The Rook vs the Warthog: The su-25 and A-10 – a view from the trenches | Judgesuhov

judgesuhov (judgesuhov) wrote,
20170329 12:59:00


Few armies can afford the luxury of a stormtrooper.

For example, from NATO allies thunderbolt-2 wanted to buy Germany, England and Belgium, as well licked to it the Japanese, Koreans, and two Aussies… But in the end, arguing that it is too expensive, refused, limiting fighter-bombers and multipurpose fighters.

Owners of the su-25 much more, but if you remove from the list all the freeloaders from former allies and republics of the Soviet Union, received the plane for next to nothing from the Soviet Union… in principle – the picture is the same. Exception – Congo purchased “drying” in 1999 and the Iraq of today.

In General, even for rich countries, a specialized attack aircraft, as it turned out – very expensive. Neither the Gulf monarchies, who are accustomed to overspending on military toys, nor even the rapidly increasing power of China – these aircraft do not have. Well, China is a separate issue – there is the role of the ersatz stormtroopers can play numerous clones of the seventeenth MiGs (J-5), nineteenth (J-6) and their ilk, and human resources is almost limitless… an excess of male population must be somewhere to put it.

In General, the major armies, able to afford gunships, now in the world today, two American and our. And imagine the opposing sides, respectively, A-10 Thunderbolt II (which I in detail wrote here), and su-25.

Many are born a natural question –
“Who among them is steeper better?

The apologists of the West must say that the A-10 is cooler because he has monochromy screen in the cabin takes longer and flies farther.
Patriots will say that the su-25 is faster and more tenacious. Let’s try to consider the pros of each plane separately, and to look more closely.

But first a little history – how did both cars.

. Timeline of creation


1966 opening of the air force programs A-X (Attack eXperimental drums experimental)

March 1967 – a competition to design a relatively inexpensive armored attack. Involved 21 aircraft firm
May 1970 – flown two prototypes (YA-9A and YA-10A – finalists)
October 1972 – the beginning of the comparative tests
January 1973 – victory in the competition YA-10A from Fairchild Republic. Contracted (159 million dollars) to produce 10 pre-production aircraft.
February 1975 – flight of the first pre-production aircraft
September 1975 – first flight with gun GAU-8/A
October, 1975 – flight of the first production A-10A in
March 1976, the aircraft began to enter the army (air force base Davis-Monthan)
1977 – achieving combat readiness and the adoption of the U.S. air force


May 1968 – the beginning of the initiative design, the Sukhoi design Bureau, the adoption of the appearance of chief designer P. O. Dry. Then the aircraft still bore the name of “the aircraft of the battlefield” (SPB).
The end of 1968 beginning of purges in TSAGI
March 1969 – the competition for a light attack aircraft. Participated: T-8 (2 x AI-25T), Yak-25ЛШ, Il-42, MiG-21ЛШ
The end of 1969 – a victory T-8, the military requirement is 1200 km/h in
the Summer of 1970 – a study of the project, writing documentation
End 1971 – finalizing the form, agreed with the military about the maximum speed of 1000 km/h
January, 1972 – the consolidation of the appearance of T-8, the beginning of the layout work
September 1972 – approval of layout and set of documentation to the customer start of construction of the prototype
the Feb 1975 – first flight of the prototype (T-8-1)
Summer 1976 – updated prototypes (T-8-1D and T-8-2D) with engines R-95Ш
July 1976 – obtaining the names “su-25” and the beginning of pre-production
June 1979 – first flight of the serial car (T-8-3)
March 1981 – over ICG and the aircraft was recommended for adoption
in April 1981 – the plane began to arrive in the combat units
June 1981 – the beginning of the use of the su-25 in Afghanistan
1987 – the official adoption of the

Project SPB (the Plane of the battlefield) Sukhoi

. Compare on paper

The performance characteristics of the aircraft had to collect long and hard, because none of the source they fought.
The performance characteristics of the A-10 in Runet (with a maximum speed of 834 km/h ) – this is generally something that has origins in the old Soviet broshuru 1976. In short, as with the gun GAU-8 and weight of its projectiles, everywhere in the Internet (except for my post about it in the svbr) published incorrectly. And I figured that, considering variants of the combat load – with current mass nichrome not fought.
Therefore it was necessary to climb on sites of villains, during which I even found a 500 pageRLE manual for A-10.

