major avionics enhancement, glass cockpit
  • Su-39 (also known as the Su-25T or Su-25TM) based on lessons learned in the Afghanistan War (1978-1992)

The aircraft has another informal name, "Grach", or Russian for the bird "rook", known for its ability to take food from tight spots.

There is considerable similarity between the Su-25 family and the U.S. A-10 Thunderbolt II, although the A-10 is more optimized for an antitank mission. The Russian plane can land on extremely rough runways. A-10's are better armored and more tolerant of battle damage; FROGFOOTs are faster and harder to detect.[1]

The Su-25 does also have a 30mm gun, and, as the A-10 did in the Gulf War, makes heavy use of short-range air-to-surface missiles, in conjunction with a built-in low-power laser designator, and a longer-range version in a pod mount.

Su39/Su-25T variant

The Su39/Su-25T/Su-25TM took the two-seat version and replaced the second seat with more fuel and additional avionics, especially the Kopyo-25 multimode radar in a fuselage pod. This radar may allow terrain following. [2] Less gun ammunition was carried, with more missile capability. The new avionics included mission navigation/autopilot/programmed weapons release. There is an electro-optical television tracker.

An unusual weapons load found useful for attacking Afghan ground targets in a line (e.g., vehicles on a road) were wing-mounted 23mm cannon pods, up to 4 per aircraft. Their aim can be depressed through 30° up, allowing the aircraft to strafe a target simply by overflying it in level flight, or even mounting half the pods backwards, allowing the aircraft to fire backwards after overflying the target. [2]

More chaff and flares were added, as well as an IR jammer under the rudder. Armor was added to spots most often targeted by the FIM-43 Redeye and FIM-92 Stinger Range and bombload increased, and additional weapons included: