Russia intends to equip its upgraded Su-25 ground attack jets with a device to deflect missiles launched from Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS).
Called Vitebsk, the new system will be installed on the Su-25SM3 ground attack planes, which are upgraded versions of the workhorse Su-25s. The Vitesbk system is said to ensure 100-percent protection against heat-seeking warheads of Stinger and Igla MANPADS, Sputnik news said quoting Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
The system is currently available on all Russian Ka-52 helicopter gunships and Mil-8 rotorcraft currently deployed in Syria. It proved its reliability in October 2016 when a Mil-8 helicopter remained immune to an attack by a shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile, the report said.
With the Vitebsk system in place, the Su-25SM3 will be able to engage in dogfights in addition to its primary task of taking out targets on the ground.
The use of the GLONASS satellite positioning system will allow the pilot to pare his destination point accuracy down to a mere 10 meters under conditions of poor visibility.
The Su-25SM3 will reportedly carry more advanced onboard missiles, including self-homing ones, as well as smart bombs. In addition, the new jet will boast a wide range of speeds – from almost 1,000 kilometers an hour down to 100 kilometers without stalling.
On February 3, a Russian Su-25 was shot down by a handheld anti-aircraft missile while on an observation mission over the Idlib de-escalation zone in Syria. It pilot bailed out but was later killed in a skirmish with anti-government forces.