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.