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    Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

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    KomissarBojanchev
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    Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  KomissarBojanchev on Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:59 pm

    Although this is still a top knotch CAS for now there will be a time it will need to be retired. What do you think will be the replaced. Are there any long term plans for a replcement in development? Or will it be replaced with the LMFS or Su-50 just as the americans plan to do with their A-10s?
    If no what do you think will be the major requirements for a future CAS? Will increased performance and payload, better armor  and reduced RCS play a factor in designing a replacement or will more advanced avionics,targeting systems and ordnance be the main factor? However I'm expecting the answer will be that the Su-25 will still be a top knotch aircraft for its  role for decades to come with continuousadvances in ordnance and electronics updates and it wont ever need to be replaced.

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  TR1 on Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:10 pm

    They announced earlier this year that a "stealthy" Su-25 replacement is going to be developed before 2020.

    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/russian-air-force-to-order-su-25-replacement-372103/

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  GarryB on Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:56 pm

    Although this is still a top knotch CAS for now there will be a time it will need to be retired. What do you think will be the replaced. Are there any long term plans for a replcement in development? Or will it be replaced with the LMFS or Su-50 just as the americans plan to do with their A-10s?

    In terms of stealthy I think what they mean as a stealthy replacement for the Su-25 will not be something like the F-35 at all.

    They know that very high speed (ie supersonic) aircraft are just too fast and that the best performance comes from low and slow aircraft... though they didn't want as slow as the A-10.

    I think whatever they come up with will still be well armoured and the stealth will focus on thermal stealth and visible stealth.

    In the mean time I think they will add DIRCMs to the Su-25 to protect it from IR guided SAMs and AAMs, and I also think they will add some of the radar and EO systems that they have been fitting to their new attack helos, and associated weapons.

    I suspect they might adapt the wing pylons to allow two lots of clusters of ATGMs to be carried like Vikhr or Hermes or Krisantema. 8 to a pylon for Vikhr and Krisantema and 4 to a pylon for the much heavier Hermes.

    I also think a range of light air to ground missiles like Kh-25 could be developed with TV and IIR guidance.

    I rather suspect that a new 45mm gun based on the new weapon for the BMP could be adapted for use by the aircraft. There were plans in the 1980s for such a weapon and the Il-104 was supposed to be fitted with either a 45mm calibre weapon or a 57mm gun for anti armour use, but it was decided that the best way to deal with tanks was cluster bombs with guided anti tank munitions.

    I have seen a few models which included a forward swept wing model with two fuselages and therefore also two noses and two cockpits where one nose had a radar and the other had optics and other sensors and the large gap between the two noses joined together at the air intake and the large internal space was where the weapons were carried... internally.

    Another model... which I personally liked better had a fuselage very similar to the current Su-25 but it had a rear mounted straight wing with a single tail mounted engine with a large contra rotating pusher propeller. The wing was covered in weapon hard points and the nose had two sets of canards. The model was all black and appeared to have a hinge on the wing... suggesting a folding wing arrangement for possible naval use.

    If no what do you think will be the major requirements for a future CAS? Will increased performance and payload, better armor and reduced RCS play a factor in designing a replacement or will more advanced avionics,targeting systems and ordnance be the main factor? However I'm expecting the answer will be that the Su-25 will still be a top knotch aircraft for its role for decades to come with continuousadvances in ordnance and electronics updates and it wont ever need to be replaced.

    The Su-25 is a good aircraft, though it has shown itself to be vulnerable to MANPADS.

    To its credit it often gets the pilot home anyway, but not being hit in the first place is better than being able to take a hit.

    Having said that I wouldn't remove the armour.

    As mentioned in TR-1s post after yours they have plans for a new aircraft, but they also have plans to upgrade the existing aircraft too.

    I don't think carrying more payload or more armour would improve the aircraft in its current role.

    I do think improved targeting systems and self defence systems would make it better.

    Add the President-M self defence suite with six turrets... two on the wing tips and two on the back of the aircraft and one at the base of the tail and one under the nose... putting them on the belly they would be blocked by the ordinance. The wingtip mounts can cover the lower quadrant including threats from the ground and sides from the air and ground while the turrets on the back of the aircraft can protect from aerial threats or when the aircraft is banking, and the turrets on the tail and under the nose fill in potential gaps and give overlaps in some areas... which is also good.

    In addition to IR guided missiles of course in Georgia there were reports that the Su-25s that were lost might have been lost to BUK, which means radar guided missile protection (which president-M already achieves) but an extra jammer pod or two wouldn't hurt.

