In 1999 Russia decided to upgrade their aging Su-25 aircraft with actual work beginning in 2001. The first of the upgraded aircraft designated Su-25SM (Stroyevoy Modernizirovannyi) Grach (Rook) flew on March 3, 2002 with the first six modernized aircraft entering service with the Russian Air Force in December 2006. The idea behind the modernization was to expand the life of the Su-25, make it All-Weather capable, more lethal and reduce operating and maintenance cost. Increased ordnance loads and a wider selection were also added.
In August of 2012 Su-25SM c/n 25508110393 “06 Red” had just completed an updating service which included a new paint scheme of the latest dark grey. The work was performed by the 121 AOP located at Kubinka and hadn’t been returned to operational duty and was put on display at Zhukovsky as part of the celebration of the Russian Air Force 100th Anniversary Air Show. The Russian Air Force has approximately 250 Su-25s with over 80 of them upgraded to the new SM standards.