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Empoyment doctrin of the Su-25


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As a mission designer I always try to build my missions as realistic as possible. I don't like missions where you are put against a obviously unrealistic amount of targets or target type.

For the A-10 I pretty much know the employment doctrin due to the various books and articles about that aircraft. But the employment of the Su-25 somehow remains a mystery to me and I would like to learn more about it in order to write better missions for the Frog.

 

So first lets ask some basic question about the employment of the Su-25:

 

-What target type would be assigned to them ?

-What amount of targets ?

-Would Su-25 attack close to friendly troops ?

-Do Su-25 operate together with FACs ?

-What altitude regions would the Su-25 operat in ?

-What team and attack tactics would the Su-25 use ?

-What kind of threats would the Su-25 be used against and what not ?

-What weapons are primary used ?

 

How has the above changed in history from the classic central european scenario, over Afghanistan, Chechnya to possible future conflicts ? Of special interest is a hypotetical large scale war against a well equipped enemy ( USA ), as we don't have real world examples for that type of war for the Su-25.

 

Of course I have come to some conclusions myselfe judging by the planes design and few things I read about its employment, but I don't know for ceratain if they apply.

I guess Su-25 would primary be used against stationary targets like bunkers or bridges, troop concentrations and troops moving in columns. The planes limited sensor and weapon outfit suggest that it would not be able to effectivly destroy single moving targets in a dangerous envoirment. The low maneuverability and relative high speed ( compared to A-10 ) und low fuel supply suggest that the Su-25 would make one single fast attack run, drop all ordenance at once and return to base. The bad cockpit visibility, low maneuverability and low loiter time also suggest that the Frog would not be used in classic CAS missions close to friendly troops but rather do BAI sort of missions.

 

 

What are your toughts on this ? Anyone having good literature suggestions ?

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Great thread!! Rep inbound . . .

 

We at the 504th constantly struggle with this issue. There is not much we have found that answers your questions decisively (at least that is written in English).

 

I think the assumptions you made are pretty good. The 504th bases most of our missions around the one-pass idea you mention. Of course, the Su-25 is capable of more (at least in the Lo-mac world) and you will see us fly multiple-pass CAS type missions in our server online.

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Mostly accurate. The original Su-25 is fairly incapable as a "tank buster", it's more of an infantry support weapon, designed very much for "one pass haul ass" tactics (unlike the A-10, which is designed to loiter for hours).

 

I think that unlike the other aircraft in Lock On, the Su-25's field of view isn't accurately modelled. It should have the best downward visibility of all the Russian jets and is actually a quite successful observation and CAS platform in real life. It has a dedicated radio for communicating with FAC (same as Mi-24). The reduced field of view makes it harder to navigate, land, or aim bombs in the sim - the best you can do is mass rocket attacks, for which your computer needs very high performance to take the fps hit of all their smoke trails. The "transparent" map building objects that should make up the majority of Su-25 targets doesn't help the visibility problem either. You might want to assemble some parked M-818 trucks somewhere and send your Su-25 players to go attack them, since vehicles are visible from a farther distance in the sim.

 

It seems that despite the low priority ED placed on Su-25 cockpit visibility, they did leave some opportunity for interesting missions. Landmine static "building" objects appear to exist in the sim for the sole purpose of being destroyed by FAE bombs, and I like to create co-operative night missions where a friendly Su-25 drops illumination flares over a land target, and the player needs to lock it up with laser-guided missiles within that short window of opportunity. The recent addition of myriad military "building" objects (ammunition depot, bunker, roadblock, etc.) appears to reflect a tacit admission that the Su-25 has little hope to hit the moving ground vehicle targets that were the earlier focus of the sim.

 

Interesting topic,

 

-SK

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Good stuff, keep it comming folks.

 

The landmines beeing able to be destroyerd by ( only ? ) FAE bombs sounds highly interesting, I will run some tests to check it out.

It seems that more static ground objects ( more infantry oriented ) would help the Su-25's gamplay if it is indeed more of a infantry support plattform than a tank hunter. I can think of dug in infantry positions, trenches, MG nests, mortar positions, fortified positions for vehicles, "shooting buildings" ( simulating buildings occupied by infantry ) etc. The static objects we got in 1.1 is a mission builders dream, but there are few actual new ones with a military value.

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For moving targets I recommend:

For a short stand off range - S-25L

Close range - RBK-250 used in pairs with 0.2 second drop delay between them. Even manuevering targets would have a hard time to get away if you drop them from low altitude.

 

But it's true... the '25' doesn't have any really good weapons against highly manueverable targets.

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1st thing mission makers must be aware of and I have been guilty of myself is that only 4 waypoints should be assigned for the vanilla su-25. IRL thats all its primative nav computer can take.

