The upgraded Su-25 strike-fighter is undergoing flight testing. Its serial production will be started in December 2012 and it will receive a new designation, Izvestiya reports.
The lessons learned during the war in Transcaucasia in 2008 were taken into account during upgrading of Su-25. «Su-25SM aircraft have been taking part in this war and three of them have been lost. The vulnerabilities of the strike-fighter have been found out, for example, the jet does not have a tactical EW suite able to countervail the advanced antiaircraft defenses and fighters. In addition, Su-25 is still using only unguided aircraft-launched missiles and general-purpose bombs. There is a possibility of using guided Kh-25 and Kh-29 missiles, but Su-25’s weapon-aiming system does not meet the advanced requirements», - a source from the air force command said.
According to him, Su-25 and Su-25SM jets are limited in capabilities under conditions of severe weather and at night. In addition, both aircraft are unable to use bombs adjusted by GLONASS. The experience gained during modern conflicts (for example in Libya) shows that the jet must hit targets without entering the area of coverage of the enemy air defense systems, using high-precision weapons under any weather and lighting conditions.
The upgraded Su-25 is equipped with advanced tactical EW suite “Vitebsk-25” developed by Ekran (Samara). The jet is also equipped with the weapon-aiming system allowing usage of Kh-29 guided missiles and KAB-KR aircraft controlled bombs with television guidance. The image from the homing head is transmitted to the display located in the cockpit.
Besides new tactical EW suite and weapon-aiming system, the upgraded Su-25 is equipped with new encrypted communications system with a range of 1000 km. It helps integrate all the jet’s electronic equipment into a single automatic troop command system.
The navigation system has also been updated. Its key component is the receiver, which is able to surpass active and passive jamming using GPS-GLONASS channel. The jet will also be fitted with electro-optical thermal imagery camera, which is backing up the work of optical and radioelectronic search and homing systems.