In the vicinity of Volokhiv Yar, in the Kharkiv region, Ukrainian forces claimed to have shot down a Russian Su-25SM3 “flying tank” using a shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile.
Videos and details on the downing of a Russian Su-25SM3 “flying tank” in Kharkiv were shared by Ukrainian media. The team was looking for the Ukrainian army when a pair of Su-25SM3 attack aircraft suddenly entered the area. They were flying at a very low altitude to launch an attack on the Ukrainian army. Anti-aircraft man-portable missiles are available in Ukraine. The Ukrainian side opened fire as soon as the pair of Russian Su-25SM3s entered range, taking out one of these two aircraft (Image of the Su-25SM3 hit by a bullet and burned to the ground)
The Su-25SM3 aircraft is flying at a very low level, therefore even while it is now known that the pilot was unable to eject from the crashed aircraft, it cannot be ruled out that the pilot may still be alive. Instead of making just one or two journeys like the Su-34 attack, the Russian Air Force can conduct continuous operations every day on the Ukrainian battlefield thanks to the Su-25SM3’s small size and low operational expenses. Russian military analyst Dmitry Litovkin previously stated that “a small strike squadron is often more effective than planes carrying tonnes of bombs, especially when it comes to hitting terrorists sheltering in bunkers.”
The most recent type of the well-known Su-25 attack series created by the Soviet Union is the Su-25SM3, which features numerous cutting-edge sensors and protection systems. The improvements enable this Su-25SM3 attack aircraft, also known as a “flying tank,” to demonstrate its strength on contemporary battlefields. The Su-25SM3 measures 15.35 metres in length, 5.2 metres in height, and 14.52 metres in width. The Su-25SM3 can lift more than 17 tonnes as its maximum takeoff weight.
This assault has two turbojet engines, a maximum flight speed of 950 km/h, and a 1,000 km range.
A Su-25SM3 with an external fuel tank has a range of 1,850 kilometres. The SVP-24 targeting system for the Su-25SM3 was fitted by the Russian Air Force in terms of the electronic system. Using the GLONASS global satellite navigation system, the SVP-24 system continuously calculates the distance between the aircraft and the target. These systems collect additional data from early warning aircraft, headquarters, and other aircraft in addition to measuring environmental variables including pressure, humidity, and wind speed.
Bombs without guidance systems will be dropped at the proper moment to hit the target with an error of less than 5 m if pilots merely control the aircraft according to the SVP-24 criteria. The Su-25SM3 model has both the SVP-24 and a SOLT-25 optical-electronic navigation and aiming system, enabling it to function day and night and in any weather. “The SOLT-25 complex includes a laser rangefinder, a thermal imaging camera, and an optical-electronic aiming system. Despite the fog and heavy rain, it can search for and track numerous objects including soldiers, armoured vehicles, and bunkers “according to Russian Academy of Military Sciences Professor Vadim Kozulin
The Vitbsk electronic defensive complex, created by the Samara Research Institute, is a crucial component of the Su-25SM3 upgrade package that also improves assault accuracy. A strong jammer, an ultraviolet sensor cluster to detect approaching missiles (MAWS), and an early warning radar make up Vitbsk. The creator of this defensive complex claims that it contains a mechanism for blinding infrared missiles in addition to jamming radar. According to the Russian side, the Vitbsk system (shown) is made to defend the Su-25SM3 attack aircraft against a variety of battlefield threats, including the FIM-92 Stinger man-portable missile and the contemporary Patriot PAC-3 missile.
Radars pointed towards the aircraft can also be automatically recognised and precisely located by the Vitbsk system. In order to support the Su-25SM3 attack with anti-radar missiles like the Kh-25MPU and Kh-58, warning data will be loaded into the computer and transformed into target characteristics. If the Su-25SM3 decides not to strike, they can send information to other aircraft to disable an opponent’s air defence system. Additionally, radar irradiation warning and L-15-16M electronic reconnaissance are available on Su-25SM3 aircraft. The Su-25SM3 can supply parameters for missiles utilising passive detectors like the R-27P/ EP thanks to this system’s ability to both receive signals from ground radar and identify radar signals from adversarial aircraft.
The Su-25SM3 has a wide variety of weapons in its arsenal, including surface-to-surface missiles, rockets, and rapid-fire artillery. Of the more than 250 Su-25s that have been upgraded to the Su-25M3 standard, around a third are now owned by Russia. In particular, the Su-25SM3 has shown to be a “long-lived” aircraft when used in the Ukrainian War. Despite some Su-25SM3s having an engine disabled due to Ukrainian air defence fire, the pilot was still able to manoeuvre them so they could land without incident. More than 200 fighter jets of all types, including some Russian Su-25SM3s, are said to have been shot down by the Ukrainian side, but Moscow has not yet responded to this.