This is the Osprey
book Su-25 'Frogfoot' Units in Combat
. It presents the history of the Su-25 with photographs and original artwork.
Series: Osprey Combat Aircraft (book 109)
Writer: Alexander Mladenov
Reference price: £13.99 / US $ 22.95 / CAN $26.95
Overview of the content
Chapter 1 DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT AND DEPLOYMENT
Chapter 2 OPERATION ROMB - COMBAT EVALUATION IN AFGHANISTAN
Chapter 3 200th ATTACK SQUADRON AT WAR
Chapter 4 378th ATTACK REGIMENT AT WAR
Chapter 5 Su-25 USE IN ANGER POST-COLD WAR
Chapter 8 Su-25 USE IN ANGER AFTER DISSOLUTION OF THE USSR
Chapter 7 EXPORT Su-25s AT WAR
The Osprey publishing tactic is well known and very successful. Find a good writer, an expert in his/her subject who makes a reasonably small book (96 pages in this case) focusing on only one aspect of the subject.
In the "Combat Aircraft" Series the focus is on the operational history of the aircraft. Those seeking details on the technical aspects of the airplane can be referred to another Osprey title, of the same writer, simply called Sukhoi SU-25 Frogfoot
. Bringing specialized titles on the market allows for keeping it cheap and still bring reasonably detailed content.
Being European, it looks a bit odd to see the price of the book being stated on its back in US and CAN $ and in UK £, but not in European Ä. One would expect something else from an UK based company.
The Su-25 made its first flight on 22/02/1975, more or less 3 years after the first flight of the American A-10 Warthog (10/05/1972) to which it would so often be compared. Designed as an effective close air support and ground attack aircraft it was often flying low altitude and close to enemy positions. It should be no surprise that quite a few got lost under those operational conditions.
The book describes quite thoroughly the complete operational history of the plane. Not to anyone's surprise, the largest part of the book (43 pages) is about combat operations in Afghanistan where two planes were first used for testing purposes under real conditions. Soon, the pace stepped up and a larger number of planes were introduced.
I was quite happy to notice that the book confirmed the information I managed to find about the Soviet-Afghan conflict a few years ago (and posted an article on Aeroscale), including the heavy toll taken by stingers and other SAM.
Not unlike many other soviet warplanes, the Su-25 was exported to many countries, and not always the most stable or peaceful ones. In this, the Su-25 deviates strongly from itís A-10 counterpart that was (and is) only used by the US and never won an export order.
I guess that a detailed account of each and any conflict where the Frogfoot has been used was impossible within the limits of this book. Still, there is a fair overview of the many conflict this plane played a role in after the soviet union fell apart. This up until the still on-going war against the Islamic State in Syria and Northern Iraq.
A question not answered
THE questions many people struggle with is: how does it compare to the A-10 warthog?
The book does not reply to that one. However, there are apparently no plans to mothball the Frogfoot while the US Air Force tries since many years every trick in the book to get rid of the A-10. This striking difference can be partly explained by referring to the poor economic state of many Frogfoot users that can't afford something else. It may also reveal a deeper reason of completely different strategic and tactical views on the role of aircraft in the battle space in the former Soviet allies compared to those of the US and the western world in general.
The book contains many nicely printed color pictures and 11 pages with, in total, 33 color plates presenting the plane as painted by its various users. This can help to identify a plane on a picture from an unknown source but is not sufficient for modelling purposes.
Still, the pictures may be motivating for trying an unique paint scheme, and information about the weapons used in different conflicts and by different types of the plane may also be valuable. For a detailed book for modelers we will have to wait until a Frogfoot title appears under the "Modelling" series of Osprey.
I am quite happy with this book. Partly because it confirms the information I amassed about the Soviet Afghan conflict but mainly because it feeds my hunger for accurate and historic information about a jet plane and how it was used in service.
I give it a score of 80, not because this is not a good book (on the contrary) but primarily because this is my first book review and with 80% I do give it a reasonable score while also enabling me to use this review as a benchmark for any future book reviews I will do.
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