Four Sukhoi Su-25 (NATO reporting name: Frogfoot) fighters will take part in the CSTO Interaction 2021 exercises with Tajikistan, close to the Afghan border.
"Four Su-25 attack aircraft flew from a permanent airfield (Russian Kant airbase in Kyrgyzstan) and landed at the Gissar airfield near Dushanbe. During the active phase of the CSTO CRRF joint exercise Interaction-2021, attack aircraft crews will work out the search and destruction of objects of a conditional enemy," the press service of the Central Military District reported.
The Su-25 will provide air fire support for motorized rifle and tank subunits when performing combat training missions in mountainous desert terrain.
Russia has planned to conduct three exercises close to the Afghan border in October: Interaction-2021, Poisk-2021 and Echelon-2021. More than 2,700 servicemen and over 500 pieces of equipment will be involved. The core of the Russian contingent will be the units of the 201st military base.
Another tactical exercise, Cobalt-2021, involving Special Forces units of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is planned in Tajikistan in November. The CSTO is an intergovernmental military alliance in Eurasia that consists of selected post-Soviet states.
The military personnel will practice suppressing the activities of “illegal armed groups” during the drills, CSTO press secretary Vladimir Zainetdinov told Interfax on August 27.
In August, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan concluded a massive military exercise at the Harb-Maidon training ground, just 20 km from the border with Afghanistan.
These exercises are being held in the backdrop of the Taliban (banned in Russia) coming to power in Afghanistan.
During the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the 1990s, the Su-25 aircraft had come to be feared by the Taliban due to their ability to attack ground targets from low angles. Back then, the Su-25s could only carry unguided rockets and bombs. However, the Su-25s have been upgraded in recent years to carry a variety of guided missiles and precision-targeting bombs which makes them much more lethal. The modernized Su-25SM3 variant is also said to be equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled target acquisition and sighting system to allow pilots to strike designated targets without their participation.
Click here to learn more about Su-25 jet’s modernization: Russian Su-25SM3 Vs United States A10C Thunderbolt II