Main attack plane Russian Air Force Su-25 in the coming time will be modernized. It is planned to convert all existing aircraft of this type in agreeing to a modification of the Su-25SM. Apart from all the improvements stormtroopers will complete renovation that will allow to extend the service life of 15-20 years. By the time this term is over, will be created a new plane. He will change the "Rook". Despite the apparent remoteness of now, it may not be enough, as is often the case. Because thinking about the future of aircraft types must begin at the moment. Therefore, as the most common way of creating a new — do the same, but better — probably will not pass.
To begin with a little history. Let's try to follow certain trends and the introduction of ground-attack aircraft. It all began in the First World War. Then, depending on the requirements of the situation, the commanders could send the fighter to perform their direct duties or bring it to attack ground targets. To attack infantry, cavalry and other "crawling" flying forces used machine guns, bombs and small fleshetty (iron arrows). The development of aviation and aviation arms soon led to the emergence of specialized aircraft to attack ground targets with gunnery and bombing armament. In addition to new weapons and attack aircraft began to get a reservation. The quintessence of all the works in the field of ground-attack aircraft and weapons for it was the Russian IL-2, and then its "descendant" of IL-10. All basic units inside the plane were bulletproof hulls and armament consisted of a 2-machine guns, 2-guns and the whole "mash" of missiles and bombs of various types. The design came out so successful that the IL-2 was one of the signs of the victory over Nazism.
After the end of the second world war in our country, the development of ground-attack followed the path already tried. The post-war attack aircraft Il-10 (appeared in the course of Russian stateliness, but especially to war did not have time) was forthcoming development of the previous model. In zabugornyh countries, in turn, also continued "operation" spent concept. The fact is that by the end of the war the United States and the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan to attack ground targets are almost always used a specially modified fighter. Not later this specialization will receive the title of the aircraft fighter-bomber. A similar method is the introduction of aircraft survived to this day. Moreover, some far from the same U.S. fighter-bombers drove the front-line bombers. A few decades earlier, they just "crushed" and assault aircraft. In our country, at some point, too, the military did not create a good judge of specialized attack aircraft. In 1956, the Russian attack aircraft was disbanded and its functions taken over the fighter-bombers. But in less than 10 years, as it turned out the incorrectness of this solution. Both the then superpowers began work on the creation of a special assault aircraft. In the end, there were A-10 and Su-25. Now, having undergone a series of upgrades, they remain the primary attack aircraft of their own states and in the coming years deserved rest they do not shine.
Certainly successful and modern even by today's standards, these aircraft have a number of shortcomings that must be solved. For example, the last modification is now the South American attack aircraft — A-10C — first was made in order to storm the ground targets controlled missile and bomb armament with the longest distance. In this case, the aircraft can not go into the kill zone enemy air defense and not risking again. A prerequisite for such modernization is the experience gained by South American pilots in the conflicts of the last 20 years. With similar goals created and modified Russian "Rook" under the title of the Su-25SM. But it is not only the enemy's air defense prevents attack aircraft. During the war in Afghanistan fighting the specificity sought by stormtroopers unchanging "hovering" in the area patrols. A patrol is palpably increased the consumption of kerosene, which is also at first should deliver on Afghan airfields. At the theoretical level, it was possible to fly with the Russian Union of Central Asian territories, which deliver fuel would be even easier, but in this case, neither of which patrols was not the question — Tank capacity sufficient only for "back and forth".
Solve similar problems could be a new attack, which has less weight and size of the property and is able to fly with small airfields in the vicinity of a specific front line. But little compares take-off weight is not allowed such aircraft to take on board a lot of tools that will certainly leave the military unhappy. Specifically, it came with the project "Photon" made in OSKB-C Capital Aviation Institute. As planned by the engineers, "Photon" had to be constantly on the alert, and almost the first cry of the fly on the job. But the small size of badly affected the fate of the aircraft. In all the iterations of the project the greatest take-off weight of the aircraft does not exceed 3-3.5 tons. Respectively, of the stern ammunition is not out of the question, why the military did not support the continuation of work on the topic. But in the construction of the "Photon" was a lot of fun making. Take at least a powerhouse — in one version of the project, it consisted of a turboprop engine HPT-20 puller and AI-25TL turbofan, which is located in the fuselage behind the cockpit. MAI designers believed that this arrangement will allow the aircraft engines are not afraid of disabling the 1st of the engines, have excellent performance efficiency and flight characteristics. But the project has remained a project. Twin-engine version of the "Photon" was not even built, let alone tested.
