Comparing Military Aircraft: US F-117 Stealth , A-10 Attack Planes vs. Russian Su-25 Attack Aircraft (Part 2)
A-10 can destroy at least 16 tanks with one sortie.
Although its turbofan engine performs well in the slow subsonic region, its maximum speed is low. However, it is highly efficient, has low noise, and is rated to have excellent combat persistence and provision capabilities that are better than any other attack aircraft. Its titanium armoring around and under the cockpit, which shields the pilot even in the event of a low-altitude 23mm machine gun round, is one of its distinguishing features.
The A-10 is equipped with the GAU-8 30mm machine gun, which has the most powerful machine gun weapon systems for aircraft. It has also adopted an original A-10 design technique, which is not seen in other aircraft, by mounting the machine gun slightly to the port side of the fuselage centerline. The aircraft boasts excellent turning performance in the low-altitude subsonic area and demonstrates excellent short takeoff and landing performance that allows it to be taken off and landed even at battlefield airfields. Its powerful armor capability is rated to be able to take out at least 16 tanks in a single sortie.
Despite criticisms that the A-10 does not fit the modern battlefield, it demonstrated its true value in the Gulf War and is still flying as an excellent attack aircraft. The F-35’s deployment has forced the A-10 to retire gradually in recent years. However, as the F-35 is not meant to replace the A-10, no one will be able to take its position for some time. The A-10 is regarded as a masterpiece of close-support aircraft.
Russia’s Su-25 assault aircraft is an adversary of the American one. It is the equivalent of the American A-10 in terms of air support aircraft close to ground forces. It debuted in flight in 1975, three years after the A-10 made its debut in 1972. It gained notoriety for playing an active role in the war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan. At that time, although the Su-25s were hit by man-portable surface-to-air Stinger missiles provided by the United States, in many cases, they returned safely to the base, which led to the evaluation that it was a highly resilient attack aircraft.
The Su-25 adopted the most common aerodynamic structures. The main wings are simple trapezoids on the high wing, which reduces the possibility of a stall. Five sturdy points on each side support the mounting of various weapon systems. These main wings integrate with the elliptical stress-skin body on the semi-monocoque skeleton. This design is strikingly similar to the YA-9, which competed against the A-10 in the US A-X program. Therefore, there was talk of imitation or technology leakage at one point.
Since it has to operate at low speed at low altitude, the aircraft is designed with a highly bullet-resistant titanium alloy. In particular, the cockpit area is armored to have exceptional bullet protection to withstand attacks from 20mm machine guns or 30mm high-explosive projectiles. After struggling with the attacks from the MANPAD in the Afghanistan war, constant defense improvements were made to prevent fires by attack hits.
The highly resilient “Su-25” returned safely even when being hit by an attack.
It is powered by a newer model, a compact but potent R-195 turbofan engine, which enables it to maneuver with heavy weaponry. It uses a small but powerful R-195 turbofan engine (later model), which allows it to carry powerful armaments and operate. It has the advantage of being able to run on gasoline or diesel fuel in an emergency, as well as kerosene. This is not just the Su-25 but one of the common features of Soviet-made weapons to increase operational efficiency on rough battlefields. The pilot is equipped with many sensors for striking ground targets and a DISS-7 Doppler radar, which allows flight at night or in inclement weather.
About 1,000 of them have been produced since 1978, and production continues as improvements are made. Unlike the A-10, which was used only in the United States, it has been used or is being used in over 20 countries, including those that were part of the former Soviet Union. It is also known that North Korea operates about 30 of them. Its improved models range from the Su-25K (an export model of Su-25), Su-25UB (tandem trainer), Su-25UBM (attack aircraft dual-use tandem trainer), Su-25UTG (carrier-based trainer), Su-25BM (training target aircraft), Su-25T (anti-tank specialized aircraft), Su-25SM (a modernized improved model of Su-25 equipped with GLONASS navigation equipment and GO precision strike capability), Su-28 (Su-25UB-based advanced trainer-downgraded UB type without combat equipment and weapon capability), etc.