Assad launched two Syrian Air Force Su-24 attack planes towards Cyprus to probe British airbase’s air defenses

Sep 08 2013 - 4 Comments

Last week we reported the news that, on Sept. 2, the RAF Typhoons based in Cyprus, to provide the air defense of the island following the Syrian crisis, were scrambled from the British base at Akrotiri whereas two Turkish Air Force took off from Incirlik airbase and headed towards the island.

In the following days, more details about the Cyprus incident emerged.

Journalist Andrew Potter talked to the British MoD spokeperson who said: “The MOD can confirm that Typhoon Air Defence Aircraft were launched from RAF Akrotiri yesterday to  investigate unidentified aircraft over the Eastern Mediterranean; the aircraft were flying legally in international airspace; no intercept was required.”

On Sept. 8, The Sunday People / Sunday Mirror revealed that Syrian Su-24 Fencers were actually involved.

“RAF Typhoon fighters won a mid-air showdown with two Syrian warplanes heading towards Britain’s main base in Cyprus, the Sunday People can ­reveal. The dramatic confrontation came after President Bashar al-Assad’s air chiefs sent two Russian-made Sukhoi Su-24s to probe our air defences. The Syrian bombers refused to respond to repeated attempts by the control tower at the UK’s Akrotiri air base to contact them.”

RAF Typhoons from the XI Sqn in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) duty on the island, were scrambled before the Su-24s, that were flying in international airspace and were spotted by a flying E-3D AWACS could enter the 14-mile air exclusion zone. Otherwise, they would have been intercepted and identificated, and eventually escorted out of the restricted airspace.

Buzzing the enemy airspace to test its reaction time or actively disturbing the enemy training activities is not rare.

For instance, the Turkish RF-4E Phantom shot down by Syria in 2012 was probably violating the Syrian airspace to probe Damascus’s air defense readiness.

H/T to TJ for the heads-up

Image credit: SANA/Reuters

 

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  • ojeddk

    IX Sq don’t serve QRA. It’s a Tornado unit based in Marham.

  • thot

    Beware a new pearl harbor in Mediteranean sea !

  • Bluenose

    Used to be Tornado, now Typhoons at Conningsby

  • chris

    My comments are never posted by the NYT. So let me try here. Do the servicemen and women in the Air Forces and Navies (any of them) take exception to the “no boots on the ground” mantra ? Seems to me the British base is at risk, our destroyers are at risk, anything in the Strait of Hormuz is at risk. Does everyone brush it off as politics? I would be insulted that the service of those currently in harms way is being denigrated. Is that just me?