|This page is about the Soviet strike aircraft Su-25. For other versions, see Su-25 (Family).|
The Su-25 is an attack aircraft developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s. The Su-25, often compared to the american A-10 Thunderbolt II, is meant to offer ground attack and close air support to ground units. The Su-25 has been seen in different variants, some of the most known ones being the Su-25UB, a two seat trainer, the Su-25K, export variant, Su-25T, anti tank version, and Su-25SM, which was planned to be the variant used by the modern Russian Air Force, but due to funding limitations upgrade plans have been unsatisfactory. The Su-25 has been in several wars, including the War in Afghanistan, the Chechen Wars, and the 2008 Russo–Georgian war.
Introduced in Update "Drone Age", the Su-25 "Grach" (NATO reporting name: Frogfoot) is a famous attack jet, often considered a spiritual successor to the IL-2 and the Soviet equivalent of the American A-10 Thunderbolt II. Like the Warthog, the Su-25 has wide, spindly wings with plenty of hardpoints, significant armour protection for the pilot, and a powerful 30 mm cannon in the fuselage that will shred light targets and unlucky aircraft alike. The two are rather different otherwise: the Grach is less manoeuvrable but has much better speed and climb and its precision weapons use laser guidance instead of TV. While it will have a hard time tangling with enemy fighters in an even engagement, with all-aspect R-60M missiles and a massive supply of large-calibre countermeasures, the Su-25 should not be disregarded in air combat. In its intended role of ground attack, it can lay waste to enemy vehicles with a variety of high-explosive ordnance.
|Characteristics|| Max speed
(km/h at 1,000 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear||Drogue chute|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< ___||< ___||< ___||N/A|
|Engine name||Number||Wing loading (full fuel)|
|UMPO R-95SH||2||10,236 kg||___ kg/m2|
|Engine characteristics||Mass with fuel (no weapons load)|
|Weight (each)||Type||8m fuel||20m fuel||29m fuel|
|990 kg||Axial-flow turbojet||11,106 kg||12,210 kg||13,136 kg||17,678 kg|
|Thrust to weight ratio @ 0 m (100%)|
|Condition||100%||WEP||8m fuel||20m fuel||29m fuel||MGW|
|Optimal|| 3,608 kgf
Survivability and armour
The Su-25 is known for its survivability, anecdotally being able to take a few missile hits without suffering any damage compromising its airworthiness, though this ability is inconsistent and should not be relied upon.
256 flares/chaff launched two of each at a time provide the Su-25 with the chance to evade missiles, which should be the primary form of defense. A lack of afterburner increases flare effectiveness, only very modern missiles such as aim-9L are able to track the aircraft from behind.
Chaff only defends against radar locks from behind the aircraft. Sometimes enemy radar-guided missiles can be shot down with R-60M, allowing the Su-25 to engage surface-to-air missile systems in a head-on such as FlaRakPz1, XM975, Roland 1, and Lvrbv 701, as they only have two missiles each.
The aircraft remains somewhat controllable upon loss of tail control, wingtips, or an engine.
The fuel tanks are self-sealing.
The aircraft has an engine fire extinguishing system, unlockable as a modification.
Modifications and economy
|CCIP (Guns)||CCIP (Rockets)||CCIP (Bombs)||CCRP (Bombs)|
The Su-25 is armed with:
- A choice between two presets:
- 1 x 30 mm GSh-30-2 cannon, chin-mounted (250 rpg)
- 1 x 30 mm GSh-30-2 cannon + 256 x countermeasures
The GSh-30-2 dual-barreled cannon is essentially a scaled up version of the GSh-23 used by MiG-21s and MiG-23s. Soviet helicopter pilots may have seen a long barreled variant on the Mi-24P attack helicopter. It has a great rate of fire with no spool-up and will rip any aircraft it touches to shreds. Against ground targets, it is effective at shredding SPAAs and IFVs, but MBTs will typically require steep top-down approaches that are not easy to achieve in a heavy subsonic aircraft. The GSh-30-2 is less powerful than the A-10's GAU-8 Avenger gatling gun and has a much smaller ammunition supply, but as a backup weapon for when missiles or rockets are spent, it is more than adequate.
The Su-25 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
|23 mm GSh-23L cannons (250 rpg)||1||1||1||1|
|100 kg OFAB-100 bombs||4||4||4||4||4||4||4||4|
|250 kg OFAB-250sv bombs||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|250 kg OFAB-250Sh bombs||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|500 kg FAB-500M-62 bombs||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|500 kg FAB-500Sh bombs||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|ZB-500 incendiary bombs||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|800 l drop tanks||1||1|
|Maximum permissible weight imbalance: 1,500 kg|
|Default weapon presets|
The Su-25 has a very large arsenal and loadouts can be customized to personal taste.