271706_900 Х-25МЛ.јрд

In short the result of all this has becomeand the post about the A-10 and this label:

advantages of the “Warthog”

Radius and combat load

And indeed, the A-10 “takes” more

Maximum combat load A-10 – 7260 kg, plus ammunition cannon (1350 rounds) – 933,4 kg
Maximum combat load of the su-25 – 4400 kg, gun ammunition (250 rounds) – 340 lbs.

And flies farther:

thunderbolt 2 has a larger range, approximately 460 km with a normal load (in the missions of “direct support”) up to 800 km, the light (mission “aerial reconnaissance”).

The rook the same combat radius 250-300 km

is largely due to the fact that the engines of the thunderbolt economical.
Bench flow TF34-GE-100 – 0.37 kg/kgf·h in R-95Ш – 0.86 kg/kgf·h
fans Here of American technology caps in the air drop and happy with it, “rook two and a half times hungry”.


First, the turbofan engines of the thunderbolt (the Rook – single circuit), and secondly – the engine of the su-25 is more hardy and omnivorous (e.g., he may, instead of aviation kerosene to eat… diesel fuel), which of course, does not benefit fuel efficiency, but expands the applicability of the plane.

And also remember that fuel consumption per hour, not kilometer consumption (because the speed of the aircraft vary, and at cruising speed the same su-25 flies per hour to 190 km more).

Additional advantage the A-10 can be attributed to the existence of a system of refueling in the air, which further extends its possible range.

Refuelling from a tanker aircraft KC-135

a Separate engine nacelle

Gives advantages in the modernization of the aircraft – the new power plant the size of the nacelle is not affected, you can Vaktoth what you need. Also, perhaps this engine gives the possibility of quick replacement if damaged.

Good visibility from the cab

Form the bow of a warthog and the canopy provides the pilot a good overview, which gives better situational awareness.

But does not solve the problem finding the goals to the naked eye, such as the pilot of the su-25.

Read more about it – below.

The superiority of the “rook”

Speed and agility

Then along come the su-25.

The cruising speed of the “Warthog” (560 km/h) almost half less than the speed of “rook” (750 km/h).

Maximum, respectively – 722 km/h to 950 km/h

At vertical maneuverability, thrust-weight ratio (of 0.47 versus 0.37) and rate of climb (60 m/s to 30 m/s) su-25 is also superior to American.
At the same time in horizontal maneuverability American should be better due to the larger wing area and lower speed on the turn. While, for example, the pilots of the aerobatic team “Celestial hussars” pilot the A-10A, said turning roll more than 45 degrees from the A-10A comes with the loss of speed, which is not true of the su-25.

Test pilot, Hero of Russia Magomed Tolboev, who flew the A-10 confirms their words:

“Su-25 is more agile, he doesn’t have the limitations of the A-10. For example, our plane can completely perform complex aerobatics and “American” can’t, it has limited angles of pitch and roll angles, to fit into the canyon A-10 can’t, and the su-25 can…”


is considered that the vitality they are approximately equal. But still a “rook” is more tenacious.

In Afghanistan, the stormtroopers had to work in very harsh conditions. Besides well-known put terrorists American MANPADS “stinger”… in the mountains of Afghanistan the su-25 was met by intense fire exposure. Strelkovka, heavy machine guns, MZA… and “Rooks” are often simultaneously fired not only from below but also from the side, rear and even from above!

I would like to see the A-10 in such troubles (with it’s large cockpit with a “good view”), but not in a predominantly lowland Iraq.

Both are armored, but structurally… brancolina A-10A from titanium panels are bolted (which themselves become secondary elements of destruction with a direct hit), the su-25 – welded titanium “tub”; traction control A-10A – cable, the su-25 – Titan (in the rear fuselage of heat-resistant steel) that can withstand contact with heavy bullets. The engine is also posted in both, but the su-25 between the engines and the fuselage bronepanel, A-10 – air.

The “su-25” geometrically smaller, which reduces the chance to hit him from strelkovka and MZA.


rook less demanding on the airfield.

The length of the run/run su-25: on the concrete runway – 550/400 m (ground – 900/650 m). If necessary he can take off and land from unpaved runways (while the A-10 stated only landing on the grass).
The length of the run/mileage A-10: 1220/610 M.

Grach don’t need a special set for reloading the gun, unlike the A-10.

A special set of ALS (Ammunition Loading System) to reload the GAU-8

AND the most interesting.

