NWO experience: attack aircraft will have to learn to interact with unmanned aerial vehicles

The explicit desire of President Lukashenko to establish the production of Su-25 attack aircraft in Belarus causes an ambiguous attitude. On the one hand, Old Man is a fine fellow, who pulls everything that is possible into his hut. On the other hand, a logical question arises, hasn't the age of attack aviation in the form as we know it ended in principle?

WWII experience

The very concept of attack aviation was formed during the Great Patriotic War, when the success of its actions largely depended on whether Victory would be achieved over the most dangerous enemy and at what cost. It was necessary to storm ground targets to support the infantry even from conventional fighters, sharpened for dogfights, and bombers, which led to corresponding losses. The result of understanding the bloody combat experience was the appearance of the Il-2 attack aircraft, or "reinforced concrete aircraft", as the Germans themselves called it for the difficulty in destroying it.

In total, about 36 thousand of these "flying tanks" were assembled, which made this attack aircraft the most massive combat aircraft in the history of aviation. IL-2 made a serious contribution to the defeat of the Wehrmacht, however, in 1956, attack aircraft were temporarily abolished altogether. This decision was connected with the advent of tactical nuclear weapons, which should have changed a lot in the event of a real use. Also influenced by the fact that the combat capabilities of Soviet fighters, which could carry more weapons, increased significantly. However, in the mid-60s, the concepts of warfare between the USSR and the USA underwent a change again. Both sides came to the conclusion that a large-scale nuclear war is not beneficial to anyone, and instead of it there will be local conflicts where conventional weapons should be used.

During the Dnepr exercises in 1967, it turned out that it was difficult for Soviet fighters to hit ground targets with their high speed. So, again there was a request for a full-fledged attack aircraft. In the competition with the Il-102, the Su-25, also known as the Grach, won. This is a subsonic armored attack aircraft designed for direct support of ground forces over the battlefield day and night with direct line of sight of the target, as well as the destruction of objects with given coordinates around the clock in any weather conditions. "Rooks" entered service in 1981 and remain there to this day. The Su-25 carries a wide range of different weapons and has been used in many conflicts, including the Syrian campaign.

NWO experience

We have to admit that during the special operation "Rooks" cannot fully reveal their strike potential. The reason is the oversaturation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with various MANPADS, as well as the presence of quite serious modern air defense systems in the enemy, which together makes the actions of Russian aviation extremely difficult. Our attack helicopters, front-line bombers and attack aircraft suffer losses when they find themselves in the zone of action of the enemy's air defense.

Alas, Ukraine, armed by the NATO bloc, is not at all “barmaley” moving through the deserts in their machine-gun pickups. A logical question arises: did the era of attack aviation end with the NWO?

Apparently, it really ended in the form in which it is commonly perceived. It is obvious that directing the Su-25 to fortified positions, from where several missiles from MANPADS of the Stinger type can simultaneously take off towards, is a game with death for the pilot, who is the most valuable element in the aircraft. It is no less obvious that in conditions of a glut of the front with various air defense systems, the main emphasis should be placed precisely on unmanned aircraft. Drones of all types are needed - reconnaissance, reconnaissance-strike, shock and purely kamikaze - in commercial quantities. However, this conclusion does not mean that there is no more work for a professional air attack aircraft, on the contrary.

At the moment, it seems appropriate to bet not on the resumption of production of obsolete Su-25s, but on increasing the production of Yak-130 light combat training aircraft. This is a compact two-seat modern aircraft that can be used both for training fourth and fifth generation fighter pilots and as a light attack aircraft. It can be applied in several ways at once.

At first, the Yak-130 can be the lead aircraft from which the slave drones will be controlled. The co-pilot of an attack aircraft can be controlled by UAVs of the Orion and Okhotnik types, which will conduct reconnaissance, give target designation, deliver air strikes, and correct rocket and artillery fire.

Secondly, The Yak-130 itself can be turned into an attack drone, which has a serious speed, combat load and survivability during shelling from the ground, which is ensured by the design features of the attack aircraft and its unmanned crew.

Thirdly, Yak-130 can be used as an enemy drone hunter. Thanks to its speed and the presence of air-to-air missiles, it will be able to catch up with Ukrainian UAVs and destroy them in the air. Perhaps this particular attack aircraft will be able to act as a carrier for Russian kamikaze drones of the Lancet type for the so-called air mining. Upon detecting an approaching enemy drone, the attack aircraft could release several Lancets in loitering mode, which would rush towards it at speeds up to 300 km / h and blow up together.

