Four modernized close air support fighter planes are to be sent to the Russian airbase in Syria later this summer, according to the Russian Izvestia newspaper.
The Su-25SM3s – an extensively modified version of the Su-25 ground attack jet, are to be sent to the Hmeymim military airbase in western Syria. The exact date of the transfer is not confirmed, but is expected to happen between August and September this year.
The upgraded Su-25 is equipped with an advanced tactical electronic warfare suite – Vitebsk-25.
The electronic countermeasure features protect the fighter jet from enemy aircraft by providing countermeasures against different radars, and against enemy surface-to-air fire and air-to-air guided missiles. The jet is fitted with electro-optical thermal imagery camera, and allows the pilot to monitor objectives via an onboard video system.
The Su-25SM3 is capable of using laser-guided missiles, video-guided missiles, as well as satellite-aided and video-aided guided aerial bombs. The suite of EW systems weapons allows for targeting and destruction of fixed structures and moving vehicles alike, with its all-weather precision sighting system.
Russia’s upgrading of Su-25 to SM3 version can reportedly extend the aircraft’s operative life for at least another ten years. The country’s air force is expected to receive it’s first modernized variants by August, when four aircraft will be sent for duty in Syria.
In September 2015, the airbase Hmeymim airbase received ten Su-25SM and two of the training variants – Su-25UB. On January 12, four Su-25 attack jets were again transferred to the Russian airbase in Lattakia to carry out strikes against ISIS militants in Al-Bab.
The Hmeymim military airbase is located south of the Syrian city of Lattakia and is Russia’s center of strategic operations against the self-proclaimed Islamic State and other militant organisations. The airbase is to undergo significant expansion and upgrades throughout the year.
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