For air-to-air combat, the R-60 and R-60M missiles are available. The "Aphids" are highly manoeuvrable and have a short minimum range, but they are very prone to flares and their small warhead can sometimes feel lacking against durable opponents like the A-10. The R-60M is all-aspect and should always be selected once unlocked. The capacity of two is enough for self defense but will necessitate frequent returns to the base.
Unguided bombs of many varieties (standard, high-drag, incendiary) can be selected and the maximum bombload of 4 tons is impressive by Soviet standards (although not at the level of the American fighter-bombers like the F-4C). With a full-fledged ballistic computer offering CCIP and CCRP for bombs, it's easy to deliver them accurately. In Ground RB, the CCRP is especially helpful for flying at treetop level to avoid SAMs and popping up to toss bombs at capture points or enemy spawns.
A record of 5 types of unguided rockets are available. Soviet helicopter pilots may be familiar with the S-5K and S-8KO HEAT rockets, which can be fired in huge swarms but have limited stopping power against MBTs with composite armour; the S-5K in particular is quite obsolete at the Su-25's battle rating and may even have trouble against side armour at times.
The three flavours of HE rockets are much more effective. The S-13OF is a 122 mm podded rocket that has enough TNT equivalent to destroy light targets easily, even through splash damage, and can still knock out MBTs with direct hits and a bit of luck. The 240 mm S-24B bunker-buster is a well known fixture in the Soviet arsenal, but they are now upstaged by the massive 340 mm S-25 rocket. The best S-25O variant (the OF and OFM should be disregarded) contains 58 kg of TNT, nearly as much as the Tiny Tim, and makes most rockets look like firecrackers. With a maximum flight speed of 555 m/s, the S-25O can be slung at targets from standoff distances with CCIP and still make a huge mess upon impact. Generally, the choice of rockets should be a mix between the S-13OF (capacity) and S-25 (sheer power).
The Su-25 has a number of precision weapons as well, owing to the Klen-PS laser rangefinder/designation system in its nose. The Kh-25ML ("Karen") and Kh-29L ("Kedge") are laser-guided air-to-ground missiles with high speed and very large HE warheads. The S-25L is a laser-guided version of the S-25 with a launch range of 7 km, but unfortunately the TNT equivalent of 20 kg is a shadow of the S-25O's glory and it has a harder time manoeuvring than a true missile. While these weapons are long-ranged and pack a punch, the main issue is the primitive nature of the Klen-PS system, similar to the challenges of the Su-17/22 family and the MiG-27M. It has a poor optical zoom (with no TV camera, the pilot is left only with the view through the cockpit), so spotting tanks at the distances where the full range and accuracy of laser-guided weapons would be useful is difficult, and does not have an auto-tracker, so hitting moving targets is a big challenge. The limited field of view also forces the Su-25 to essentially joust at whatever it is aiming at, a poor idea when the airspace is contested or SAMs are on the field. Thus, these weapons are situational and many pilots will prefer unguided rockets instead.
Usage in battles
The Su-25 is best suited for low altitude attack runs on enemy ground units. Its multitude of air-to-ground weapons as well as its good survivability allow it to perform CAS role in Ground Realistic Battles very well. However, like the A-10, it needs some finesse in its operation, as it is outperformed by contemporary fighters and can be sent back to the hangar by a good SAM operator if the pilot is not careful. If there are no significant threats around, the Su-25 can fly at medium altitudes, look for targets, and lob HE rockets at them with ease. Otherwise, it is best to maintain a low profile and circle around the battlefield at lower altitudes to better avoid detection from SAMs and enemy fighters. A pair of R-60Ms can effectively dispatch enemy aircraft in sneak attacks, but evicting enemy SAM operators is a more difficult question. The simplest option is to determine where they are located, which in most cases will be the enemy spawn, and figure out an approach that will allow for a sneak attack; a single S-25O landing in the neighbourhood of a SPAA vehicle will usually knock it out of commission. If reliable teammates are available, the laser-guided missiles have some utility. Active scouting and drone target designation will allow the Su-25 to see the location of enemy SAMs and begin a high-altitude missile joust with a Kh-25 or Kh-29 at safer distances, and if the S-25O's 58 kg of TNT was impressive, the Karen/Kedge's 100+ kg of TNT are nothing short of spectacular. Make good use of the Su-25's massive countermeasure capacity, as these are high-calibre countermeasures with strong effects. It should be difficult for enemies to obtain radar or IR locks on the Frogfoot.
