Join a Bulgarian Su-25UBK Frogfoot On A Mission At The Black Sea Range During “Shabla 2020” Exercise

A Su-25UBK fires rockets during Shabla 2020 exercise. (Image credit: screenshot from BAF video embedded below).

Ever wondered what the view from a pylon of a Frogfoot looks like? Here it is.

Bulgarian Air Force combat aircraft, including MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-25 Frogfoot jets, have recently taken part in Shabla 2020 exercise. Held from June 10 to 13 at the military training range located close to the Black Sea town of Shabla and the adjacent Black Sea aquatory, the yearly drills involved all kinds of firing activities, from the launch of air-to-air missiles, to the use of rockets, to the artillery fire.

Among the material released by the Bulgarian Air Force, one video is really worth a look. Filmed with a camera attached to one of underwing pylons, it shows a sortie at the sea range by a Su-25UBK Frogfoot attack aircraft carrying UB-32A rocket pods for S-5 rockets.

Despite the background music (to be honest, I like footage with original audio/noise, even though in this case the clip features a Metallica song….), the video is interesting as it shows the two-seater jet taxi, take-off and engage the range to fire S-5 rockets from the 57 mm, 32-salvo rocket pod that was developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970 for CAS (Close Air Support) and ground attack missions and is also frequently carried by gunship helicopters.

By the way, this was not the first time the Bulgarian Air Force attached cameras to a Frogfoot pylon. Take a look at this stunning video filmed in 2018:

The Sukhoi Su-25 Grach (Russian for “Rook”), NATO reporting name Frogfoot, is a single-seat, twin-engine jet attack aircraft developed in the Soviet Union to provide CAS for the Soviet Ground Forces. The first prototype took to the air for the first time in February 1975. They were used in the Afghan and Ossetia theatres, in the Russia – Georgia conflict, back in 2008 as well as in Syria where they were first deployed in 2015.

The Bulgarian Air Force operates a small fleet of 10 single-seat Su-25K and four two-seat Su-25UBK which are assigned to the 1/22 Shturmova Avio Eskadrila of the 22 Shturmova Aviacionna Basa (22.ShtAB) at Bezmer Air Base.

As a side note, dealing with rockets and Su-25s, you’d probably remember the incident that occurred on Apr. 17, 2020, when a rocket accidentally fired by a Chadian Air Force Su-25 Frogfoot parked at Base Aérienne Kossei NDjamena, Chad, struck an empty tanker truck, missed a French Air Force C-130H from the Escadron de transport (Transport Squadron) 2/61 Franche Comté, and landed in the house of Deputy Commander of the Presidential Guard, General Mahamata Salaha Brahima, killing two children and two adults, and wounding two others.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.