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Close air support jets are specialized warbirds designed for two things – to provide frontline assault operations and assist ground forces. As such, these planes require significant armor and a formidable array of weapons. Because of their dangerous role, only two aircraft in the world were purposefully built for this task: The Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot and the Fairchild A-10 Warthog. So how do they compare against each other?
The primary function of the Warthog is to breach enemy air defenses, eliminate armored targets, and return to base. Its heavily armored plating, unique engine placement (shielded by its horizontal stabilizers), and enormous cannon that the plane is designed around are more than enough for this flying tank to wreak havoc over the battlefield.
Also classified as an air-support attack aircraft, the Frogfoot is configured as a multi-purpose attacker that relies on its higher cruising speeds, ground cover, and maneuverability to evade enemy fire and emerge unscathed in combat.
Frogfoots are also smaller and lighter, only able to carry 9,700 lbs of payload compared to the Warthog’s 16,000 lbs. However, the former is faster and more maneuverable, making it a more challenging target to hit.
Moreover, the A-10’s GAU-8/A Avenger holds a thousand rounds of ammunition and can fire 4,000 depleted uranium armor-piercing rounds per minute, allowing it to destroy tanks and other armored targets effectively.
On the other hand, the Su-25 is fitted with a Gsh-30-2 gun that is three times lighter than the Avenger. It only carries 250 rounds but can be supplemented with SPPU-22 gun pods to be equipped with two Gsh-23 autocannons with 260 rounds.
What really sets these two apart are their engines. Powerful TF-34 engines power a-10s, while the Su-25 is fitted with weaker-but-multi-fueled R-95 engines.
Nevertheless, the A-10’s design limits the aircraft’s top speed to 439mph compared to the Frogfoot’s higher top speed of 606 mph.
Still, the Warthog has almost double that of the Frogfoot’s operational range.