Pilots of su-25 does not need a fridge with Coca-Cola! Kidding Engine “rook” R-95, which campaigns for “voracity” (poster consumption of 0.88 kg/HR versus 0.37 kg/hour at the American)… much more hardy and omnivorous. The fact that the engine of the su-25 can fill… diesel fuel!
This was done to the su-25, existing along with upcoming parts (or “airfields podskalsky”, prepared sites), could, if necessary, to refuel from the same tankers.

The cost

Price of one A-10 – 4.1 million$ in prices of 1977, or 16.25 million$ in 2014 prices (the domestic price for Americans, because the A-10 for export not been delivered).

The cost of the su-25 is difficult to determine (for a long time out of production)… is considered to be (in most sources I have seen exactly this number) that the cost of one su-25 – 3 million $ (in prices of 2000-ies).

Just met the assessment that the su-25 was four times cheaper than the A-10 (which is about to converge with the above numbers). Its offer and accept.

. A view from the trenches

If you go from paper to concrete gullies, i.e. from the comparison of the numbers to the combat reality, the picture is more interesting.

I now for many a seditious thing to say, but you do not rush to throw tomatoes, shoot – read on to the end.

Solid combat load A-10, in General meaningless. For a stormtrooper this is the “there – combed opponent – dumped“until he woke up and had not organized the defense.

The attack must hit your target with the first, max the second time. In the third and other visits by the effect of surprise is already lost, the rest of the “target” will flee, and those who don’t want to hide – prepare MANPADS, heavy machine guns and other, unpleasant for any plane pieces. But also can fly enemy fighters, called to the aid.

And for these two (well, three) visits to seven tons of payload to the A-10 is redundant, he will not have time to dump the address on the order.

A similar situation with a gun that has a huge rate of fire on paper, but allows you to only shoot in short bursts with a duration of one second (maximum – two). During one visit, the Warthog can afford one turn, and then a moment of cool guns.

Second turn, the GAU-8 is 65 shells. Two passes maximum consumption of ammunition – 130 PCs., three PCs. 195 In the end, out of ammunition, 1350 rounds 1155 remains unused shells. Even if hitting two-second bursts (flow 130 PCs / h), after three visits remains 960 shells. Even in this case, 71% (but in reality 83%) of gun ammunition in fact not needed and redundant. That is confirmed by the way the same “desert Storm”, the actual consumption of shells was $ 121 EA. for departure.
Well, okay, the stock does not pull his pocket – let’s leave him to the path of the helicopter was shot downwe need somewhere to dispose of unnecessary Americans depleted uranium 238.

Well, you say – we can not take a full combat load (for instance, the same as rook), and pour a little more fuel and even grab a couple of PTB (external fuel tanks), seriously increasing the range and stay in the air. But in a large combat radius of the A-10 lies another hitch.
BonLSI radius is unpleasant for subsonic aircraft downside. The higher the range – the farther the airfield from the scene of battle, therefore, to fly to the aid of their troops will be donwhere. Okay, if the attack at this time loitering in the area “good”… and if it is departure on an emergency request from the ground?

It’s one thing to fly 300 miles at a speed of 750 km/h (flight su-25), and quite another to fly at 1000 km (and about so much and even a little further, you can drag-And-10 with 4 tons of payload full fuel tanks and a pair of PTB) at a speed of 560 km/h. In the first case, land division, pinned down, will have to wait for the attack and 24 minutes and the second 1 hour and 47 minutes. What is called – feel the difference (with).
And the area of responsibility of the stormtroopers comrades military will “cut” the map in accordance with range. And Woe to those American Marines, their units will be on the edge of the radius.

But, we forgot that the American attack aircraft with lots of fuel (and the possibility of refueling in the air) can have a long “hang” over the front, willingness to work on call from the ground. Here, however, still remains the problem of calling from the other side of a large area of responsibility… But it may get lucky and cause guys attacked somewhere near.

Fuel and motoresurs really have to translate nothing, but it’s not the worst. There is another serious BUT. This scenario is ill-suited for war with equal opponent having front-line fighters, AWACS aircraft, long-range air defense system and over-the-horizon radar in the combat zone. With the enemy to hang over the front in the “call waiting” will not work.

It turns out that the paper seems to be a serious advantage will be virtually eliminated in real life. Capabilities the A-10 in range and combat load – appear to be superfluous. It’s like hammering a nail (the destruction of important point target on the front)the microscope… You can take a normal hammer (su-25), and can be a sledgehammer (A-10). The result is the same, and the labor costs above.

In this case, all should remember that the su-25 is much cheaper. For the price of one A-10 can buy 4 su-25, which can be close the same (if not greater) area of responsibility, with a much higher response rate.