    As datalink technology is added to ground forces it needs to be added to their support units and the Su-25 is no exception. With radar and EO sensors added it would be useful for the Su-25 pilot to transmit his view in terms of a combined picture from EO, Radar, and digital map that can be transmitted to the commander on the ground, who can use this aerial composite picture so he can designate targets on the map/video/thermal image for the pilot to attack.

    Their primary focus is to support the ground forces and new weapons on the way should help them do that better with Hermes and Krisantema and possibly even Kornet-EM being very useful additions to the air to ground options.

    As I mentioned above a 45mm cannon could also be added, though they might leave that to the new aircraft to replace the Su-25 rather than as an update.


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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  KomissarBojanchev on Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:59 am

    Great thanks for the information. Smile You never stop finding little known info

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  GarryB on Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:33 am

    I should be clear... this is just my opinion, these changes are not certain.

    The Air Force has already rejected the Su-25TM upgrade which likely would have resulted in much better performance in Georgia and all the planes making it home safely.

    The cheaper Su-25SM option was taken instead.

    With the T-90AM they have also gone for the cheap option of upgrading the T-72s till the armata is ready.

    I think the difference here is that in another war with Georgia, which everyone writes off as easy beats, but the force sizes in the conflict were not that different and the armament was probably slightly in favour of the Georgians with their Israeli upgraded tanks and C4I net system and new training the two sides were very comparable, with perhaps the Georgians having the advantage in numbers.

    The main difference was that none of the Georgian soldiers wanted to die for Saakashvili, whereas much of the Russian force was volunteers from North Ossetia and Chechnia wanting to help their South Ossetian brothers.

    With fitting radar and EO turrets to helos I think adding them to their CAS aircraft makes sense, the armour was fine, but adding communication and datalink equipment to more closely tie the aircraft to the ground units they are supporting makes sense, and knowing the new weapons coming on line I would suspect enabling your main CAS aircraft to carry them too makes sense.

    I would also add that the Ugroza guidance kits for unguided rockets would also make the aircraft much much more capable. The kit for each rocket would make each rocket about three times more expensive, but it will also mean that each rocket will become accurate enough to go after targets you would previously have had to use a guided missile or an entire pod of rockets to get a hit. This means paying three times more for each rocket but only using one rocket instead of 10 or 20 makes the rockets actually much cheaper and the aircraft much more capable.

    A lot of targets on the battlefield are not hard at all, but they are small so they need a direct hit to kill.

    A good example is trucks, you take out all your enemies trucks and watch his armoured operations grind to a halt in a few hours. With guided rockets with 20 rockets in an 80mm rocket pod you can probably kill 18-20 trucks per pod, so with an Su-25 carrying 8 pods, that is 160 odd trucks and you still have two AAMs and a cannon left.

    For many ground targets an 80mm rocket would be plenty... a MG nest, a sniper position, a small bunker. A 4kg HE warhead placed with accuracy right into the middle of any of these targets will do the job and with the guidance system the rocket can be lofted at the target and therefore fired from maximum range without fear of missing, and reducing the risk of return fire.

    After the experience of Georgia they will realise that armour between the engines is great... it saves the pilot, but it also means the plane is out of action and needs to be replaced. The more expensive option of the President-M system will mean not only can the plane keep operating, but also that the sources of SAMs can be located and indicated to the pilot who can then do something about them.

    IFF also needs to be improved, and of course the ability of the pilot to communicate with the forces he is operating with and detection of targets needs work too.

    Another criticism from the pilots was that the rate of fire of the twin 30mm cannon was too high and they were ending up firing too much ammo at some light targets.

    Replacing the GSh-30 with the GSh-30K which has longer barrels with a higher muzzle velocity, but also two rates of fire... 300-400rpm in the low rate and 2,000-2,500 rpm in the high rate might be a better choice for the aircraft perhaps?

    The GSh-30 fires at 3,000-3,500 rpm only. Certainly a powerful weapon, but it seems the pilots think it is the wrong tool for the job.


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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  Vladimir79 on Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:13 pm

    They should be phased out by the 2030s. We talk about building a stealth CAS aircraft but that is unrealistic. I think Yak-130 will be converted to ground attack, it is the perfect candidate.


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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  TR1 on Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:51 pm

    Vladimir79 wrote:They should be phased out by the 2030s. We talk about building a stealth CAS aircraft but that is unrealistic. I think Yak-130 will be converted to ground attack, it is the perfect candidate.

    They specifically rejected the Yak-130 as a future ground attack platform, so I don't think that is going to happen.

    I suspect the new CAS will be a minimal risk design (like the Su-25 was), but many questions remain. What engine will be used? Surely not R-195.

