Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Aerofax - Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot

In early 1969, the question of close air support (CAS) for the Soviet ground forces began to circulate within the Soviet Ministry of Defence, with concern focusing in particular on the ability to provide adequate air cover in the presence of heavy enemy anti-aircraft defences and small arms fire. The idea of creating a specialised assault aircraft (known in Russian as shtur-movik) for close air support of the ground forces was formed in response to this requirement after analysing the experience of using assault aviation in World War Two and in the local wars of the 1950s and 1960s. Soviet MoD analysts also considered the capabilities of Soviet and foreign tactical aircraft designed for battlefield assault operations, as well as the orders of battle and performance of tanks and other armour used by the ground forces of potential adversaries, plus the organisation of their tactical anti-aircraft defences. Equally importantly, only a few months later, the defence ministry team also had the opportunity to study the American A-X programme. This had been set up in the spring of 1970 to create a CAS aircraft for the protection of ground forces and was then at the project definition stage. The A-X System Program Office at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio then issued a request for proposals (RfP) to 12 aircraft manufacturers on 8th May 1970, and on 18th December the Northrop and Fairchild Hiller entries were selected for prototype construction. The two aircraft were then destined to take part in a 'fly-before-buy' evaluation.