(From the National Interest)
By Dave Majumdar
The Russian air force is set to begin operational testing of its upgraded Sukhoi Su-25SM3 Frogfoot close air support aircraft this April.
Assuming the modernized jets are approved for fielding, the first operational Su-25SM3 aircraft are expected to enter service before the end of the year. The Russian air force is expected to upgrade more than forty Su-25s at the 121th Aircraft Repair Plant in Kubinka—just outside Moscow.
“Comprehensive testing of Su-25SM3 will begin in April of this year,” a Russian Aerospace Forces official told the Russian-language daily Izvestia. “We expect that the first modernized attack aircraft will arrive in troops before the end of this year.”
The modernized Su-25SM3 incorporates a host of sensor and defensive systems upgrades that the Russian military hopes will enable the flying tank to operate over the modern battlefield. Central to the modernization package is the Vitebskdefensive avionics suite, which was developed by the Samara Research Institute.
The Vitebsk incorporates a radar warning receiver, ultraviolet missile warning system and a powerful jamming suite. According to sources cited by Izvestia, the defensive countermeasures suite incorporates not only a radar jammer, but also a system to blind infrared-guided missiles—similar to the Northrop Grumman Common Infrared Countermeasures suite—in addition to flares. The system is designed to protect the Su-25SM3 from everything from man-portable Stinger missiles to Patriot missile batteries. Read more