Tag Archives: F-16

Russia deploys S-400 and moves guided-missile cruiser off Latakia to protect its jets near Turkish border

After the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian Su-24, Moscow has decided to deploy some air defense systems to western Syria.

Following the downing of a Russian Su-24 by the Turkish Air Force on Nov. 24, that caused the death of one pilot (the other one was rescued and brought back to Latakia on the following day) Moscow has decided to put in place some new measures to protect its air group operating in northwestern Syria.

First of all, all the Russian attack planes will be escorted by Su-30SM Flankers during their missions against ground targets in Syria (previously, they operated without air cover).

Second, Moscow has decided to deploy at least one S-400 SAM battery to Latakia, to protect its planes from aerial threats in a range of 250 miles. As explained in a previous post about this air defense system, the S-400 (SA-21 “Growler” according to the NATO designation) is believed to be able to engage all types of aerial targets including VLO (Very-Low Observable) aircraft within the range of about 400 km at an altitude of nearly 19 miles.

Third, Russia has already moved the Moskva guided-missile cruiser off the coast of Latakia. Equipped with early warning systems and outfitted with 8 S-300F Fort anti-air systems with a range of 90 km and ceiling at 25,000 mt. Actually, the cruiser has been operating in the eastern Mediterranean to provide cover to the Russian air forces in Syria since Sept. 30.

The following infographic, prepared by @Naval_Graphics, details most of the weapon and sensor systems aboard the Slava-class cruiser.

Needless to say, with all the air defense systems amassing in the area, the 18 Turkish Air Force F-16s currently on CAP (Combat Air Patrol) station at the Syrian border, while the Russian jets conduct airstrikes in the Turkmen mountains (more or less in the same area where Su-24 pilots ejected yesterday), have something more to be worried about.

Moskva info full

Image credit: @Naval_Graphics


Here’s the alleged Audio of the Turkish Air Force warning the Russian Su-24 before downing it

Hear a Turkish Air Force radar station warning an unknown aircraft about to enter the Turkish airspace.

On Nov. 24, a Russian Air Force Su-24M belonging to the contingent deployed to Latakia, in western Syria, was shot down by a Turkish Air Force F-16 after violating Ankara’s airspace in the Hatay region.

Here you can find all the details about the downing and subsequent CSAR (Combat SAR) mission launched by Russian choppers, one of those was destroyed by rebels on the ground, where the helicopter had performed an emergency landing.

The two Russian pilots, who ejected from the Su-24 in flames, died in the incident (it’s still unclear whether at least one of them died before it touched the ground or was killed by the rebels who reportedly gunned the two parachutes).

According to the Turkish authorities, the Russian plane was warned 10 times in 5 minutes while it approached the boundary with another Su-24, before it was engaged.

The violation was extremely short: flying at 19,000 feet, the Fencer crossed the Turkish airspace for 17 seconds. While one of the Fencers egressed towards the Syrian airspace, the doomed Su-24 was hit by an air-to-air missile (AIM-9X, based on the Russian report that mentions an IR-guided weapon; other sources suggested it may have been an AIM-120).

Interestingly, the Russian MoD denied any warning was radioed (by the F-16) to the Russian Su-24 at all.

This may be true because it was for sure a Turkish Air Force radar station to warn the Russian plane and to urge it to head south, away from the border.

The following audio was recorded on the international UHF Emergency frequency 243.000 MHz by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous. We have no way to verify whether the audio was really recorded earlier today and we must highlight that similar messages have been radioed to unknown/Russian aircraft in the vicinity of the Turkish airspace in the past as well and recorded/heard by radio-hams and airband listeners located in Turkey and Greece.

However, some Turkish media outlets have already published a similar recording released by the TuAF in the aftermath of the shoot-down.

Provided it was recorded today, the audio would confirm both the Turkish and Russian versions: the TuAF radar warned the “unknown” plane (as claimed by Ankara) and it was not one of the F-16 to radio the message to the Su-24 (as claimed by Moscow).

Now, listen to the audio (if you can’t see the player below click here):

Here are some stunning photos of Israeli Air Force’s largest ever international exercise

Blue Flag exercise in Israel gathered combat planes from Poland, Greece and U.S.

Blue Flag 2015 is the biggest aerial exercise in the history of the Israeli Air Force.

Kicked off on Oct. 18 and continuing through Nov. 3, the Blue Flag drills gathered to Ovda airbase, near Eilat, in southern Israel, combat planes from the U.S., Poland and Greece involved in a series of missions that saw them fight a fictional enemy through nearly all the airspace over Israel (condensation trails of the aircraft taking place in the exercise could be seen even from Tel Aviv).

