Category Archives: Syria

[Photo] F-22 Raptor stealth jet pilot flies air strike in Syria with U.S. flag in the cockpit

Close up image unveils an interesting detail inside the cockpit of an F-22 Raptor.

The photo in this post shows an F-22 Raptor of the 1st Fighter Wing, taking fuel after a mission over Syria, where the stealth fighter jet had its baptism of fire operating along other U.S. assets including the F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft.

The image, taken from a KC-135 tanker (based at Al Udeid, Qatar), shows an interesting detail inside the cockpit of the F-22, based at Al Dhafra, UAE, where the Strike Eagles are deployed as well: a U.S. flag.

It’s not infrequent for U.S. pilots to carry the American flag inside the cockpit during real ops and wars.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force via Guido Olimpio

 

F-15E Strike Eagles took part in the first air strikes in Syria along with stealth F-22 Raptor Jets

Not only F-22 Raptors conducted the air strikes on ISIS in Syria. F-15E Strike Eagles took part to the first coalition strike package.

According to the U.S. Air Force, F-15E Strike Eagles were part of the large coalition strike package that was the first to strike ISIS targets in Syria.

The attack planes, that were already taking part in the offensive against terrorist in Iraq, must have been those of the 48th Fighter Wing, from RAF Lakenheath, currently deployed to Al Udeid, Qatar Al Dhafra, UAE.

Although it could be guessed, the opening wave of the air strikes in Syria included a mix of stealth and conventional planes. Among them, there were also F-15E Strike Eagles that, although far from being radar-evading, can carry more weaponry than the F-22s that, according to official sources, employed only two 1,000-lb GBU-32 GPS-guided JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions).

So, were the F-22s really necessary?

Yes and no.

For sure the air strikes take place well inside an airspace still guarded by Syrian air defense radars and surface to air missile batteries, where Syrian planes involved in their domestic war against rebels, usually operate. Moreover it’s quite difficult to assess the current state of the Syrian air defenses (some equipment was seized by rebels, other systems were probably restored or being restored, others may be in the hands of some groups, etc.) and, considered that it seems these first strikes were not aimed at the Syrian anti-aircraft equipment, it’s safe to say they can still theoretically pose a threat to U.S. and allied airplanes. Do you remember what happened to the Turkish RF-4E shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft artillery fire a couple of years ago?

Even if any sort of reaction by some of these Syrian air defenses was and still is quite unlikely, stealth planes, supported by EW (Electronic Warfare) platforms, could be used to attack targets close to SAM batteries and other dangerous spots.

Hence, the F-22 Raptor stealth fighters were useful because of their ability to enter, mostly undetected, an anti-access target aerea, gather details about the enemy systems with their extremely advanced onboard sensors, escort other unstealthy planes and, last but not least, attack their own targets with JDAMs.

In recent exercises, F-22s flew dual missions that they will probably fly over Syria as well: HVAAE (High Value Air Asset Escort) and air-to-surface, providing the capability to perform an immediate restrike on the same target (or one nearby), if needed.

Moreover, the U.S. has invested a lot in the F-22 Raptor and the U.S. Air Force has worked so much in the last few years to turn the troubled, expensive interceptor into a real multi-role platform that could be eventually used in a real operation.

And it must not be forgotten that recent conflicts have always been a marketing opportunity” to “advertise” and/or test old and new weapons systems; in this case it was also the chance to appease those who criticised the costly stealth plane and the fact it was never used in combat (until yesterday).

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

Video shows Syrian Su-24 Fencer shot down by Israeli Patriot

A Syrian Su-24 Fencer was shot down by a Patriot surface-to-air missile over Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

On Sept. 23, a Syrian Su-24 Fencer attack plane was shot down by an Israeli Patriot SAM (surface-to-air missile) battery after it penetrated the airspace over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights at around 08.57 AM LT and then penetrated the Israeli-controlled airspace.

The plane violated the Israeli-controlled airspace by only 800 meters, at an altitude between 10,000 and 14,000 feet, and was shot down in 1 minute and 20 seconds after the decision to shoot it down was finalised.

Borth crew members successfully ejected from the Fencer.

The following video shows the wreckage of the plane falling down after being hit and then the parachutes of the two pilots.

Although the Israeli Air Force has shot down remotely piloted vehicles in the past (a drone was downed by a SAM battery in August), this is the first time a Syrian plane is shot down while infiltrating the Israeli airspace since the beginning of the Syrian Uprising.

H/T ACIG.info for the heads-up

 

There’s a lonely Il-76T cargo plane over central Syria right now

In spite of the U.S. and allied air strikes over Syria, there’s a Russian Il-76 over central Russia right now.

Not only U.S. combat planes including F-22s and F-16s are currently operating inside the Syrian airspace.

According to Flightradar24.com a lonely Il-76T cargo is currently overflying central Syria. Interestingly, in spite of the Syrian registration “YK-ATB” FR24 tagged the plane as Russian Air Force…

Callsign is “Manny6″.

Image credit: Flightradar24.com

 

Weapons system video of first F-22 Raptor air strike on ISIS in Syria.

This video shows an attack on a ISIS compound that, according to the Pentagon, was struck by F-22 Raptors at their baptism of fire.

Earlier today, the Pentagon released the imagery of a compound near Ar Raqqah attacked by U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors before and after the raid conducted by the stealth jets.

Pre-Post F-22 strike

Now take a look at the following video, recorded by an unspecified aircraft on board camera system of this ISIS compound northwest of Ar Raqqah. It’s the very same shape, damage and all, hence it must be the very same plane.

What remains unknown is what F-22 system recorded the footage (provided it was the Raptor and not a drone).

Was the Raptor equipped with an IRST (Infra-Red Search and Tracking) system? Or maybe the one above is not a video recorded by a lens but it is a radar image generated by the F-22’s APG-77v1 radar which provides high-resolution synthetic aperture radar mapping, ground moving target indication and track (GMTI/GMTT), automatic cueing and recognition, combat identification, etc. It would be at super-high-definition, so defined it seems a video recorded with a FLIR…but who knows, maybe the F-22 uses such an advanced radar….

Still, SAR can see through smoke, fog etc. so, it’s quite unlike it is an image taken by the plane itself. It was most probably taken by a nearby drone (raising the question: if a drone was operating nearby, why wasn’t a Reaper dispatched to hit the compound?).