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Russia to keep upgraded Su-25 strike aircraft until 2020

MOSCOW, October 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will keep a modernized version of its Su-25 strike aircraft in service with the Air Force until 2020, an aircraft industry official said on Monday. (VIDEO)

The Su-25 Frogfoot is a single-seat, twin-engine combat aircraft developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau to provide close air support for ground troops.

"Considering the fact that Russia is not planning to develop a new strike aircraft in the near future, we will continue to upgrade outdated Su-25s into a modernized version, Su-25SM, until 2020," said Yakov Kazhdan, general director of an aircraft maintenance and repair plant in the Moscow Region.

The Su-25 aircraft has been in service with the Russian Air Force for more than 25 years. In 1999, Russia adopted a program to upgrade part of its aging Su-25 fleet. The Air Force received the first six modernized Su-25SM planes in December 2006.

The Su-25SM version features the Panther fire-control system with the Kopyo-25 radar in a rebuilt nose and the Glonass satellite navigation system. It also has a redesigned cockpit with a new HUD and two large color LCD monitors.

"Thanks to thorough modernization, the combat capabilities of the aircraft have increased threefold," Kazhdan said.

The Su-25SM can carry more than 4,000 kilograms (8,800 pounds) of weaponry, including R-73M2 (AA-11 Archer) short-range air-to-air missiles and can provide close infantry support regardless of weather conditions or time of day.

The Russian Air Force is planning to equip at least two air regiments with Su-25SM planes in the future.

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