Top formation

The Hellenic Air Force took part in the exercise with five F-16C/D Block 52+ jets (from 337 Sq., based at Larissa), the same type of aircraft deployed to Israel by the Polish Air Force. The U.S. Air Force brought to Ovda six F-15C belonging to the 493 FS from RAF Lakenheath, UK. All these assets joined the local squadrons of F-15 Baz, F-16C/D Barak, F-16I Sufa and the about-to-be-retired F-16A Netz aggressors.

Over Dead Sea

Although little more is known about Blue Flag, the IAF has released some cool shots showing the aircraft flying over the Dead Sea and the Negev Desert as well as on the ground at Ovda airbase.

F-16I Israeli Air Force

F-15C 493FS

Polish Air Force F-16 landing

F-16I landing

Greek Air Force F-16

Image credit: Israeli Air Force


Largest NATO Exercise since 2002 has kicked off in Italy

Exercise Trident Juncture 2015 kicked off at Trapani airbase, Italy.

On Oct. 19, Trapani airbase, Sicily, Italy, home of the 37° Stormo (Wing) of the Italian Air Force, hosted the opening ceremony of Exercise Trident Juncture 2015, the largest NATO exercise in more than 10 years.

Preziosa and DV


Running from Oct. 3 to Nov. 6 (with the live exercise taking place from Oct. 19 onwards) at 16 different locations, Trident Juncture 2015 is an advanced and much realistic exercise involving around 36,000 troops from more than 30 nations (27 NATO Allies plus partners), more than 230 units, more than 140 aircraft and more than 60 ships.

F-16s apron

The aim of TJ 2015 is to train the troops of the NATO Response Force (NRF) and other Allied forces, to increase their readiness to respond to a wide range of challenges. In other words, with the Russian military build-up at the eastern and southern flank of the alliance, its goal is to send a clear message to any potential aggressor: “The exercise will show that we can protect all our allies from any kind of threat,” said Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s top commander in Europe.

Polish F-16s

The opening ceremony included an air power demo featuring Italian Air Force KC-767 tanker and Typhoon, Tornado and AMX combat planes, Spanish F-18s, Polish, Greek, American and Portuguese F-16s.

Media day

Many other assets, including a T-346A advanced jet trainer and a Predator drone were on static display.

AMX and T-346

The Italian Air Force has deployed several assets to Trapani (MOB – Main Operating Base) of the exercise and will take part in the drills, with 6 Eurofighter Typhoon, 7 Tornado (IDS and ECR) and 4 Amx ACOL jets; 4 more Typhoons will operate from their homebase at Grosseto while a Predator drone will perform ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) missions from Amendola.

Tornado ECR

Also supporting TJ45 are a C130J and a C27J from Pisa, along with a KC-767 tanker from Pratica di Mare.

Image credit: NATO, The Aviationist’s photographers Alessandro Borsetti and Giovanni Maduli


The Turkish Air Force has shot down an unidentified drone in Turkish airspace. Known and unknown facts.

The Turkish Air Force has shot down an unidentified UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) over the Syria-Turkey border.

Turkish Air Force jets, most probably F-16s flying CAPs (Combat Air Patrols) along the Syria-Turkey border shot down an unidentified drone that had violated the Turkish airspace earlier today.

According to the information made available so far, the Turkish combat planes issued three warnings to the (unmanned) aircraft before shooting it down. Although this may seem a bit odd in this case, as the one shot down was a really small model (resembling a Russian-made Orlan 10) larger UAS (Unmanned Air Systems), controlled by a Ground Control Station usually have radios to talk with the ATC (Air Traffic Control) stations: for instance, the famous U.S. Predator and Global Hawk drones have U/VHF radios that pilots operating from the inside GCS use to talk with the air traffic control agencies along the route.

Therefore, Turkish jets may have radioed three warnings to the drone, in spite of its size, because the current RoE (Rules Of Engagement) require them to do so when intercepting an unidentified, manned or unmanned aircraft

The TuAF F-16s were on a heightened alert status since the violations of the Turkish airspace conducted by Russian Air Force Su-30SM and Su-24 aircraft in the Hatay region on Oct. 3 and 4, and subsequent  radar lock by an “unidentified” Mig-29 on Oct. 5.

Following these border skirmishes, the Turkish F-16s began responding to “MiG” radar locks by performing lock-ons on the aircraft “harassing” them. However, it’s quite likely considered the type of target, that the drone shot down today was hit with a gun strafe instead of a missile.

In Sept. 2013, a TuAF F-16 shot down a Syrian Mi-17 that had violated the Turkish airspace.

On Mar. 23, 2014 a SyAAF Mig-23 that violated the Turkish airspace by about 1 km was shot down by the F-16C 91-008 in CAP near the border.