Once the attack has to be above the battlefield and to support the troops, then why would not he do it not only attacks on ground targets? As you know, during the war in Angola civilian air support to troops UNITA produced Air Force Republic of South Africa. In the middle of the 80s, when the People's Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA also known as) began a large-scale advent, the main supply being in the jungle troops was made with the help of helicopters. Typically, two Mi-8 transport were covered by a single combat Mi-24. Management UNITA agreed with South Africa for its breaking of supply.
When the South African military intelligence received all the necessary information about the routes of flight, began interceptions. Any of their own judgments South Africa decided to use helicopters to intercept not fighters, and attack planes. It was the Atlas Impala — a licensed version of the Italian aircraft Aermacchi MB-326GB. For a few days, "Impala" using only one 30-mm cannon DEFA 553, shot down 10 Angolan helicopters. At first glance, slightly. And that number had shot down for a significant deterioration in the supply of troops MPLA. Advent failed.
Following these events, the Angolan civilian war in a number of studies introduced the concept of using protivovertoletnogo attack aircraft. It would be reasonable to helicopters fought the enemy troop air defense and fighter aircraft. But the modern military helicopter should have the equipment to break the air defense and fighter jets usually fly even higher helicopters, which reduces the possibility of self-discovery. In turn, the attack is always working on the battlefield and as a result, is able to find a fit, assault and kill an enemy helicopter. Needs to be seen in the idea of introducing such stormtroopers have reasonable grain. But the simultaneous operation of ground targets and aerial destruction is very difficult for the special aircraft, initially created to attack only the first. Niche in the fight against enemy helicopters would rather give the military air defense, including man-portable air defense systems. A attack plane must be engaged in what is intended. If distracted by aerial targets, the only unsafe cases.
But back to the primary use of stormtroopers. If plane can not constantly be in a suitable area, then you need to ensure that it is frisky arrival there. There is in principle possible to manage and available technology, but will need to significantly change the structure of the respective forces. Should greatly reduce the time required for the passage of a request for support from the requesting unit to the pilot. It is clear that on a flight to the place of attack will need time and there's no getting around it, therefore it is necessary to reduce other temporary "cost." From time to time we hear the view that assault aviation should be administered by military commanders. Better not even just in the form of Army aviation, as it was previously, and with the possibility of direct interaction on the level of "company-squadron." In such a case, as it is believed the response time will be minimal. As a result, the soldiers will support earlier and earlier will be able to evacuate the wounded.
In the most ambitious proposals such plan sometimes even spoken about the need of creation of light, and the cheapest kind is common in the development of ground-attack aircraft. We need it in order to, if I may say so, each company had its own plane. But where so many pilots? The same conceptual brave front to gain their offer of contract soldiers. A fascinating idea, but from her and breathes design of the airplane, "Pegasus", made during the Russian majestically as usual, and the cheapest kind of mass means of attack ground targets. But even at that difficult time as an emergency measure to deal never came. It is unlikely that such an idea will be supported and at the moment. In 1-x, the general construction of a new aircraft deal not fast and cheap, and in-2, most of the jobs that are offered to the lungs, "Working Capital" stormtroopers are now the prerogative of the helicopters.
Taking into account all the pros and cons of the existing structures and tactics can be rough guesses about the relevant terms of the coming attack aircraft. It is unlikely that the military will intrigue lung machine. Because the size and weight characteristics, including the desired load to be not less than the current machines. Not change, and the arms of — guns, missiles and bombs, including those operated. But where the potential for development in on-board electronics. Based on current trends, attack coming will be able to work on all types of ground targets from different distances. Also, new representatives of attack aircraft will be equipped with built-in radar and optikolokatsionnymi stations. All this will help to increment the efficiency of unguided weapons and to ensure full compatibility with the controlled aircraft. In the fight against air targets, then later on as a ground attack aircraft and can be used to hang the missiles of "air-to-air", but only for self-defense or other critical events. Give storming the hunt for enemy aircraft, no one will. The coming generation of attack aircraft will be manned, at least, it looks more possible method of its development. But a generation attack aircraft will be able to be remotely piloted already. This will provide significant weight savings, because the control equipment and its protection in the end turn out lighter and more compact bronekabiny the pilot. But the purpose of unmanned attack aircraft will remain the same — ground attack and hover over the battlefield.