More than 50 Sukhoi Su-25s have now undergone a mid-life upgrade and modernization, bringing them to the Su-25SM standard. The attack aircraft, which is modified by the Aircraft Repair Station 121 based in Kubinka, Russia, was on display last week at the Moscow Air Show (MAKS 2011). This year, the station launched a program for the mid-life upgrade of the Su-25UB twin seaters.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD), the Su-25, which entered service in 1981, will remain operational until 2020. Its lifetime has been extended to 24 years and work continues on further extension.
The single-seat version is being upgraded to the Su-25SM standard that involves replacement of avionics to include a glass cockpit and addition of the Glonass global positioning navigation and targeting systems enabling use of modern precision-guided munitions. The initial batch of six Su-25s was accepted by the Russian air force in December 2006. According to the MoD, the Su-25’s combat effectiveness is three times that of the earlier model. The Russian air force has plans to upgrade all of its Su-25 fleet to the Su-25SM standard.
Station 121 has been doing repair and lifetime extension work on four Su-25UBs two-seaters annually. Starting later this year, the work will also include bringing the aircraft, which entered service in 1986, to an Su-25UBM standard similar to the solutions implemented on the Su-25SM.