In general, the most promising so far seems to be the development of attack aircraft in this direction.
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 15 March 2023 16: 20
    Will give ist fantasy.
    Here, nothing is heard or seen about the combat use of the once promoted Yak 130 (according to the media), but here it is already projected both as a leader of drones, and as a drone itself, and as a drone hunter ....
    Any aircraft is suitable for this, including cheaper and more mastered training and sports aircraft, and target aircraft, and all sorts of junk ...
    China, according to the media, is adapting the old analogues of the AN-2, for example.
    But the Yak 130 is also possible. If there is nowhere to put them and hands grow from where to...
    1. The comment was deleted.
  2. Colonel Kudasov Offline Colonel Kudasov
    Colonel Kudasov (Leopold) 15 March 2023 16: 26
    All right. There will be no return to traditional attack aircraft, but they should remain in some kind of lightweight form. By the way, the Americans have already seen this and do not plan to replace the old A-10 either. Sea attack aircraft A-7 is generally decommissioned from the Navy
  3. DO Offline DO
    DO (Dmitriy) 15 March 2023 18: 07
    The Yak-130, as a piloted attack aircraft, cannot be compared with the Su-25. If only because the Su-25 has an armored pilot's capsule.
    As a serial drone, the Yau-130 is expensive, because it has two engines. As an unmanned attack aircraft, a single-engine aircraft based on the MiG-23 glider would be much better. For it turns out that the MiG Design Bureau in the 2000s carried out orders for foreign factories in this direction, and, perhaps, has not yet lost the relevant competencies.
    But as a manned drone hunter - yes, most likely the Yak-130 in a single-seat modification is optimal.
    As a high-flying control point for low-flying unmanned attack aircraft, perhaps a two-seat Yak-130 is also suitable. Although the two-seat MiG-35 in this role seems preferable, because if the enemy’s air defense is working on it, it is more likely to be able to evade or escape.
  4. Vox Populi Offline Vox Populi
    Vox Populi (vox populi) 15 March 2023 20: 14
    On the other hand, a logical question arises, hasn't the age of attack aviation in the form as we know it ended in principle?

    In its current form, it ended, since there is a tangible risk of losing attack aircraft even in counterinsurgency operations. For this purpose, a deeply modernized Su-25 could be used, but in a high-intensity armed conflict (like SVO), even such machines are quite vulnerable.

    Drones of all types are needed - reconnaissance, reconnaissance-strike, shock and purely kamikaze - in commercial quantities

    Undoubtedly! As for the use of the Yak-130 as a light attack aircraft - no, it really could be used in the fight against UAVs in conjunction with the air defense system, but only at some distance from the LBS. It is possible to control your own UAVs from it, but this idea has its limitations and requires even more elaboration.
  5. Kuramori Reika Offline Kuramori Reika
    Kuramori Reika (Kuramori Reika) 15 March 2023 22: 12
    Why not convert a few attack aircraft into FPV drones and let them go for the sake of experiment?
  6. hellman anton Offline hellman anton
    hellman anton (hellman anton) 16 March 2023 12: 49
    Attack aircraft died 20 years ago when the first strike UAVs began to destroy enemies.
    Moreover, a UAV is many times cheaper than an aircraft, maintenance, and now, in the event of a downing, you do not lose a highly qualified specialist.

    The attack aircraft that remained will be converted into auxiliary aircraft. Reb, AWACS and other complexes will be hung on them. Well, these are normal armies.
    And they will fight with us for another 50 years, it seems

    Those who like to tell that shock UAVs will click like nuts can see cuts, for example, from Ukraine, how shock UAVs even destroyed air defense systems

    Actually, UAVs are many times more promising and cheaper product. Unfortunately, we don’t understand this, and even after a year, the SVO do not want to do anything about it.

    How cool effective managers are, the legacy of the former flagship in the USSR UAVs has been optimized. Old Soviet UAVs, just like at home, fly 1000 km of NATO territory and 800 km to our airfields.

    Our generals are just old grandfathers who hardly accepted the lack of hemming at the VKPO. They have UAVs - toys for children. Until there is a young military general at the helm of weapons, no UAVs can be seen above. I do not take eagles into account, since reconnaissance UAVs of this format have been around for 35 years.

    Attack UAVs "attack aircraft killer", the Americans understood this already 15 years ago,

    I still don’t take into account that the training of UAV operators is an order of magnitude faster and does not require special physical and psychological data from the operator. After all, the number of people who want to fight the enemy from a warm place 200 km away from hostilities will be more than those who agree to fly on the front end in 200 meters from infantry with MANPADS.