TAM GE-31, Tblisi's non-Russian Sukhoi Su-25? Which potential Western engine?


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Jan 3, 2006
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"Scramble Magazine
February 14, 2018 ·

The Tbilisi Aviation Plant (Tbilaviamisheni - TAM) in Georgia is working to create a modernized version of the Soviet Su-25 attack aircraft. The aircraft will be named Ge-31 Bora. The
director of TAM, Nodar Beridze, said the Ge-31s are planned to be sold to Asian as well as African customers for a price of some USD 20-25 million apiece. Beridze mentioned that a feature of the Ge-31s will be the "absolute absence of parts of Russian production." His company is now in the process of searching the right avionica and an engine that will be either American or European-made.

Back in 2015, rumors were spread in the Georgian media that TAM was realizing a new upgraded aircraft that should receive the designation Ge-31 Bora, where "Ge" stands for "Georgia" and "31" for the former Soviet number of the Tbilisi aircraft plant (No 31).

The prototype of Ge-31 is a thoroughly modified Su-25, based on the Su-25Ks and Su-25Ts, both already manufactured in Georgia. This is not the first modernization programme for the Su-25 of TAM. In 2000, TAM worked close together with the Israeli company Elbit Systems and upgraded the attack aircraft into the Su-25KM Scorpion. The Scorpion was equipped with complete new avionics.

Looking at the Georgian Air Force itself, they are in huge operational problems, specially with servicing and preserving the fleet of the same Su-25. They are even thinking to withdraw the twelve left Su-25s from use as they almost reached their maximum resource for flights. The gain resources, Georgia sold in 2010 technology to Azerbaijan for their production and repair of Su-25. Complex!

Photo TAM"


I see there's another incomplete airframe sitting behind the "GE-31," but I can't distinguish whether the featured prototype has any visual differences from a potential incomplete or refurbished airframe from the Soviet era. Thinking about non-Russian turbofans, only the F404 comes to mind, but even a surplus J52 would offer superior thrust and similar mass flow to the R-195. The F124 provides slightly less thrust than the RD-9 turbojets of the original T8 prototype and I can't remember Safran (Snecma) ever promoting a non-afterburning M88 derivative? Rolls Royce hasn't promoted the Spey for a very long while, and I'd suppose that the higher mass flow would require larger inlets?

Looking at the Su-25 from the modern context, there would be a lot of scope for lightening the structure, as contemporary weapons load outs wouldn't require quite so many hardpoints or weight capacity, with the Su-28 prototype coming to mind. Armor seems pointless at medium altitudes, as does the fitment of a canon. From the standpoint of costs and politics, the Ukrainian Ivchenko-Progress AI-222 would be the least expensive alternative, as it seems to be produced in reasonably large number for export to China. Even the afterburning version would fit quite nicely into those big nacelles, if takeoff performance is still a priority.


Feb 12, 2017
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If they don't have to go low, let them have some Scorpions instead: cheaper, meaner, easier.


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Oct 18, 2006
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How hard would it be to chop the afterburner off one of China's bootleg R-11/R-13s?


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Jul 22, 2009
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There is a non afterburning version of the Safran M-88 available, also the Eurojet EJ200 was offered in a non afterburning format for a couple of projects. There is also the Ukrainian Ivchenko AI-9500F which is the same size/thrust category as the these other engines and cheap.


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Jan 25, 2020
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What is the current progress of this type? I first ran into this aircraft type about a year ago, and had found some photos of what seems to be an early production line, although I could be wrong as I am not 100% sure. Have any orders been received?

They have some experience when it comes to building and refurbishing the Su-25, so the possibility for serial production is there. The only problems I see with this is whether they have received any orders, whether current Su-25 owners are willing to buy new (or completely revamp) their existing fleets and whether any support (whether local or outside) has been received.

Here is their website (sources for the images):

Global Security article:


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