The aircraft we like to introduce today is the Soko G-4 Super Galeb which is currently serving the Yugoslavian Air Force as their trainer jet and the light attack aircraft. The aircraft is marvel designed by the Aeronautical Technical Institute based in Zarkovo while the manufacturing of the aircraft was conducted by another company named SOKO in their factory located in Mostar.
The Soko G-4 Super Galeb also known by the nickname Super Seagull was developed back in 1970 to replace its predecessor trainer jet Soko G2-Galeb that was in service of the Yugoslav Air Force. The aircraft after the development of its first prototype was up for its maiden flight back on July 17th, 1078 and the aircraft at the time were designated as G-4 PPP and later as G-4. The series production of the Soko G-4 Super Galeb started back in 1983and the assembly line continued until 1991 during which 85 of these aircraft were manufactured and 6 of them were exported to the Myanmar Air Force.
The aircraft took part in the Yugoslav Air Force during the Yugoslavian Wars for the ground attack missions during which only 4 of them were lost to enemy forces. One Soko G-4 Super Galeb was left in the Republic Srpska Air Force and the largest operator for this aircraft is the Serbia Air Force who went on to acquire the Super Galebs from Yugoslavian republic. The aircraft is currently undergoing modernization after which it is to serve well until 2030.
Development and first flight:-
The origin of the Soko G-4 Super Galeb comes from the needs of the Yugoslavian Air Force to replace their aging fleet of the Soko G-2 Galeb which was a straight wing trainer aircraft that was developed back in the 1950s. The design for this new trainer jet along with the role of a light attack fighter was created by a company called Aeronautical Technical Institute based in the region of Zarkovo while the manufacturing of the said design was carried out by Soko in one of their factories for aircraft manufacturing located in Mostar.
The first 2 prototypes of this aircraft were ready by the year 1978 and after completing their ground evaluation and testing phases; these aircraft took their maiden flight back on July 17th, 1978 while the pre-production 6 prototypes took their first flight back on 17th December 1980.
The design of the Soko G-4 Super Galeb resembles that of a modern trainer aircraft. The aircraft features a short nose cone that has a cockpit located aft to it which features a two-person tandem seating configuration; one for the student in front and another for the instructor in the back. The canopy of the aircraft is of the multi-piece unit which has individual avionics systems for both pilots along with framed components in front of them.
Intakes for the engine are located on either side of the fuselage for aspiration. Wings are of low mounted assemblies that are fixed in the middle of the aircraft’s overall design. The empennage of the Soko G-4 Super Galeb is consistent with a single tail fin that has horizontal tailplanes.
As for the undercarriage of the Soko G-4 Super Galeb, it is of the conventional tricycle configuration that has two main landing gears and one rear landing gear; each of them with one wheel.
Powerplant and performance:-
The Soko G-4 Super Galeb is powered by a single-engine that is buried deep in the aircraft’s fuselage. The engine is of the British origin which is produced in the country under the license from Rolls Royce. It is the Rolls Royce Viper Mk 632-46 series turbojet engine that creates a thrust of about 4000lbs. the top speed mustered by the aircraft is about 565 mph with the maximum range being 1553 miles. The aircraft maintains the service ceiling of about 42160 feet with the climbing rate being 6100 ft/min.
Dimensionally speaking, the aircraft has a wingspan of 32 feet and 5 inches with the overall length being 37 feet and 2 inches while the height is about 14 feet. The aircraft weighs about 7000 lbs with the MTOW (Maximum Takeoff Weight) being 14000 lbs.
For the standard armament configuration, the aircraft is fitted with a single defensive cannon of the Soviet GSh-23L series. This defensive capability is further increased with the Soko G-4 Super Galeb’s ability to carry an external ordnance load of 4000 lbs on its 4 hardpoints. As for the 23 mm GSh-23 L cannon pod, it can be removed to attach the drop ordnance.
As for the external ordnance carrying capabilities, the aircraft can be equipped with the following munitions.
- Drop bombs
- Cluster bombs
- Rocket pods air-too-air missiles
- Air-to-surface missiles
The base model for the Soko G-4 Super Galeb is the G-4 that maintains its strike capabilities while the G-4s is the unarmed version of the Super Galeb. As for the G-4t, it is a towing platform and the G-4M being the advanced prototype.
The most modernized variant of the Soko G-4 Super Galeb is the G-4MD which is made better with digital upgrades like the following.
- Heads Up Display (HUD)
- GPS Navigation system
- Identification Friend OR Foe (IFF)
- Hands-on Throttle and Stick (HOTAS)
This G-4MD was the result of the Serbian Air Force’s program to create 15 such models of the Super Galeb that will extend their life to serve until the 2030s.
The first notable combat service of the Soko G-4 Super Galeb started back in the 1990s when they took part in Yugoslavian Air Force in the Yugoslavian Wars that led to the dissolution of Yugoslavia. The aircraft performed its light attack roles during the Kosovo War as well and only 4 of them were lost it he conflict.
However, during 1999’s NATO bombing in Bosnia, many of the Soko G-4 Super Galebs that were in the factory of Soko located in Mostar, Bosnia were destroyed.
The current largest operator of the Soko G-4 Super Galeb is the Serbian Air Force along with Montenegro Air Force and the Myanmar Air force. Serbia has 24 of these Soko G-4 Super Galeb aircraft while Montenegro has 17 and Myanmar has 6 as for the former operators of the Soko G-4 Super Galeb, they are Yugoslavia and Republika Srpska.