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Sukhoi Su-25

Sukhoi Su-25 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2021 Title Sukhoi Su-25
Author Yefim Gordon, Dmitriy Komissarov Publisher Crecy
Published 2020 ISBN 978-1910809402
Format 496 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $64.95

Review

Here is the latest gem from the Soviet/Russian Aviation duo of Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov - the Sukhoi Su-25. I think I've mentioned in previous reviews of Gordon's books that I now automatically order anything from this duo and this latest title doesn't disappoint. We now have a comprehensive look at the Grach, nickname for Sukhoi's Su-25 close air support aircraft (CAS). I remember early in my Air Force career the A-X program which led to the production of the A-10 Thunderbolt II. It seemed interesting that the Soviets initiated their own program for an aircraft of similar capabilities. There appeared to be a trend where the Soviets would select a design that we would not, for example, in the AMST program, we chose the four-engine YC-15 (which was modified into the C-17) while the Soviets built the twin-engine An-70 that looked very similar to the YC-14. In the A-X program, we chose the A-10 whereas the Soviets built the Su-25, which was similar to Northrop's A-9. In the introduction to this title, the authors discuss the similarities of the USSR vs USAF programs though they noted that the T-8 (prototype Su-25) was actually closer in layout to the Lockheed CL-1400-2 design that wasn't selected for the A-X fly-off. At this point in time, the Sukhoi OKB (experimental design bureau) already had a full load with the Su-17, updated Su-15, prototype Su-24, and Mach-3 T-4 programs, but they added the T-8 to the workload nonetheless.

Looking at the chapter coverage, you can see the evolution of the Grach family unfold:

  • The competition: The T-8 project is born
  • The T-8 flies: Testing and defining
  • Version variety
  • The Su-25 in detail
  • Peacetime service
  • Above the battlefield: The Su-25 in action
  • Frogfeet far and wide: Su-25 operators

The authors have compiled an impressive amount of information to fill these pages and provide some fascinating insight to the aircraft. There are hundreds of full-color photos detailing the different variants and prototypes of the Su-25 family. The sections covering the aircraft in combat around the world is equally fascinating. Did you know the Soviet Navy not only flew the Su-25, they considered putting an Su-25 squadron aboard their aircraft carrier. There are some nice photos of the Grach being tested on ski-jumps as well as aboard ship. The resulting Su-25K (single seat) and Su-25UTG (trainer) folding wing system worked as did the tailhook.

Like the A-10, the Su-25 remains in active service with the Russian Air Force as well as with client nations. Like the A-10, the Grach is also updated with new avionics and weapons to stay relevant on the battlefield. The authors provide great details and photos of the Grach as it evolved from the T-8 to its current iterations around the world. With the photo details of each iteration of the T-8 from initial prototype to final production configuration, you can appreciate the evolution of the design as well as its continued updates to date.

Whether you're an aviation historian or an Su-25 enthusiast, this is the ultimate title on the subject. Scale modelers will also want to have this handy reference with the great detail photos and references on weapons loads as well. Definitely recommended!

With thanks to Specialty Press for the review copy!