The aging Soviet Su-25 fighter jet is increasingly making headlines. Of course, the war in Ukraine is one reason for this. Not only Kyiv but also Moscow still sends Su-25 in the air.
- Thousands came to see live the KAAN – the Turkish 5th-gen fighter
- Azerbaijan and Pakistan already have trained Akinci UCAV ‘pilots’
- 155/203 mm artillery shells fall from a moving truck near Ankara
However, this time the news about the Su-25 comes from the Asian continent. Involved in the innovation are Turkey and Azerbaijan, which, however, can serve Ukraine [USA]. It’s about turning dump bombs into cruise missiles, an innovation that Russia is currently taking advantage of and bombing Ukraine without resistance.
The Turkish company Tubitak Sage has developed its own Winged Guidance Kit [WGK]. It is this kit installed on the top of a bomb that turns the previously free-falling bomb into a guided missile now.
The WGK was developed for the Su-25 by the Azerbaijan Air Force. The integration, the Turkish media reports, has been successful. In this way, the Su-25 will be able to use dump bombs for long-range strikes. Turkey does not report the distance that the bomb can cover to the target with the new integrated kit. But if we proceed from the Russian results in Ukraine, such a bomb on the Su-25 can reach a distance of up to 30-40 km, and depending on other circumstances – even further.
News of the new dump bomb guidance kit emerged after a photographer was able to capture an overflying Azerbaijani Su-25 during the Anatolian Eagle air exercise. Turkey and Azerbaijan have been cooperating for years in military production, so it is quite logical that Turkish developments find application in one of the main customers. Turkey continues to integrate long-range and precision munitions into Azerbaijani military aircraft. At the same time, the integrated ammunition is according to the NATO standard, Turkish media write.
The Turkish website SavunmaSanayiST.com writes that “thanks to UPS, the MK-82 and MK-83 bombs get the ability to strike precisely in all weather conditions.” This is functionally important for the Azerbaijani Air Force, as it will now be able to carry out military missions without approaching a dangerous area. In Turkey, they say that the guidance kit of the Turkish company is equivalent to the AGM-154 JSOW, which is an American production.
Turkish sources give more information about the Tubitak Sage product. After the pilot of the plane releases the bomb, falling from under the wing, the wings of the guidance kit open. The bomb begins to communicate with the pilot of the aircraft, receiving the coordinates of the target. I.e. this kit features INS/GPS encrypted software support with precision strike capability. This specification is also important because it enables the bomb and its kit to track the target’s movement during the entire pursuit distance.
The distance announced by Tubitak Sage is very interesting. If the bomb is launched from a high altitude it can reach a target at a distance of 100 km. However, if launched from a low altitude, the bomb has a range of up to 37 km or slightly more [say 40 km, although, it is not specified].
One more important clarification – the integration is fully compatible with the F-16C Block 40 fighter. This is also important and brings us back to the topic of the war in Ukraine, which has remained a leading issue for the past year.
I.e. most likely the WGK of Tubitak Sage will also be compatible with Ukrainian Su-27s. Ukraine also has the Su-25 in its inventory, but has the Su-27 as well, as well as the MiG-29. The Soviet Union / Russia develop their military platforms [air and land] on the same design. This means that the integration of WGK into existing Ukrainian aircraft is quite possible.
Ukraine’s problem with using its fighters is running out of ammunition for them. They are also Soviet / Russian-made. Poland is one of the countries that, according to unofficial information, has committed to the integration of modern ammunition on the Ukrainian MiG-29s. It was Polish engineers who allegedly integrated the HARM missile that was used by Ukrainian fighters to blow a “hole” in the air defense radio defenses of the Saki base in Crimea, which was hit by the Ukrainians last year.
Therefore, if Turkey found a way to integrate such a kit under the wing of the Su-25 to communicate with the avionics of the Soviet systems, it would be a very useful weapon in Ukraine’s inventory.
However, in recent months, Turkey has not been exporting weapons to Ukraine in the quantities they were in 2022. One reason, according to experts, is Putin’s influence over Erdogan regarding energy supplies from Russia to Turkey. We note that they actually stopped deliveries of Bayraktar TB2 drones.
I.e. a purchase of this Turkish integration from a third party [a practice since the beginning of the war, Bulgaria is a recent example] can provide the Ukrainian Air Force with a good attack capability, and Turkey with justification for Russia and not being held responsible.
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