Soko G-4M Super Galeb: Soviet Tech Meets American

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Soko G-4M Super Galeb, Yugoslav Air Force, 1999
Part of the Yugoslav Air Tree suggestion

Introduction:
The Soko G-4M Super Galeb (also known by its planned Air Force designation N-62M) was a Yugoslav prototype for an upgraded G-4 trainer/attack jet fitted with heavier weaponry, modern avionics, as well as guided R-60s and AGM-65s. It did not have the chance to prove itself in combat, but represents the peak of Yugoslav domestically produced trainers/light attackers.

Specifications:
Crew: 2

Dimensions
Length: 11.86 m
Wingspan: 10.05 m (with AAMs)
Height: 4.28 m
Wing area: 19.5 m²

Mass
Empty: 3,284 kg
Max take-off: 6,400 kg

Propulsion
Engine: Rolls Royce Viper Mk 632-46
Thrust: 17.8 kN

Performance
Maximum speed: 910 km/h
Minimum speed: 171 km/h
Climb rate: 30 m/s
Turn radius: ~760 m (740 km/h, sea level)
Range: <1,700 km
Flight ceiling: 14,800 m

Instant turn rate: 27°/s
Sustained turn rate: 17°/s
Stated G-load limit: +8/-4.2 G

Armament
GSh-23L 23 mm twin-barrel cannon in a removable ventral pod (200 rounds)

4 wing hardpoints (2 inner are rated at 500 kg and 2 outer at 350 kg):

  • 2x 500kg bombs (inner hardpoints only)
    • None used operationally by the JRV
  • 4x 250kg FAB-250 bombs
  • 4x 500lb Mk 82 Snakeye high-drag bombs
  • 4x 750lb bombs
    • Unclear if any 750lb bombs were operated or tested by the JRV
  • 4x SN-3-100 carriers for 3 100kg bombs each
  • 4x 150lt PLAB-150 napalm bombs
  • 4x 200lt PLAB-200 napalm bombs
  • 4x 420lt PLAB-350 napalm bombs
  • 4x L-128-04 rocket launchers
    • 4x domestic 128mm NRZ-128 “Munja” rockets
      • M74 HE warhead
      • M80 HEAT warhead
  • 4x L-16-57 rocket launchers
    • 16x 57mm BR-1-57 (S-5M) rockets or
    • 16x 57mm BR-2-57 (S-5K) rockets
  • 2x Grom manually-guided air-to-ground missiles (inner hardpoints only)
  • 2x AGM-65B TV-guided air-to-ground missiles (outer hardpoints only)

2 wing-tip missile rails:

  • 2x R-60 or R-60MK air-to-air missiles

Countermeasures:

  • 2x POJ-264 containers, each has 40 flares (IC-3) and 8 chaff (PA-1)

RWR:

  • Iskra SO-1 (local copy of the SPO-10)
    • 4 warning lights to show signal direction

History:
Not long after the light attack/trainer aircraft G-4 Super Galeb entered service with the Yugoslav Air Force, various plans were being drawn up for its modernization. The initial idea was ambitious, replacing the engine with a stronger Viper Mk.680, integrating AAMs and various other guided weapons. However, worsening relations with the West made importing the necessary equipment difficult, and so a more modest version of the upgrade was chosen. In November of 1990, G-4 No.23646 was sent to the Soko factory in Mostar to become a technology demonstrator for the new variant, the “G-4M”.

Completion of the demonstrator was greatly delayed by Yugoslavia’s collapse. Financial reasons and a lack of interest from the Air Force set it back, while the unfinished G-4M had to be moved from Mostar to the Utva factory so that work on it could continue. The G-4M was first shown publicly in the Batajnica 1998 air show, and made its first flight on March 22, 1999, only two days before the start of the NATO bombing campaign.

The upgrade entailed increasing the capacity of the hardpoints (inner went from 350 to 500 kg, outer from 250 to 350 kg), various avionics like a HUD, MFDs and chaff/flare dispensers. Additionally, American AGM-65s could be fitted to the outer pylons and R-60 missiles for air defense were mounted on the wingtips. At one point, it was also tested with Grom AGMs. The G-4M was not ready for combat, so it stayed on the Batajnica airfield but was still lightly damaged by the NATO bombings. It was repaired in Utva’s factory and was returned to the Aviation Test Center in August 2001. It flew again on April 23, 2002, but the project was abandoned in the 2000s due to a lack of funding and advancements in technology. In 2021, the sole G-4M prototype was displayed in the Banjica 2 Barracks in Belgrade. Another modernization program, the G-4MD, has been studied but has not significantly progressed.

Gallery:

Gallery


On display in Banjica 2.


Shown testing Grom AGMs here.

Sources:

Sources

Soko G-4 Super Galeb: Development, Combat, and Future Upgrades - Spec Ops Magazine

Ponovo u centru pažnje: Istorija planova modernizacije aviona Super Galeb G-4 - Tango Six

[FOTO] Ministarstvo odbrane za Tango Six: G-4M deo nove postavke u kasarni Banjica 2 - Tango Six

Foto-reportaža: Prvi let "Super Galeba" G-4M posle bombardovanja - Tango Six

https://vazduhoplovnetradicijesrbije.rs/index.php/clanak/g4-super-galeb

Haditechnika article on the G-4 [G4 Haditechnika | PDF]

8 Likes

As a Serbian, it would make me extremely happy to get a chance to fly this aircraft in a tree dedicated to the people from the Balkans. +1

4 Likes

This is the pinnacle of light attack aircraft prowess, and it comes from Yugoslavia! +1

1 Like

Big +1 for Yugo!

1 Like

+1, the least unique Yugo jet be like lmao

1 Like