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  GarryB on Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:56 am

    Yes, I remember reading about trials where the Yak-130 was used where the guy in the back actually controlled UCAVs, so they could fly at standoff distances and control the UCAVs with a direct line of sight control system to find and engage targets.

    From memory they said it worked well but that the chance of the Yak-130 being engaged meant it needed armour protection.

    Otherwise it was a good choice as it is small and light and doesn't use much fuel... and can fly at stand off distances at medium altitude away from trashfire.

    I think the main problem was lack of mature UCAVs.

    I would think that a UCAV with a weapons payload equivalent to an Su-25 and the armour to protect it from ground fire, and the sensors and datalink equipment to find targets and communicate with ground forces... well it is starting to get as expensive as an Su-25, but more vulnerable. Add President-M and you might as well move the pilot back into the aircraft...

    It is not that I have anything against UCAVs, it is just that most of the time I think manned aircraft are more effective... for now.


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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  George1 on Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:50 am

    Su-34 to replace also Su-25??

    https://sputniknews.com/military/20160915/1045349379/armored-su34-analysis.html


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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  hoom on Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:23 am

    Hmm, armored Su-34 seems a bit unlikely to me, too big a target, designed to go too fast.
    I'd have thought new-build modernised Su-25s or something like that unless Syria ops showed problems with that platform?

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  magnumcromagnon on Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:30 am

    George1 wrote:Su-34 to replace also Su-25??

    https://sputniknews.com/military/20160915/1045349379/armored-su34-analysis.html

    Something I've been advocating for the past 2 years. Technically the Su-34 can almost go completely as is to become a CAS aircraft, as it already has s serious ECM defensive suite as well as a armored cockpit that's designed to withstand 30mm cannon fire. All it really needs is it's engines to be modified to limit exhaust speed in favor of thrust. Getting rid of the supersonic ability (exhaust speed) and replacing it with greater emphasis on thrust means that both the payload and the range will be greatly increased by significant margins.

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  magnumcromagnon on Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:32 am

    hoom wrote:Hmm, armored Su-34 seems a bit unlikely to me, too big a target, designed to go too fast.
    I'd have thought new-build modernised Su-25s or something like that unless Syria ops showed problems with that platform?

    Except the Su-34 is already armored, precisely an armored cockpit that can withstand 30mm caliber fire.

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  Werewolf on Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:58 am

    magnumcromagnon wrote:
    hoom wrote:Hmm, armored Su-34 seems a bit unlikely to me, too big a target, designed to go too fast.
    I'd have thought new-build modernised Su-25s or something like that unless Syria ops showed problems with that platform?

    Except the Su-34 is already armored, precisely an armored cockpit that can withstand 30mm caliber fire.

    By battlefield requirements, the armor does not meet the standards as a CAS aircraft. It has no armor plates to isolate engines against projectiles or secondary effect like fire. It lacks explosion suppressive filler in fuel tanks, weight is to high- unnecessary technologies for the job, lack of technologies even they all exist like vitebsk.

    The necessity for this job speaks a to deep modernisation to make a (dedicated) CAS plane.

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  Flanky on Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:38 pm

    One thing that was not mentioned... Su-25 can be refuelled and rearmed with a minimum of field support tools. It can be refuelled literally by hand... It can take off from airstrips (unpaved runways on grass). So there are several key points that Su-34 lacks. With its heavy weight and doubled main gear it would have great problems taking off from airstrips. Russians with their philosophy of having rugged and warlike conditions ready hardware would certainly miss such plane... But i have seen on sputniknews couple of years ago Zelin or Bondarev (dont remember which one) telling that they are developing a plane that would substitue Su-25. However i find it very hard to believe they would toss stealth feature into the capabilities bucket for that plane.

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  Firebird on Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:41 pm

    So is the Su34 development going to form the basis of "the" new Pak Sha ie CAS aircraft?

    Or is it going to be a short term option while a Pak Sha is developed?

    I'm puzzled by the whole thing. Su34 is very fast, long airframe, v long range, aerodynamic, with a huge cabin that you can stand up in, have a pee, go to the mini kitchen etc.

    Whereas the Su25 is slower, heavily armoured, shorter and smaller. Quite a different type of plane.

    Would the Su34 based CAS be massively modified eg made to look short, squat and "muscular" or just look like a pretty regular Su34?

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  Rmf on Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:04 pm

    future cas replacements will probably be unmanned , thus ucavs , i can imagine 2 seater su-34 as ucav control center plane releasing them from belly or stinger in the rear.

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  AlfaT8 on Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:05 pm

    Dumpest thing i heard since the F-35 replacing A-10, long range heavy fighter/bombers aren't built for CAS, although there better off then fragile light stealth striker.

