General de Division
messages : 28689
Inscrit le : 20/10/2010
Localisation : france Aiacciu
Médailles de mérite :
|Sujet: Re: Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) Mer 22 Mai 2019 - 0:14|| |
- Citation :
- Scramble Magazine
The Su-25 of the Air Force of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC-AF) possibly spotted at 558.ARZ in Belarus
Reviewing an article about modernization of the Su-25 aircraft from 22 March 2019 provided by The Belarusian Telegraph Agency BelTa has revealed an interesting detail.
One of the images showing the upgraded cockpit layout of an Su-25UB modernized by 558.ARZ (JSC 558 Aircraft Repair Plant at Baranovichi, Belarus) also reveals something else: another Su-25 with an exhaust nozzle cover sporting a designation FG-508. This marking falls nicely in line with markings applied on the Su-25s of the Air Force of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
History of the Su-25s with this elusive air force has been written since 2005, when first grainy pic of an example marked FG-501 in flight has been posted on internet forums. The bird was seemingly devoid of any roundels, with an exception of a DRC flag on the tail. Later in the same year, EUFOR soldiers were able to provide first clear pictures of its sister ships marked FG-500 (basic Su-25) and FG-502 (export Su-25K) parked alongside an ex-Libyan MiG-23U (marked FG-2000) in the hangar of the N'Dolo Airport (IATA: NLO, ICAO: FZAB), a secondary airport in the city of Kinshasa.
The origin of these three aircraft remains unknown, but all Su-25s were sporting a light green/tan camo with light blue underside, very similar to the aircraft seen in Turkmenistan or the Su-25KM demonstrator exhibited by the Georgian company TAM (Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing). The blue flag on the fin has since then been cut diagonally by a red stripe with a thin yellow frame, representing current layout of the flag of the DRC.
In 2012, spotters have provided a set of pictures of two additional Su-25s in the colors of the Air Force of the DRC during test flights at Zaporozhye-Mokraya Airport (IATA: OZH, ICAO: UKDE). The two birds have been marked FG-505 and FG-506, sporting a much darker green/tan camouflage pattern, incl. the newly introduced roundel on the fin. Interestingly, recent pictures from N’Dolo show the same pattern on FG-501 and FG-502 indicating that not only Ukraine has supplied at least two additional Su-25s from their stocks but that the MiGremont Zaporozhye State Aviation Repair Factory got a contract to refurbish the two remaining examples serving in Kinshasa.
From the limited information we have, we can assume that DRC went shopping to Minsk in order to replenish their combat aircraft stocks (two of their Sukhois are assumed crashed, one of them the FG-500) and that they contracted at least two Su-25s of unknown version from Belarus (FG-507, FG-508), which are now in a very advanced assembly stage at 558.ARZ. It is not clear whether these aircraft have been upgraded in the same manner as the Su-25s of the Kazakhstan Air Force or whether the exhibited twinseater (still in natural metal) is a part of the deal with the DRC.
Photo credit: EU, main and Guk Aleksandr via exoticairforces