This is the plane Russia thinks can match the A-10
The Russian Su-25 Groch, or “Rook” in Russian, and US A-10 Thunderbolt II, or “Warthog,” are similar in many ways.
They’re both heavily armored. They’re both able to execute extremely low-altitude sorties and bombing raids. And they’ve both even been described as “flying tanks.”
Production on the Su-25, which the US calls the “Frogfoot,” and the A-10 Warthog both began in the 1970s, and they’ve since been used quite extensively.
Check out how the two aircraft match up below:
Production on the Su-25 began in 1978, while the A-10 Thunderbolt II was put into production in 1972.
The Su-25 has 10mm to 25mm of armor surrounding the cockpit to protect the pilot while performing low-altitude strafes. Similarly, the A-10 Warthog has 1,200 pounds of titanium armor around the cockpit.
Su-25s generally carry 250 to 500 kilogram bombs and rockets, while the A-10 are often fitted with precision-guided munitions, like Maverick anti-tank missiles.
However, the Su-25 can only carry about 8,000 pounds of munitions, while the A-10 can carry about 16,000 pounds.
Here is a shot of a Russian mechanic loading the Su-25’s 30mm GAU-8 cannon, which can fire 2,500 to 3,000 rounds a minute.
The Su-25 also has a Gsh-30-2 30mm gun holding 260 rounds mounted under the nose. Below is a shot of the 30mm GAU-8 cannon rounds.
While the Su-25 weighs less than the A-10, it also has a much faster top speed, topping off at 600 mph. Below is a shot of it taking off.
At the same time, the Frogfoot has “shorter range and loiter time, can only operate at half the altitude.”
The Su-25 has been used extensively in Syria. In March 2016, the Frogfoot had completed more than 1,600 sorties and dropped more than 6,000 bombs in Syria in just 6 months.
The Su-25s have also been used in multiple other conflicts over the past decades, including Macedonia, Ethiopia and Sudan.
The A-10 has likewise seen combat in nearly every US conflict since the aircraft’s inception.
While the US plans to retire the A-10 Warthog in 2022, Moscow wants to continue upgrading the Su-25 for years to come.
It’s also fitted with new precision-guided weapons, such as the RBC SPBE 500-D, which is a 500 kilogram cluster bomb with an infrared-guided, anti-tank bomb that can penetrate 150mm to 160mm steel armor.
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