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
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.
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.
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.  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. 
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:
- AT-16 Vikhr ground attack
- anti-ship missiles
- a wide range of air-to-air missiles including the R-27 series, R-60, R-73 and R-77.