TechRussian Su-25 losses mount as Ukrainian defense intensifies

Russian Su‑25 losses mount as Ukrainian defense intensifies

Damaged Su-25 - illustrative photo
Damaged Su-25 - illustrative photo
Images source: © Ministry of Defense of Russia
Norbert Garbarek

6:19 AM EDT, May 23, 2024

The Russian Federation Army continuously tries to break through Ukrainian defense lines, thereby losing more and more valuable machines. Among these losses is at least the fourth destroyed Su-25 attack aircraft in two weeks, as reported by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The Ukrainians report the shooting down of another Russian Su-25 in Donetsk Oblast, where some of the most intense fighting in Ukraine is taking place. The aggressor's army attempts to break through the Ukrainian defense and move the front line. However, the defenders put up significant resistance, as they added another downed aircraft to their list of destroyed planes.

The destroyed Su-25 is at least the fourth unit removed from the Russian Federation's arsenal in the last two weeks. This indicates that the total losses of the Russian Air Force are becoming increasingly significant, exceeding the previously estimated approximately 350 destroyed machines. Additionally, it is worth noting that, according to military analyst Oleksiy Hetman, the Russian Federation Army currently has just under 200 Su-25 aircraft, which the Ukrainians are steadily destroying.

Aircraft that supports ground troops

The declining number of Su-25s is due to these being primarily attack aircraft operating on the front line to support allied ground forces. Another essential aspect for the Ukrainian armed forces is that the Su-25 is a machine with relatively weak performance compared to more prominent and more efficient air superiority fighters.

The Su-25 can accelerate to a maximum speed of approximately 590 mph and fly at an altitude of up to 23,000 feet. This combination of performance characteristics makes the attack aircraft a relatively easy target for Ukrainian anti-aircraft systems—easier, at least, than fighters that often exceed speeds of over 1,200 mph.

The aircraft measures over 49 feet and can carry weapons weighing up to approximately 9,500 lbs on its under-wing hardpoints. For basic attacks, it uses the standard GSz-30-2 aircraft cannon with a caliber of 30 mm.

An essential technical parameter of the Su-25 is its range, approximately 310 miles. This means that the aircraft must operate close to allied units and bases during attacks and is usually not used for deep strikes into enemy positions. The manufacturer allows the range to be increased to even 1,100 miles, requiring additional fuel tanks.

Related content