Defense Express on the basis of the analysis of open data made a very interesting conclusion. It seems that Ukraine received Su-25 front-line attack aircraft under the guise of “spare parts”. In fact, the planes could come from Bulgaria and Georgia.
This almost detective story begins on April 19, 2022, when Pentagon Speaker John Kirby stated that Ukraine received “spare parts” that helped dramatically increase the number of combat aircraft in service.
On April 21, 2022 CNN citing its own sources wrote that “spare parts” helped Ukraine increase the number of fighter jets by 20 units.
And now, on May 24, 2022, Foreign Policy writes that “A team in the field in Eastern Europe connected to European Command has helped disassemble Soviet-era Su-25 “Frogfoot” aircraft and Mi-17 helicopters so they can be shipped to Ukraine.” The puzzle is complete.
By the way, further in the Foreign Policy article there is another rather illustrative passage about the perseverance of our soldiers: “The Ukrainians are showing single-mindedness in training sessions,” British military officer said. “They don’t want to take tea breaks,” the British military official said. “They just want to carry on learning and get back into [the] country.”
Next, Defense Express reflects on where these Su-25s could have come from and how many attack aircraft could have arrived in Ukraine. According to an analysis of open sources and The Military Balance for 2021, it can be seen that last year 5 Bulgarian and at least 3 Georgian Su-25s disappeared. Another 6 attack aircraft are reportedly in storage in Georgia. From these data, Defense Express journalists conclude that Ukraine could have received from the Allies from 8 to 14 Su-25, which were delivered as “spare parts”.
In fact, the whole story is reminiscent of World War II, when the United States “supplied” Britain with fighters, leaving them in a field near the Canadian border. And the British dragged these planes on horseback. That time the United States did not want to tease Nazi Germany, this time some NATO countries do not want to tease ruscist Russia.
We remind that the Su-25 Rook is an armored subsonic attack aircraft designed to provide air support in the combat zone. Kind of a Soviet version of the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II. The aircraft is survivable and, like the previously mentioned Mi-24 , participated in many wars of the late XX – early XXI century.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited 92 Su-25 attack aircraft. At the beginning of the invasion in February 2022, only 17 aircraft of this type remained on the wing.
Crew – 1-2 people
Length – 15.36 m
Height – 4.8 m
Wingspan – 14.36 m
Wing area – 30.1 m2
Empty weight – 9185 kg
Gross weight – 11,600 kg
Normal take-off weight – 14,530 kg
Maximum takeoff weight – 17,530 kg
Weight of the armored defense – 595 kg
canopy cover – 48.5 kg (armored glass)
cockpit – 424.9 kg
lub-oil system – 121.6 kg
Practical ceiling – 7,000 m
Cruising speed – 750 km / h
Top speed – 984 km / h
Powerplant – 2 × TRD R-95Sh
Thrust – 2 × 4 100 kgf (40.2 kN)
Cannon armament – 1 × 30 mm, GS-30-2
Ammunition – 250 shells
Number of hardpoints – 11
Capacity of stores – 4340 kg