 

Also as said previous though we can use the vanilla as a CAS aircraft in lock-on IRL it is used as a flying artillery piece. Orbiting some way away from the frontline and laying down all of its ordanance in one pass when called in by foward air controllers usually with rockets, dumb bombs or cluster munitions. it wasn't until late in the Afghan war that guided munitions were used, to great effect.

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1st thing mission makers must be aware of and I have been guilty of myself is that only 4 waypoints should be assigned for the vanilla su-25. IRL thats all its primative nav computer can take.

 

Also as said previous though we can use the vanilla as a CAS aircraft in lock-on IRL it is used as a flying artillery piece. Orbiting some way away from the frontline and laying down all of its ordanance in one pass when called in by foward air controllers usually with rockets, dumb bombs or cluster munitions. it wasn't until late in the Afghan war that guided munitions were used, to great effect.

 

 

WW2 stylee-CAS! :D

 

 

Sigh . . . . we need FACkers.

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What exactly about the su-25 is it that would make it incapable of being a tank-buster?

 

Lack of optical tracking, for one. The A-10A has its TV- and IIR-guided Mavericks, the Su-25T and Ka-50 have the Shkval, AH-64 has its nose-mounted day and night sensors... even the Mi-24 has a dedicated gunner for the purpose of manual tracking. The Su-25 has no way to lock onto a moving target, it only has a laser pointer with no feedback loop - as we see in Lock On, this can be quite hard to control for one player in a computer game. In real life, it's practically ineffective against small vehicles.

 

For other differences, compare the shaped-charged armor penetrating warhead of Maverick and Hellfire missiles to the blast-fragmentation warhead of Kh-25 and -29, the A-10's large payload of armor-piercing DU shells compared to much lower-rate-of-fire Su-25 GSh gun, the Su-25's short legs and higher speed providing fewer firing attempts per pass, plus the non-fire-and-forget nature of laser-guided weapons (compared to A-10's fire-and-forget Mavericks).

 

Perhaps the most telling evidence is the opinion of its own pilots, who consider that the aircraft has very little probability of defeating tanks, or its designers, who felt it necessary to create an all-new version for anti-tank warfare (the "T" in Su-25T stands for "tank").

 

About the only real practical capability for Su-25 anti-tank operations comes from the use of sensor-fuzed cluster munitions, that were only added recently to its arsenal, but even these require the jet to overfly the enemy's position.

 

-SK

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Sigh . . . . we need FACkers.

 

How true :)

 

 

What do you guys think are apropriate altitudes the Su-25 operates from ? Currently I design some of my missions with ingress at 5000m, 30-45° dive bomb delivery with a lowest pull out alt of 2500m. This seems to be the safest way if Stingers are to be expected. What altitudes and attack profiles did the Frogs use in Afghanistan ?

 

The other tactic I can think of is a low ingress with a pop up to 1000-2000m short of the target for bomb delivery. That could be more of a high threat tactic, possibly to be used in Europe. Unfortunatly this doesn't work in Lock On because the lack of aquision and reaction times of AD units.

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Lack of optical tracking, for one. The A-10A has its TV- and IIR-guided Mavericks, the Su-25T and Ka-50 have the Shkval, AH-64 has its nose-mounted day and night sensors... even the Mi-24 has a dedicated gunner for the purpose of manual tracking. The Su-25 has no way to lock onto a moving target, it only has a laser pointer with no feedback loop - as we see in Lock On, this can be quite hard to control for one player in a computer game. In real life, it's practically ineffective against small vehicles.

 

For other differences, compare the shaped-charged armor penetrating warhead of Maverick and Hellfire missiles to the blast-fragmentation warhead of Kh-25 and -29, the A-10's large payload of armor-piercing DU shells compared to much lower-rate-of-fire Su-25 GSh gun, the Su-25's short legs and higher speed providing fewer firing attempts per pass, plus the non-fire-and-forget nature of laser-guided weapons (compared to A-10's fire-and-forget Mavericks).

 

Perhaps the most telling evidence is the opinion of its own pilots, who consider that the aircraft has very little probability of defeating tanks, or its designers, who felt it necessary to create an all-new version for anti-tank warfare (the "T" in Su-25T stands for "tank").

 

About the only real practical capability for Su-25 anti-tank operations comes from the use of sensor-fuzed cluster munitions, that were only added recently to its arsenal, but even these require the jet to overfly the enemy's position.

 

-SK

You said it SK.. It's a mans plane! :D

i7-2600k@4GHz, 8GB, R9 280X 3GB, SSD, HOTAS WH, Pro Flight Combat Pedals, TIR5

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How true :)

 

 

What do you guys think are apropriate altitudes the Su-25 operates from ? Currently I design some of my missions with ingress at 5000m, 30-45° dive bomb delivery with a lowest pull out alt of 2500m. This seems to be the safest way if Stingers are to be expected. What altitudes and attack profiles did the Frogs use in Afghanistan ?

