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Russia upgrades Su-25 assault jets - part 1

The overhaul and upgrade of Su-25 assault jets accomplished by the enterprises of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) extend their life cycle and provide new modern combat capabilities. The combat effectiveness of an upgraded Su-25SM3 increased three times, the UAC said.

Russia upgrades Su 25 assault jets Su-25SM3 Frogfoot (Picture source:

The Defense Ministry said four Su-25SM3 were supplied to the Southern Military District in April 2019. They arrived to an air unit of the 4th air force and defense army deployed in Stavropol region after flying over 800 km. "The upgraded Su-25SM3 uses a modernized guidance system and can launch missiles or release bombs at a major distance from the target even from behind the clouds. The pilot only needs exact coordinates," the district said.

The air unit in Stavropol region has to receive another batch of Su-25SM3 by the end of the year. The district began to prepare to operate the jets yet in 2013. The Defense Ministry said air commanders in Krasnodar region trained young pilots on three various Su-25 modifications, including Su-25SM3. The pilots made close to 25 sorties day and night and trained interception and air combat. They flew solo and in pairs. Experienced pilots performed aerobatics at altitudes of 150-3000 meters and a speed of 300-800 km/h, such as vertical, horizontal and inclined spins and loop. The main task was to draft a single method to train pilots to operate Su-25SM3, Su-25BM, and Su-25.

The Defense Ministry said Su-25SM3 can hit small mobile and immobile ground targets without seeing them day and night. "The aircraft is equipped with GLONASS to preset the final point on the map with a precision of ten meters," it said.

The system allows the pilots to operate independently from the ground services. A multifunctional display is installed in the cockpit.

The 121th aircraft overhaul plant (ARZ 121) in Kubinka near Moscow is a major enterprise engaged in the overhaul and upgrade of frontline aircraft and their engines. Besides Su-25, it currently overhauls Su-27 and MiG-29 and their engines.

The enterprise began to deal with Su-25 in 1999 when ARZ 301 in Tambov was closed. In March 2002 it began to upgrade Su-25 into Su-25SM. It was a major development for the plant which determined its production program for years to come. In 2005-2015 it upgraded over 80 aircraft. On December 6, 2008, the first upgraded Su-25UBM training two-seater took off from the airfield of the enterprise. It was piloted by Sukhoi test pilots Igor Votintsev and Taras Artsebarsky.

Since 2015 the enterprise has been upgrading Su-25 to Su-25SM3 option. ARZ 121 is the only plant in Russia and the CIS which simultaneously overhauls and upgrades Su-25 to Su-25SM and Su-25SM3 options. It is a priority guideline for the enterprise up to 2025.

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