Georgian Su-25KM Scorpion: The Modern Flying Tank Taking on Russia, Developed in Collaboration with Elbit Systems of Israel – Experts in Upgrading Cold War-era Weapons
In order to maintain the number of fixed-wing military aircraft, with Israeli support, the Georgian Su-25 strike aircraft have been comprehensively modernized.
At present, the Georgian Air Force has only a few MiG-21s, inherited from the Soviet Union, but out of date. With the Su-25 Close air support aircraft, capable of carrying large weapons and specialized air-to-ground roles, it is the ideal weapon to provide aerial firepower to ground forces, to a certain extent.
The modernized Georgian version of Su-25, designated Su-25KM Scorpion, was developed in cooperation with Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing of Georgia and Elbit Systems of Israel. Adding that, Elbit is a company that has a lot of experience, in upgrading weapons that have originated from the Cold War era.
The first Su-25KM prototype made its maiden flight in April 2001. It has an avionics system significantly superior to the original version. Upgrades include a modern glass cockpit, digital maps, new Head-Up Display, computerized weapon control system, and more.
The Su-25KM is also equipped with a new navigation system and a more precise weapon delivery system, as well as systems for night combat. Upgrades made by Elbit Systems make the Su-25KM compatible with the NATO combat system.
The Su-25KM is primarily designed for an air-to-ground role, to destroy enemy infantry and armored vehicle. It can also use high-precision weapons, such as Mark 82 and Mark 83 laser-guided bombs, as a low-altitude light bomber.
This attack aircraft is highly maneuverable, equipped with a heavy cannon capable of penetrating tank armor. The Su-25KM also possesses limited air combat capabilities, but is sufficient to make it a true multi-role strike jet.
Short-range R-73 air-to-air missile, which can strike enemy fighters at ranges of up to 30km. It has a speed of Mach 2.5, infrared-guided, and can destroy drones and low-flying helicopters.