|This page is about the Soviet strike aircraft Su-25T. For other versions, see Su-25 (Family).|
During the late 80s and the early 90s, a dedicated Tankovy Shturmovaya (Tank Hunter/Attacker) variant of the Su-25 was ordered. Built on the basis of the Su-25UB twin-seat trainer airframe, the rear cockpit was replaced with a larger fuel tank and a lot of new electronics. Besides the notable "hump back" shape of the fuselage, the aircraft received a lot of major upgrades under the hood. First off, the aircraft received a new fire control system and hardpoint management computer, allowing it to not only use new kinds of ordnance on its hardpoints, but also effectively manage them and even use multiple weapons on one hardpoint (primarily the APU-127-6 missile rack allowing it to use 8 Vikhr missiles on one hardpoint). The aircraft also received the Shkval and Prichal optical and laser targeting systems from the Ka-50 attack helicopter, in addition to the ability to use the Merkury and Khod external targeting pods and the Kopyo multimode radar pod. The GSh-30-02 cannon was mounted on a special hydraulic hinge allowing it to depress up to 30 degrees downwards for ground strafing runs. The countermeasures were incorporated into the tail instead of standalone dispensers in the wing-roots, and a Infra-Red Countermeasures (IRCM) system was added to the tail to confuse heat-seeking missiles trying to attain a rear-aspect lock. Finally, the engines were upgraded to account for the extra weight. The aircraft was taken out of testing and a few were deployed for combat field-testing during the First Chechen War in 1994, where they proved to be very successful in their dedicated tank hunting role. However, the Su-25T was incredibly expensive, and in the financially limited Russian Air Force of the post-Soviet era, it was too expensive to mass produce, resulting in the program being officially cancelled in 2000 with only three prototypes and eight Su-25T production aircraft built. Many of the upgrades from the Su-25T would instead be incorporated into the cheaper Su-25SM (Stroyevoy Modernizirovannyi), the "modern" Su-25 built for the Russian Air Force in the 21st century. In a last ditch effort before the cancellation of the Su-25T program, Sukhoi would (unsuccessfully) market the Su-25T for export towards foreign customers as the Su-39.
The Su-25T, introduced in Update "La Royale", is a heavily upgraded modernization of the venerable Su-25 subsonic heavy attacker. This aircraft is rather unique as it has its own bag of tricks that are rarely found on other aircraft (if at all), such as the rear-hemisphere IRCM protection system and the 9K127 Vikhr multi-purpose laser guided missiles. This aircraft is a powerful beast in mixed battles, utilizing its arsenal of TV and Laser guided weaponry, strong optics, punchy cannon, abundant countermeasures, and last-ditch IRCM protection, this aircraft will prove to be a tidal force in an uncontested sky above a ground battle. Unfortunately, unlike its predecessor, the Su-25, the Su-25T is not as well performing in dedicated air battles, due to its high battle rating where it is almost always faced with 4th generation fighter aircraft, active radar missiles, and powerful IR missiles with electronic countermeasure resistance which negate its advantage in the abundant flares and IRCM. In air battles, it is up to the pilot's situational awareness and wits to survive, and utilize the few tricks the aircraft has, such as the IRCM and the powerful R-73 air to air missile to stay alive.
The Su-25T weighs about 500 kg more than the basic Su-25 when empty due to the new electronics, but it has uprated R-195 turbojet engines than produce about 5% more thrust at full military power and have a new emergency mode that adds another 5% at the cost of rapid overheating. The overall flight performance is about the same: decent acceleration and handling for a subsonic jet but difficult to handle when weighed down with ordnance. The main issue is that the Su-25T's opposition consists of late 3rd generation and early 4th generation fighters that outperform it to an even greater margin than the basic Su-25. The only advantage it can boast of is a small turning radius because of its low speed, but the same could be said for a biplane and competent enemy pilots will know to use their enormous speed and climb advantages to prevent the Frogfoot from getting good opportunities to attack.
