The crews of Sukhoi Su-25SM3 Grach close air support of the aviation regiment of the Russian Southern Military District (SMD), based in Kuban, during planned flight and tactical training, struck the air defense facilities of the mock enemy at night as part of a flight and squadron. When performing flight and tactical tasks, the pilots mastered the methods of secretly overcoming the military air defense (air defense) of a mock enemy in a mountainous and wooded area and suddenly striking targets, using the capabilities of the standard sighting-navigation complex Solt-25 (optical-laser-thermal imaging system).
The SOLT-25 provides 16× zoom and features a laser range finder and target designator, thermal imager, TV channels, and the ability to track moving targets in all weather up to 8 km away. The crews also worked out take-off and landing in pairs, performed elements of complex and group aerobatics, such as horizontal “barrels”, “turns”, “dive slides with large angles of inclination”. In total, during the winter training period, pilots of Sukhoi Su-25SM3 close air support of the Southern Military District made more than 2.2 thousand sorties with the practical use of standard weapons.
The Sukhoi Su-25SM (Stroyevoy Modernizirovannyi) is an upgrade programme for the Su-25, conceived by the Russian Air Force in 2000. Since 2018, the Airforce Forces have been receiving Su-25SM3s, and a total of 25 aircraft have already been delivered as of June 2019. Unlike the baseline Su-25 and its incrementally upgraded variant, the Su-25SM, both of which have a rather outdated Klen-PS laser target designator in the nose, the Su-25SM3 has been upgraded with the new SOLT-25 electro-optics nose module.
In addition, the Sukhoi Su-25SM3 close air support comes with the Vitebsk-25 protection suite, which integrates a set of Zakhvat forward and rearward facing missile approach warning ultraviolet sensors, the L-150-16M Pastel radar homing and warning system, two UV-26M 50 mm chaff dispensers, and a pair of wing-mounted L-370-3S radar jamming pods. Furthermore, the Su-25SM3 has been upgraded with the new PrNK-25SM-1 Bars targeting-and-navigation system and the KSS-25 communication system with Banker-8-TM-1 antenna.