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  medo on Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:05 pm

    Su-34 will never replace Su-25 attack planes as it is a big fighter-bomber created for far different roles. Su-25 replacemet could be made from Yak-130 trainer. They already install SOLT-25 complex in the nose of Yak-130 and if they equip it with more powerful engines without afterburners, than they could place some armor on it and will get a jet close to Su-25.

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  marcellogo on Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:19 pm

    Here in Italy there were quite some discussion  about the topic, given that we have the the sole other NATO country having such type of planes (AMX).
    Given our past experience, that included also real fighting, we draw some conclusions about it:

    First, CAS is still an absolutely necessary mission and even if it can be performed using a wide range of assets, from UCAV to strategic bombers, a dedicated one is still the best option.
    Second: CAS is about supporting troops on terrain not about body count, so an observation pod with direct data link with both said forces than with others air assets is the first thing to have.
    Third: What differentiate a truly CAS plane from other ones are essentially three things: loitering, loitering but above all loitering.

    How a plane as Su-34 would fare in it? Above the first point, it's too big and almost in the current version it would be better used in other mission first, still in a situation like the one in Syria with a great part of everyday missions being direct support, it is actually widely used in the role.
    Second. It has a very good avionics specialized in A2G role, can carry tactical pods, self-protective devices and a good weapons load in the same time.
    About the third : it can carry a lot of fuel , use rugged runways , it is fast to come but thanks to its advanced flight pattern it has, like all flankers, a low stall speed so it  can loiter at a low speed over the battlefield i.e. the essential prerequisite for a good CAS with the only possible doubt being the  fuel consumption rate at such a speed.
    On a more tactical level we instead concluded that having a gun, even the M-61 peashooter of our AMX, is still highly useful as it can be used to make an attacking enemy squat down.
    At the contrary, we concluded that the ideas of stand offo attack using weapon like the gliding SDB from long distance simply doesn't work for lack of a "scare factor":you can even kill scores of them in such a way but if they are not made aware of a constant menace from the air they would still keep attacking your own forces on terrain and possibly overrun them.
    Modern targeting devices allow however to use even unguided ordnances like rockets , cluster bombs and even guns from enough altitude to shield a plane by AAA and most of MANPADS as the SVP-24 use has clearly showed in Syria.
    So, best option is high enough to be safe but close enough to be noticed by both the enemy and your own troops and so influence their respective tactical approach.
    In the end using Su-34 as a CAS asset is absolutely OK, it would be way better just let it not being the sole you will have.

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  hoom on Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:58 am

    stand offo attack using weapon like the gliding SDB from long distance simply doesn't work for lack of a "scare factor"
    Thats a pretty interesting point.

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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  GarryB on Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:49 am

    CAS is all about hitting targets near the front line that are a problem for front line troops.

    Flying low and slow and using direct fire weapons has been the standard up until recently.

    The Su-34 is a medium to long range strike aircraft... it is not really ideal for CAS simply because it can't operate near the front line (ie airfields) and be on station in minutes, to attack targets and loiter in the area.

    If flying a small aircraft over the front lines is not viable the next best option in my opinion would be a large aircraft like a Tu-22M3 with a huge bombload in low speed cruise at 10,000m over the front line armed with 80 odd 250kg bombs with GLONASS guidance packages fitted... when targets show themselves a bomb or two can be released to deal with the problem.

    Periodic inflight refuelling allowing the bomber to remain on station for 6-8 hours would be sufficient to allow the attack to succeed.

    Some UCAV with 50kg guided bombs could probably do the same from an altitude where the enemy wont see the target.

    A lower flying smaller drone could be used as its eyes to detect targets to guide the bombs onto...

    Regarding the base question I don't think the Su-34 could replace the Su-25... any more than the F-15E or F-35 could replace the A-10. No matter what the marketting companies would have you think.

    Of course with 70km range 152mm artillery support with guided shells air support is not so important any more.


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    Re: Future CAS aircraft / Su-25 replacement?

    Post  kopyo-21 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:21 am

    I think the idea using armored Su-34 to replace Su-25 is just of NAPO who is co-designer / producer of Su-34. They are trying to promote Su-34 to take more budget share like Irkut did with Yak-130/131 some year ago.

    IMHO, nothing can replace Su-25 perfectly as a new version of Su-25. Just using the Su-25UB airframe for single-seat version like Su-39 to accomodate more internal fuel, replace 2 engines by new durable & fuel saving turbofans, add-on cockpit armore, Vitebsk self-defense, radar absorbance surface treatment, etc.

    For sightings, using a nosed AESA radar, an under-beltly targeting pod T-220/e that is testing on Mig-35 and the SVP-24-25 mission programming & aimming complex, etc.




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