 

Well ... when they started using what you just descrbed now is when the frog losses to stingers plumetted ... so ... ;)

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What do you guys think are apropriate altitudes the Su-25 operates from ? Currently I design some of my missions with ingress at 5000m, 30-45° dive bomb delivery with a lowest pull out alt of 2500m. This seems to be the safest way if Stingers are to be expected. What altitudes and attack profiles did the Frogs use in Afghanistan ?

 

I don't know what's used IRL, but for me I usually ingress at 4-5000m and make my attack runs from there. It's alot easier to meet weapons release parameters and you get a longer reaction time against AA. I also usually approach the target with it at my 10 or 2 oclock and dry to draw out IR SAM launches--once spotted, just turn away from the missile to defeat it. Now with a visual reference to go by, I turn back in and fire a Kh-25ML or S-25L at the launcher.

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(Snipped)

 

...Landmine static "building" objects appear to exist in the sim for the sole purpose of being destroyed by FAE bombs...(remainder snipped)

 

-SK

Maybe. But the overpressure created by this type weapon isn't modeled and it's the overpressure that makes it so effective at clearing mine fields. In the sim cluster munitions do a much much better job.

 

Rich

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The Su25s combat record is quite impressive, its survived hits by Aim9s and managed to RTB eventhough the aircraft appeared to be on fire. For CAS its very effective in nailing ground troops and light armoured vehicles. During the Afghan war they originally used popup attacks to great effect as did most other Russian aircraft types and helicopter gunships. The hills and terrain were ideal for it until the locals found ways to use the stinger more effectively. The gun itself is quite powerful and unless you're in a tank you're in a world of hurt. Back in Afghanistan the tactics were the same as the cold war, low level popup attacks. Of course this changed to standoff attacks when they started losing aircraft. Of course in any aircraft its suicide to make more than 1 pass.

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I have recently read that a common weapon loadout in the Afghanistan war was 2 or 4 S-24 rockets on the outer hardpoints and fueltanks on the inner ones if needed. This is interesting for me as I have used the S-24 only seldom by now.

I have tested the S-24 a bit and found it very usefull against armoured targets like artillery pieces and IFVs. It weights less than half than a S-25 while having enough punch to destroy those armoured targets the 57mm and 80mm rockets are ineffective against.

 

So when the limited stand off capabilitys of rockets are in need, the S-24 seems to be the weapon of choice against armoured targets.

Against hardened structures ( and MBTs ? ) the heavy S-25 seems the right tool and for unarmoured vehicles the 57mm and 80mm rockets fit.

 

The AFM realy has given the wide weapon selection of the Su-25 justification. With the SFM I usualy loaded just the biggest fireworks, desregarding the smaller weapons. Now with weapon drag and weight having such a big influence, you realy get a advantage with selecting the smalles possible weapon to get the job done.

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The Su-25 is certainly the most combat-proven Russian aircraft in lo-mac.

It's usual foes are rogue, dispersed infantry elements equipped with technicals, RPG's, AAA guns and small arms, totally blended in the terrain. I guess the Russian tactics long has been "if you get rid of the terrain, the rest will follow".

 

I consider it a kind of Kalashnikov in the air: rugged, cheap, maintainable, affordable, survivable and very lethal. No plastic high-tech chit-chat whatever but the usual though talk of the gun, rockets and cluster bombs.

 

The French where quick to take them out in Côte d'Ivoire after unfortunately being at the wrong end of it's loadfull of weapons.

 

For me, it's a way to keep playing Strike Fighters P1 but then in Lockon! The laser ranger allows for relatively precise bombing.

 

I do not see its relevance against tanks. Its use is mainly defined whether there are Manpads - in which case you would bomb from medium altitude - or not, in which case, like in Africa, it will fly much lower and use rockets.

 

I guess in hot & high climate like Afghanistan you won't be able to use laser guided rockets as much as you'ld like.

 

And man I love that pit with all these analog instruments!

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  • 4 years later...

A very nice thread that I'd like to revive - as we will be getting a new model and a new campaign of Su-25. There has been written a lot about different fighter tactics and a lot about using the T-version, but vanilla Su gets often overlooked. I am still strugling with attack profile with Kh-29L, as I can spot buildings only from range of 10 km's after aquiring, firing the missile and waiting for impact I just come in to range of Manpads. Any advice here, are 29Ls viable weapon of the plain Su-25?

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I know what you mean, you have to time it just right to avoid coming into range of MANPAD's etc. I usually start out at 3000m or just above with a 15 degree dive at slow speed with brakes extended, sometimes with flaps at one notch too to help slow rate of decent at slower airspeeds. On the whole though I don't make use of guided missiles, most of the time I start out at 5000m with a 15-30 degree AoA (depending on bombs stowed), release at about 3000m at pull out just in time to avoid getting shot at about 2500m.

 

Nice to see the Su-25 getting some attention... it's often been ignored for the more fancy "T" and the A-10 for mud moving.

 

I'm with Tflash here too.... love the old school pit... not a single MFD in sight :D.

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