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The Vietnam War showed that the need still existed for dedicated strike aircraft performing World War II-style close air support missions. Hence, in 1968, the Sukhoi Design Bureau started work on an aircraft initially known as the SPB (the acronym stood for "battlefield support aircraft") and then as the T-8. First flown in February 1975, the aircraft incorporated much of the philosophy which had gone into the famous Ilyushin Il-2 attack aircraft, including a forward fuselage made of welded armor to offer maximum protection for the pilot. Designated Su-25 in service, the aircraft entered the fray of the Afghan War immediately after entering service with the Soviet Air Force and quickly earned a reputation as a mean fighting machine. The survivability measures incorporated by the Sukhoi OKB more than paid off, the aircraft often coming home with tremendous damage inflicted by Stinger missiles. The type has also seen action in other parts of the world, including Angola and Bosnia. This book contains approximately 200 black-and-white and color photos illustrating the Su-25's development and service, detailing the various versions and operator nations. Photos are provided with detailed captions.
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