Watch Su-25 Attack Planes Perform Ultra-Low Maneuvering to Avoid Air Defense Missile – Video clips shared this week show Su-25 fighter planes performing ultra-low level maneuvers and being fired at by anti-aircraft missiles. Flying low to the ground, the fighter planes purposely attempted to avoid IR-guided air defense systems.
Both the Ukrainian and Russian militaries use the planes, and different accounts sharing the same footage claim that both sides operated the fighter jets. It’s unclear, therefore, who is actually flying the jets in the two clips, but the maneuvers performed by the jets indicates that they were purposely trying to avoid man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).
The Su-25 is referred to as the “Frogfoot” by NATO countries. It is a single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft first developed in the Soviet Union. The plane was used heavily during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and was later deployed against Iran in the 1980s.
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In a clip shared on Telegram and later to Instagram, two Su-25s can be seen escaping a number of anti-aircraft missiles. The planes drop to a low altitude and fly at high speeds across what looks to be an agricultural field. The planes successfully outmaneuver the MANPADS.
An additional clip shows four planes flying over fields in Kharkiv Oblast, also at low altitudes.
The videos appear to be genuine, though nobody can say for certain whether the planes were flown by Russian or Ukrainian pilots. It is also unclear whether the two videos were recorded in the same place at the same time.
Some speculate that the color of the Su-25 fighter jets is not dark enough to be a Russian plane.
What Are MANPADS?
MANPADS are portable surface-to-air missile systems designed to be used by a single soldier. The missile systems are typically launched from tubes that fit over the shoulder.
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First developed in the 1950s, MANPADS today are significantly more advanced than they used to be. Javelin missile systems are one of the most popular MANPADS used by the Ukrainian military, manufactured by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.
MANPAD systems use missiles with several kinds of guidance systems. Laser-guided rockets use beam-riding guidance to find a target. These missiles require an operator to continually track a moving target for the rocket to follow.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) May 17, 2022
Command line-of-sight rockets work by focusing a magnified optical sight onto a moving target and then using radio controls to fly the missile to the target.
Infrared rockets are designed to follow a heat source.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.