|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)|
|< 500||< 600||< 700||-|
|Engine name||Number||Wing loading (full fuel)|
|UMPO R-195||2||10,786 kg||434 kg/m2|
|Engine characteristics||Mass with fuel (no weapons load)|
|Weight (each)||Type||11m fuel||20m fuel||30m fuel||37m fuel|
|860 kg||Axial-flow turbojet||11,938 kg||12,857 kg||13,893 kg||14,626 kg||19,503 kg|
|Thrust to weight ratio @ 0 m (104%)|
|Condition||100%||104%||11m fuel||20m fuel||30m fuel||37m fuel||MGW|
|Stationary||3,741 kgf||3,913 kgf||0.66||0.61||0.56||0.54||0.41|
|Optimal|| 3,784 kgf
| 3,958 kgf
Survivability and armour
The Su-25T's armour layout is slightly different from the Su-25. The pilot still sits in a titanium "bathtub" and is surrounded by thick layers of bulletproof glass. There are now sheets of titanium on the sides of the nose, presumably for protecting the avionics but do not contribute much in War Thunder. The steel firewall between the engines and fuel tanks has been expanded and there is a new steel plate right behind the tail boom.
The Su-25T is the first jet in War Thunder to feature an IRCM system, which were previously only seen on helicopters. The IRCM is mounted in a pod at the base of the vertical stabilizer, and when active, will make it more difficult for IR missiles to lock onto the Frogfoot from the rear aspect.
Modifications and economy
|CCIP (Guns)||CCIP (Rockets)||CCIP (Bombs)||CCRP (Bombs)|
The Su-25T is armed with:
- 1 x 30 mm GSh-30-2 cannon, belly-mounted (200 rpg)
- 192 x countermeasures
The Su-25T features the same GSh-30-2 twin-barreled autocannon as the original Su-25. However, the cannon mount is slightly different as the gun is placed underneath the cockpit in an external gondola instead of being integrated into the nose, a result of the space required by the new targeting systems. It loses 50 rounds of ammunition, so it is important to make every shot count.
The Su-25T 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|
|500 kg KAB-500Kr bombs||1||1|
|ZB-500 incendiary bombs||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|9K127 Vikhr missiles||8||8|
|Mercury targeting pod||1|
|800 l drop tanks||1||1|
| Maximum permissible loadout weight: 4,400 kg|
Maximum permissible wing load: 2,200 kg
Maximum permissible weight imbalance: 1,500 kg
|Default weapon presets|
The Su-25T's arsenal includes just about everything in the original Su-25's arsenal (minus the small-calibre, high-capacity S-5K HEAT rockets), so the unguided bombs and rockets can be used in exactly the same way. The new and returning guided options are worth discussing in more detail.
It is helpful to carry the Mercury targeting pod when using any laser-guided air-to-ground weapons. Although it is primarily designed for NVD capabilities (no thermal optics, unfortunately) and the nose-mounted Shkval already has built-in zoom and auto-tracker systems, the Mercury system has a wider field of view from its belly placement and can look almost directly below the center of the Frogfoot, which makes it easier to keep the target locked when breaking away from a joust or incoming fire.
As could be expected of having the same targeting system as the Ka-50, the Su-25T can carry the 9K127 Vikhr ATGM in an unusual case of a fixed-wing aircraft being able to carry helicopter weapons. The Vikhr can be carried in greater numbers compared to helicopters and the speed and altitude of this launch platform helps extend the effective range somewhat. 800 mm of tandem-warhead penetration and about 5 kg of TNT equivalent are enough to dispatch both armoured and light targets alike upon direct hits. The Vikhrs of course can swat aircraft and even destroy incoming missiles because of their proximity fuses, but this does not mean that they are true air-to-air weapons. Acquiring a fast moving target with the auto tracker can be difficult and they do not have enough manoeuvrability to follow evasive manoeuvres, so in air combat they are best used in head-ons (to force opponents to break off) or when trailing slow and unaware enemies. A drawback to note is that the Vikhrs have a very small window for launch authorization.
New options are also available in the form of TV-guided weapons, as seen on the MiG-27M. The heavy Kh-29T AGM can be loaded on the inboard hardpoints. It has an enormous ~150 kg HE warhead and is fire-and-forget, so the Su-25T is completely free to break off after launch. This complements the Vikhrs well. Alternatively the same hardpoints can be used to mount the KAB-500Kr TV-guided bomb, but since they only have slightly more TNT equivalent than the Kh-29T and are unpowered (a major downside when being carried by a subsonic jet), they don't have as much utility.
The returning laser-guided Kh-25/ML and Kh-29L are far more viable than on the original Su-25 because of the advanced targeting systems. Although the Frogfoot lacks the performance for high-altitude "orbital strikes", they are fine for low-level attacks too. Amusingly, they can be used in a pinch for air combat: while lacking a proximity fuse, the semi-active laser guidance allows them to lead their targets while the Vikhr's beam riding cannot.
