The Sukhoi Su-25 is the mainstay of Russian ground-attack regiments. The type is broadly similar, for the most part, to the US A-10 in that it was designed to provide close air support for ground forces.
The first prototype made its maiden flight on the 22nd of February 1975. The aircraft went into production in 1978.
The jet has a maximum speed of Mach 0.8 at sea level, a combat radius of 750km and 11 hardpoints with a combined capacity of 4,000kg.
The Russian Air Force currently operate around 230 Su-25 aircraft and plan on upgrading around 80 to Su-25SM standard, The Su-25SM standard is billed as an “affordable” upgrade programme for the Su-25. The programme was created due to earlier attempted upgrades being regarded as “over-sophisticated and expensive”. The SM upgrade incorporates avionics enhancements and airframe refurbishment to extend the Frogfoot’s service life by up to 500 flight hours or 5 years.
The Frogfoot has seen combat in several conflicts during its more than 30 years in service. It was heavily involved in the Soviet war in Afghanistan, flying counter-insurgency missions against the Mujahideen. The Iraqi Air Force employed Su-25s against Iran during the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War. Most were later destroyed or flown to Iran in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Abkhazian separatists used Su-25s during the Abkhazian War from 1992 to 1993. The Macedonian Air Force used Su-25s against Albanian insurgents in the 2001 Macedonia conflict and, in 2008, Georgia and Russia both used Su-25s in the Russo-Georgian War. African states, including the Ivory Coast, Chad, and Sudan have used the Su-25 in local insurgencies and civil wars.