A video, filmed in central Syria today allegedly shows the first ISIS jet in flight.
In the last few days, several media outlets reported the news that the Islamic State has started combat operations using “Mig” fighter jets from an airbase in Syria.
Indeed, in 2014, ISIS has captured two airbases in central Syria, Tabqa and Kshesh, where Islamic State fighters have seized some Syrian Arab Air Force airplanes. Among these aircraft, several Mig-21s and L-39s, some of those, if not airworthy, were probably at least in pretty good shape.
Photos of IS fighters posing next to intact L-39s at Kshesh, about 70 kilometers to the east of Aleppo, have been published on several websites and social media: some of them show the combat trainers in near operational conditions.
Obviously, the mere fact that some aircraft, with some missing parts were captured by ISIS, does not mean they now have an Air Force. Still, their capability to bring a few of those “Migs” to flight conditions should not be underestimated: with the help of the Iraqi personnel formerly serving with the Iraqi Air Force the three planes were reportedly brought back to operational status at Kshesh. Most probably piloted by Iraqi, IS supporters or mercenaries.
On Oct. 18, a video reportedly filmed near Kshesh emerged. It shows a jet landing at the airbase under IS control in central Syria.
Although it’s not easy to guess the type of aircraft, it may be an L-39.
As said, the fact that some aircraft have been brought to operational status is far from being surprising. What’s weird is that U.S. aircraft involved in Operation Inherent Resolve (as the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS was dubbed) have not yet targeted Kshesh airbase to wipe out the first three aircraft of the quite basic IS Air Force…
It was the first night mission of the Rafales since the beginning of Operation Chammal (as the French have dubbed their participation to the air campaign against ISIS), another 7 hour mission which required several aerial refuelings from both FAF C-135FR and U.S. KC-10 Extender.
Whilst it was impossible to determine the town that was barely visible below the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets in the images and video we posted last week, in this case, the French Air Force not only posted the photographs, but also said that the city in the background is Iraq capitcal town Baghdad.
That’s why aircraft must be refueled mid-air by tankers several times, to be able to remain in the air for the 6 – 7 (or more) hours required to reach northern Syria and return to Al Dhafra in the UAE after dropping ordnance.
Here’s an interesting video showing the stealth multi-role fighter jets take fuel from a KC-10 Extender tanker during on Sept. 27, 2014.
On top is an interesting photo showing one “Bone”(from “B-One”) refueling at night from a KC-135 during an air strike on Sept. 27, as it ignites the afterburners to accelerate in bound to the subsequent waypoint along its route.
Here’s the effect of the first British air strike on ISIS in Iraq.
On Sept. 30, RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft from RAF Akrotiri airbase, Cyprus, attacked ISIS positions in northwestern Iraq.
The two planes, were flying an armed reconnaissance mission when they were tasked to support Kurdish troops who were under attack from ISIS terrorists.
During the second strike, the British “Tonkas” destroyed a “technical” (armed pick-up truck) with a Brimstone missile.
The Brimstone, is a fire-and-forget anti-armour missile, first fielded during 2008 after an urgent operational requirement, used on the RAF’s Harriers during operations over Afghanistan, that became the RAF weapons of choice during in the Air War over Libya.
Optimized for use against fast moving platforms, these small guided missiles feature a warhead of 9 kg and have a range of 7.5 miles. They use a millimeter wave (mmW) radar seeker with a semi-active laser (SAL) that enables final guidance to the target by either the launching platform or another plane, and are perfect to destroy a vehicle with very low collateral damage risk, and an accuracy of about 1 – 2 meters.