Tag Archives: Sukhoi Su-25

Ukrainian Su-27 Flanker reportedly shot down during special operation against separatists

Su-27 and Su-25

One Su-27 Flanker aircraft supporting a special operation to regain control on a military airfield taken from pro-Moscow separatists was reportedly shot down.

On Apr. 15, Ukrainian armed forces launched a special operation to recapture the airport near the town of Kramatorsk, in the Russian speaking east, taken by pro-Moscow separatists.

The operation involved several Ukrainian troops disembarked from helicopters and supported from the air by at least four combat planes: two Su-27 Flanker fighter jets and Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes.

Noteworthy, videos and photographs taken a Kramatorsk during the attack show the aircraft fully armed with live missiles.

Su-27 downed Ukraine

Image credit: via RT

Here below is a footage showing a Su-27 circling at low altitude, relatively low speed, over Kramatorsk: a quite easy target for trained soldiers using MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense Systems) or other Anti-Aircraft weaponry.

 

The news of the Su-27 shot down was spread along with a video allegedly showing the Su-27 (or generally speaking, a Ukrainian aircraft) being shot down even if that was actually footage shot in Syria last year.

Fake:

Real:

H/T to Steppen Wolf for providing additional material.

 

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Cockpit camera view from inside a Russian Air Force +20-ship formation

Filmed by cameras installed in the cockpit of Su-27SM3, Su-25SM and MiG-29 SMT this interesting video will let you join one of the mass flybys, with which the Russian Air Force celebrated its 100th anniversary at Zhukovsky, Moscow, on Aug. 11 and 12.

The pyrotechnic airshow featured heavy formations of Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic bombers, Su-27s, MiG-29s, Su-24s and the new Sukhoi PAK FA (T-50).

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Pasdaran Su-25 Frogfoot jets in action

Brought to my attention by Paolo Nurra and originally posted on the Uskowi On Iran blog, the following pictures were released in 2006 by the Fars and Mehr news agencies.

They show the Sukhoi Su-25 attack planes operated by the Pasdaran (informal name of the IRGC – the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution) taking part to the drills in the Persian Gulf.

The Frogfoot jets of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Aerospace Force (former Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Air Force) are believed to have been involved in the recent incident with a U.S. Predator off Iran. According to the information released by American officials, two Su-25s tried to shoot down an MQ-1 flying 16 miles off the coast. But failed.

The IRGC AF has added seven Iraqi Air Force Su-25s that fled to Iran in January 1991, during Operation Desert Storm. About 15-16 such planes are believed to be based at Shiraz, in eastern Iran, even if how many of them are airworthy is unclear.

Image credit: FARS and MEHR news agencies

Video shows how you should attack a drone if you really want to shoot it down

On Nov. 1, two Iranian combat planes (reportedly, Su-25 Frogfoot bombers) intercepted and tried to shoot down a U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator flying 16 miles off Iran’s coast.

The impromptu interceptors performed at least one firing pass, but failed to hit the drone with their guns.

Maybe they just fired some warning shots or had been diverted from a different mission, were at the edge of their endurance thus tried a quick shot and then returned home before being engaged by any U.S. fighter jet possibly launched by one of the American supercarriers steaming in the Persian Gulf.

Or they simply lacked the basic training needed to engage an other flying asset, a task not always easy to accomplish neither with the most advanced fighter plane and missiles available.

Regardless the reason of the failure the use of guns may not be the best option to down a drone (let’s not forget in this case the Su-25 didn’t carry air-to-air missiles, though).

The episode reminded me of a famous downing of Georgian unmanned aerial vehicle by a Russian Mig-29 on Apr. 20, 2008.

The unarmed Georgian UAV was conducting a surveillance above the breakaway Georgian territory of Abkhazia when it was approached by a Mig-29 and hit by an air-to-air missile shot at short distance.

You can see the entire scene thank to the footage transmitted live by the doomed drone before being hit.

Both the Georgian UAV and the Hezbollah drone that violated the Israeli airspace few weeks ago were downed in the same way: with an air-to-air missile fired at very close range. Something the Iranian should remember next time they attempt to kill a U.S. drone.

Iranian combat planes tried to shoot down a U.S. Predator. A weird story.

According to the CNN, that was the first to report the story, on Nov. 1, two Iranian combat planes tried to shoot down a U.S. Predator spyplane off the coast of Iran.

The American MQ-1 was flying a routine surveillance flight in international airspace some 16 miles off Iran, when, according to U.S. officials, it was approached by two Iranian planes that opened fire against it with the onboard guns.

Since the drone cameras captured the incident, the officials identified the attacking planes as two Su-25 Frogfoot bombers.

Even though the Iranian pilots continued to fire shots on several firing passes, none of them hit the Predator, that safely returned to its homebase.

So, summing up, two Iranian planes deliberately attacked a U.S. unmanned aircraft in the Persian Gulf, and missed it.

What’s weird in this story?

First of all, the type of platform used to intercept the drone. The Su-25 is not fighter jet. It is the Russian equivalent of the A-10. The Iranian Air Force does not operate any of such planes. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Aerospace Force (former Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Air Force) has added seven Iraqi Air Force Su-25s that fled to Iran in January 1991, during Operation Desert Storm.

Although this is far from being confirmed, no more than 16 Su-25s (between former Iraqi and new ones) are believed to be based by Tehran at the base of Shiraz, in eastern Iran (not far from the Persian Gulf). How many of them are airworthy is still an open question. Some believe the lack of spare parts and pilot training has sensibly reduced the amount of flying hours available with the Su-25.

The ramp at Shiraz airbase showing four Su-25s (Google Maps)

Surely, two were spotted flying at the beginning of 2012. Were those involved in the recent incident? Maybe there are a few more available, even if it must be noticed that, with all the aircraft in IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) the Frogfoot is the less likely asset to be used to intercept a hostile aircraft. Especially on the eastern coast, where Iranian air defenses should be on a heightned alert status for a possible Israeli/US attack.

Second weird thing is that the “interceptors” were armed. If they were involved in a training mission and caught the drone almost by accident, they were most probably unarmed.

I don’t find much odd the fact that they missed their target. As said the Su-25 (provided this kind of plane was really involved in the incident) is a bomber. As such, its pilots does not train that much in air-to-air gunnery. Even if a flying Predator might appear as an easy target, don’t forget that you need a certain amount of training to shoot down another aircraft, even when you are flying on a hi-tech fighter.

Do you remember the Israeli F-16 that had to fire two air-to-air missiles at the drone that had violated the Israeli airspace last month?

Still, the Su-25 is not a fast jet and it maneuvers quite well at very low speed, hence attacking a slow mover should not have been a factor. On the other side, it’s unclear why the Iranians would not dispatch other higher performance fighters if they really wanted to down the drone. Did the Su-25s only fire some warning shots to the Predator?

Most probably, more details will emerge in the following days.

Image credit: Martin Garcia/Flickr