In Air Realistic Battles, it still is a force to be reckoned with in terms of ground attack, being able to erase a huge chunk of enemy points if left alone. The large quantity of unguided rockets allows for mass destruction of most ground targets. Additionally, the GSh-30-2 cannon will easily rip through light, medium and heavy tanks from the sides or the rear, the same applies to light pillboxes if aimed at the top. The aircraft can also use its bombs for striking strategic bombing points. In terms of air-to-air combat, the Su-25 can utilize its excellent R-60M missiles for self-defence, being able to lock onto incoming enemy planes from any direction. Keep in mind that as long as you maintain your speed, you might keep up in a dogfight with an opponent but after a few turns the aircraft will bleed a lot of speed and become very sluggish.
Pros and cons
- Effective offensive armament, the GSh-30-2 cannon has very high shell velocity and good hitting power
- Well armoured airframe, can survive a lot of damage
- Decent acceleration
- Access to all-aspect R-60M missiles with great tracking
- Generous amount of countermeasures
- Wide array of suspended armament and possibility to create custom loadouts
- Low max speed
- Big aircraft, easy to hit
- Large turn radius
- Compression at higher speeds
- Can rip its wings in level flight if not careful and in sustained high speed turns
After realizing that current supersonic attacks with planes like the Su-7, Su-17, MiG-21, and MiG-23 were not capable of precisely attacking ground forces at high speeds. The Soviet Ministry of Defense started developing a new dedicated attack aircraft meant to operate close to the ground forces and stay alive. The development contract was given to the designer Sukhoi, with the aircraft making its first flight in 1972 and entering production in 1978.
The chosen configuration was a two engine, single seat attacker with big wings for more stable flight at low-medium altitudes. Several early variants of the plane appeared, like the Su-25UB training aircraft. A small number of the Su-25UTGs were produced, modified to land on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier. More modern variants were produced, including the Su-25T and Su-25TM (aka Su-39), specially designed to be used in anti-tank duties, with improved guidance systems, avionics, and electronic equipment. It was planned to upgrade all old Su-25s in the Russian Air Force to a new standard, the Su-25SM, which included better navigation systems, improved engine, more capable loadouts and better survivability, but it was cancelled due to lack of funding.
The aircraft had good results in the international market, being used by several countries to this day. It had its baptism of fire in the Soviet War in Afghanistan, being used to destroy fortified positions controlled by Afghan rebels. A total of 50 aircraft were deployed, with more than 60,000 sorties and 21 losses by the end of the war. In the Persian Gulf War, the Su-25 had very poor performance; since it needed air superiority to be deployed, most Iraqi Su-25s stayed on the ground, since most of the time they were intercepted and destroyed by coalition fighters. During the Chechen Wars, the Su-25s had mixed performance, in the first war, the Su-25s had very few losses and were capable of wiping out many Chechen aircraft while they were still on the ground. However, during the second war, more units were lost, mainly due to MANPADS with up to 7 aircraft being lost during the conflict. It has seen several more conflicts, and is still a very important asset in the arsenal of many nations for CAS duties.
|Sukhoi Design Bureau (Сухого Опытное конструкторское бюро)|
|Jet fighters||Su-9 · Su-11|
|Su-2||BB-1 · Su-2 (M-82) · Su-2 MV-5 · Su-2 TSS-1|
|Su-6||Su-6 · Su-6 (AM-42) · Su-6 (M-71F)|
|Su-7||Su-7B · Su-7BKL · Su-7BMK|
|Su-17||Su-17M2 · Su-17M4 · Su-22M3|
|Su-25||Su-25 · Su-25BM · Su-25K · Su-25T · Su-39|
|Export||◊Su-22UM3K · ◊Su-22M4|
|USSR jet aircraft|
|Yakovlev||Yak-15 · Yak-15P · Yak-17 · Yak-23 · Yak-28B · Yak-30D · Yak-38 · Yak-38M · Yak-141|
|Mikoyan-Gurevich||MiG-9 · MiG-9 (l) · MiG-15 · MiG-15bis · MiG-15bis ISH · MiG-17 · MiG-17AS · MiG-19PT|
|MiG-21F-13 · MiG-21PFM · MiG-21S (R-13-300) · MiG-21SMT · MiG-21bis|
|MiG-23M · MiG-23ML · MiG-23MLD · MiG-27M · MiG-27K|
|MiG-29 · MiG-29SMT|
|Lavochkin||La-174 · La-15 · La-200|
|Sukhoi||Su-9 · Su-11|
|Su-7B · Su-7BKL · Su-7BMK · Su-17M2 · Su-17M4 · Su-22M3|
|Su-25 · Su-25BM · Su-25K · Su-25T · Su-39|
|Ilyushin||IL-28 · IL-28Sh|