The Su-25T’s Sunrise WCS includes a head-up display similar to the Su-27 or MiG, and it’s a welcome change for me. It makes the T model a lot easier to control. The Sunrise system also includes the SAU-8 multirole autopilot, and you will want to use that a lot. Employing it by pressing the ALT key along with one of the numbers 1-8, you can select various modes. These include items such as radar or barometric altitude hold, angle-of-bank hold, attitude-hold, waypoint-steer, and weapons-steer modes. The autopilot modes are also available in the baseline Su-25. You’ll use the altitude hold modes, the attitude hold, and the weapons-steer selections most often, because the T and the original Rook share one vice: they don’t like asymmetric loadouts. Like the ones that happen when you fire a big honkin’ missile from one side and have one left on the OTHER side you didn’t fire yet. The SAU-8 will keep you steady while you track and lock other targets. Plan on using it.
New weapons are prevalent in the upgrade. The SPPU-22 23mm gunpod is a fan favorite. You can sling four of them on either Rook, and the Sunrise, combined with the SAU-8 and Shkval or Mercuriy, gives you a neat alternative: automatic gun tracking. How do you do it? Simple! Use the Shkval to lock on a target and activate the Prichal laser rangefinder for accurate distance measurement. Select the gun pods, and use the Sunrise to select the number of hardpoints you want to fire. You can select either manual burst control or an automatic stop after 25 rounds. Once you get the “fire” cue on your HUD (LA in English, and what looks like NP in Cyrillic), simply squeeze the trigger, and hose that bad boy down — you can watch him get fragged on your television monitor when the target disappears under your nose! If manual action is your thing, you can deflect the SPPU pods’ barrels manually, and the reticule on your HUD will show you where you’re firing. Keep in mind that the Prichal gets hot when you use it, and will need to cool down between passes. Close air support, Russian style, is an exercise in patience.
Look at the changes to multiple-ejector racks for munitions such as FAB-100 bombs. They’re exquisitely detailed now, and the Sunrise system’s various release modes allow you to use the FAB-100 MER as it was meant to be used: as a honkin’ big cluster frag, much like a KMGU pod on steroids. Using the Sunrise, SAU-8’s weapons-steer mode, and Shkval in concert, the same way as in automatic gunnery, you can use Aeronautical (in the West, we call it CCRP, continuously computed release point) mode, ripple off a load of RBK cluster bombs and simply blanket targets in bomblets.