Bulgaria receives first two Su-25s upgraded and overhauled by Belarus
The Bulgarian Air Force (BuAF) took delivery of its first pair of Su-25 close air support aircraft that were overhauled and upgraded by and received a life extension from the 558 ARZ company in Belarus. The aircraft, one single and one twin seater, were airlifted in a disassembled state to Bezmer airbase in south-eastern Bulgaria on 21-22 September, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced in a press release on 23 September. The remaining six aircraft - one twin and five single seaters - are slated for delivery until the end of February 2021.
The Bulgarian MoD signed the BGN82.5 million (USD49.2 million) contract with 558 ARZ, covering eight aircraft, in December 2018.
After the overhaul, the Su-25s are certified for a total service life of 40 years, with a life extension of 800 flight hours and 10 years of operation. The overhaul of the aircraft’s R-95Sh turbojet engines will provide a service life of 500 hours. These life extension figures will allow the BuAF to continue operating the Su-25 until 2027-28, with an option for another 10-year extension of the aircraft’s service life to 50 years, which would require another airframe and engine overhaul.
by Krasimir Grozev