Now, let’s think about that for a stormtrooper the most important.

Attack should a) quickly and accurately hit the target, b) to get out of the fire alive.

On the first point, both aircraft have problems (and even in their present modifications of the A-10C and su-25SM). Without the prior quality of targeting from the ground or a drone to detect and hit the target the first approach is often impossible.

And compare the us A-10A and su-25 it’s all even worse because the normal sighting system was not (on this and the problems faced in Iraq here).

No opto-electronic sight (for missiles with TV guidance pilot A-10 carried out the search purpose on the monochrome screen and poor resolution via the homing missiles with a narrow field of view), nor radar attack aircraft did not carry. However “rook” at the same time had a laser rangefinder-designator “Klen-PS”, which can use guided missiles “air-surface” with laser homing (S-25L, KH-25ML, KH-29L). “Warthog” is the laser-guided bombs could be used only when the external illumination purposes, laser.

Start of the guided missile KH-25ML with su-25

On the second point (“to get out of the fire alive”) advantage by far the su-25. First, due to the higher survivability. And secondly, due to much higher top speed and better acceleration characteristics.

And now, for example, the su-25СМ3 we also installed a complex individual defense “Vitebsk”.

. Different approach

While writing this article, I remembered one episode from the movie “Snatch”.

In this case, a more healthy and heavy A-10A (with the fatal blow™) I is strongly associated with luxury George, a small and wiry Gypsy Mickey with su-25.

Like the aircraft of the same class, and begin to understand and realize that in fact cars are very different. And differences due to their different approach and concepts.

The thunderbolt is rather so safe flying “tank fighter” imprisoned for a long time in the air and free hunting. Powerful and heavy-duty, tamusi a load of ammunition at all occasions. His set of weapons (heavy-duty gun GAU-8/A and guided missiles AGM-65 “Maverick”) in the first place was “locked” in the attack tanks, for leveling the Soviet tank advantage on the ground (emerging in late 60’s and took shape in the 70-ies of XX century), then in direct support of troops.

“Rook” was created as a workhorse for bombing. Tough, cheap and hardy aircraft for the war that was supposed to solve the problem of supporting ground troops “cheap and cheerful”, coming as close as possible to the enemy and treating it with bombs, rockets and the gun… And in some cases missiles with laser seeker to destroy point targets.

As you can see today – the idea of “the plane around the gun” was not justified (especially considering that the vast majority of purposes A-10A destroyed missiles “Maverick”), and in the next modification of the A-10C is gone on high, having received the impact of the containers as “eyes” and precision weapons as the “long arm” and saving the atavism in the form of guns and armor.

And the concept of remote war and the reduction of losses actually forced him out “storm troopers” in a niche of fighter-bombers, what is in my opinion largely due to its current problems. Although sometimes Warthog “into her old ways” and irons ground targets (preferably paresthesiae)… but still, it seems that the Americans seriously intend to do is bury the attack.

Our well abandon the su-25 did not intend. Not so long ago was opened by the level “Hornet” new promising attack, and then talking about the program of PAK SHA. However in the end, having studied the possibilities of the modernized su-25СМ3, military sort of decided to abandon the new platform, and squeeze to dry the potential of the old su-25, upgrading all of the remaining in force of the machine on the program CM3.May be even the production of the su-25 would be launched again if the production plant was left after the collapse of the USSR in Georgia, and Ulan-Ude aviation plant (producing at the time, su-25UB, su-25UTG and plan to release a su-25TM) production of the su-25 has turned.

Despite sounding periodically delusional thoughts to replace the su-25 is a light attack aircraft based on Yak-130 – our military from stormtroopers are going to give up. And God willing, soon we will see the replacement of the good old rook.

No matter how you try military visionaries to save the battlefield from an ordinary soldier… while the onset of these times to be seen. No, in some cases, you can fight robots, but this solution is very “niche” and not for serious war.

In a large-scale war with a comparable enemy, all these today’s expensive whistles perdelki quickly fading. For the one who will strike with precision missiles/bombs price $ 100,000 higher Border costs 50,000 rubles and 60 man-hours caboti – is doomed. For all the talk about precision weapons, replace the stormtroopers on drones, aircraft of the 6th, 7th and 8th generation “network-centric warfare” and other joys of the serious and large-scale mess quick stop.But on the field of battle will again have to return to the attack aircraft, seats in the booths that will have to take Ivan da John…


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