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.
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.
#SYRIA#Rudskoy Objective monitoring data confirmed no attempts of Turkish plane to establish communication or visual contact with Rus crew
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):
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
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.
Shortly after the fake news started doing the rounds, some images of the alleged wreckage of the Russian plane downed near the border appeared on social media. However, these turned out to be photographs of an Afghan Air Force Mi-17 crashed in 2011.
Considered that no wreckage has been found, no official protest’s been filed and that, unlike the past, there has been no official statement about any downing by the Turkish authorities, it’s safe to say that no aircraft was shot down, at least not so far.
H/T Arda Mevlutoglu for providing constant updates
During the first incident, the Russian Su-30SM (initially referred to as a Mig-29 by the Turkish military) maintained a radar lock on one or both the F-16s for a full 5 minutes and 40 seconds before the aircraft departed the Turkish airspace. As explained, this was a rather unusual incident: violations occur every now and then, but usually aircraft involved in the interception do not lock on the “target” in order to prevent dangerous situations.
Well it happened again on Oct. 5 and, to make the whole story more mysterious, it looks like the aircraft was identified as a Mig-29 from an unidentified nation/air force.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the Mig-29 locked on at least one of 8 TuAF F-16s performing CAP (Combat Air Patrol) on the border with Syria. What is more, the lock on lasted 4 minutes and 30 seconds.
In both the Oct. 3 and Oct. 5 incidents what is also quite surprising is the length of the lock on: both the Su-30SM and the Mig-29 (provided these were involved in the two close encounters) used their radars to paint the Turkish planes possibly exposing to several intelligence gathering platforms details about their systems. Indeed, if the Mig-29 is a very well-known weapons system, the emissions of the RuAF Su-30SM N011M Bars-R radar can be considered extremely interesting to both the TuAF, Israeli AF and NATO planes with ESM (Electronic Support Measures) capabilities.
By the way, what is probably a Boeing 737 Peace Eagle airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) aircraft can be spotted every now and then on Flightradar24.com circling at high altitude over southern Turkey, most probably monitoring the movements of the Russian and Syrian planes while collecting some intelligence data as well.
That said, why are the Turkish unable to determine nationality of the Mig? With all the ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) aircraft focusing on the airspace of northwestern Syria it is at least weird that a positive identification of the aircraft was not achieved. And isn’t it strange that the one later IDed as a RuAF Su-30SM was initially referred to as an “unidentified Mig-29”? Maybe the Russian Su-30SMs (the only aircraft belonging to the Russian contingent that have not been repainted with the Red Star insignia yet) and the Syrian Mig-29s are flying missions along the border with Turkey together making identification more difficult? Unlikely, considering once again the amount of allied AEW (Airborne Early Warning) aircraft in the vicinity.
Anyway, close encounters do not only involve Turkish and Syrian/Russian aircraft.