It may be tempting to load all of the Su-25T's hardpoints with ordnance, but because this Frogfoot really does not have any flight performance to spare, it is often more efficient to carry a lighter and less complicated loadout. A combination of Vikhrs and Kh-29Ts is enough to take down most types of ground targets while not requiring excessive micromanagement of the weapon systems. Unguided rockets are a good choice for additional firepower because they are convenient for close-in strafing attacks and can be disposed of quickly to lighten the aircraft.
For air combat, the basic R-60Ms mounted on dedicated pylons are usable but underwhelming at the Su-25T's battle rating, having low range and flare resistance. The improved R-73s are excellent IR missiles with good range, great overload, and ECCM. They are mounted on the outboard rocket/bomb pylons and allow the Frogfoot to carry 4 air-to-air missiles total with no impact on the payload of precision weapons.
Usage in battles
The Su-25T Frogfoot is best suited for ground attack in general, using similar low and fast passes. The new guided munitions are more complicated than the rocket-slinging favoured by earlier Frogfoots, but can cause more damage once the pilot gets used to the workflow of target acquisition and launch authorization. The Vikhr missiles in particular have best-in-class capacity (16x) and are unlikely to run out before the sortie ends from other factors. It's also very survivable thanks to its sturdy airframe, often shrugging off hits from MANPADS like Stingers. However in Ground RB, the Su-25T's flight performance makes it uniquely vulnerable to SAMs compared to supersonic strike aircraft; even SAMs with erratic flight profiles can catch a subsonic Frogfoot without too much trouble. Pay careful attention to the RWR. Generally it is a bad idea to engage a SAM in a head-on attack, but if there is no alternative, salvo-fire a pair of spaced Vikhrs so that one of them will hopefully intercept the missile.
In air battles, you are at a major disadvantage as aircraft you'll usually face have advanced radar missiles, along with pulse-Doppler radars. You will not outrun or catch any opponents. Two R-60Ms and two R-73s are enough to punish overconfident fighters that head-on or overshoot, but without a fighter level of flight performance, the Frogfoot cannot dictate any engagements. You can still dogfight enemies but the majority of vehicles, especially the F-14s, F-16s, and MiG-29s of top tier can still dance around you easily. At best, try to avoid confrontation, fly to the side and low, aiming for ground targets such as AAA, howitzers, and light pillboxes, or bombing bases if you can get there in time. IRCM will help prevent missile locks from the rear aspect, though it is best to use in tandem with countermeasures, as the IRCM is not guaranteed to spoof missiles, especially at close range. It is important to monitor the RWR and react when targeted by a radar missile by some combination of diving to low altitude, notching, and deploying chaff.
Pros and cons
- Slightly upgraded flight performance, with a newer engine
- Engines can be overclocked to 104 percent throttle for extra thrust
- Can equip Kh-29Ts and 9K127 Vihkr missiles for ground attack
- Powerful R-73 missiles for self-defence
- IRCM jammer that can disrupt air-to-air missiles, along with a good amount of countermeasures
- Sturdy airframe, can survive missile hits from Stingers
- Upgraded RWR, can pinpoint radar pings accurately
- Large weaponry option, with different and unique combinations
- Slow aircraft and heavy aircraft, especially with ordnance
- IRCM cannot stop missiles that have IRCCM such as Stingers
- Can overspeed and overheat the engines if not careful with the throttle
- Mediocre manoeuvrability
- Controls compress at high speeds
The Su-25T project was an attempt to create an anti-tank aircraft that would be able to operate both during the daytime and at night, equipped with targeting systems and guided munitions to defeat armored vehicles. The list of equipment for the future aircraft was formalized in 1979, it was based on the Shkval targeting and navigation system and the Mercury television sight. The prototype passed the factory tests in 1987, by 1990 the project was prepared for mass production but due to the collapse of the USSR it did not start. A small batch of completed aircraft took part in the Chechen War in 1996. After the transfer of the production base from Tbilisi, Georgia to Ulan-Ude, Russia, the project was re-focused for export. An export version with slightly different avionics was designated the Su-39. In total, three attack aircraft of this configuration were built. Due to lack of funding, the project was closed.
- From Devblog
- Related development
|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|