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 1986 Lt. Col Rutskoy from the 378th OShAP was shot down while attacking the Mujahedeen. His style of flying was characterized as reckless by his own fellow pilots. After recovering he returned to duty and even though he had seniority he continued to fly. On August 4, 1988 Rutskoy along with another Su-25 carried out a sortie to mark a training camp 6 miles inside Pakistan territory. The Su-25s soon came under attack from a PAF F-16 that downed Rotskoy. Rotskoy ejected, was captured and held for two weeks.