Since it made its first appearance on-line in the night of Jul. 24, I’ve been asked to identify the “mysterious” aircraft spotted over Aleppo earlier on the same day.
Depicted in a BBC report as one of more “Russian-made MiG planes [that] arced through the sky. We watched as they dropped in, bombing and strafing rebel positions” the combat plane is a Syrian Arab Air Force L-39, a combat trainer.
The aircraft can (at least theoretically) be equipped with an under fuselage gun pod and external stores (bombs, rockets and missiles) carried on the four underwing hardpoints (up to 1,000 kg of stores).
Unfortunately, the quality of the following video, that is the best I’ve seen so far, does not give the possibility to see whether the plane is carrying any weapon.
Even if, based on reports, the L-39 (or other “Migs” that are not visible in the footage) was used to drop bombs on rebel position, it could also be used for reconnaissance purposes only (without any armament).
- New videos show Syrian gunship helicopters dropping bombs on Homs and Damascus (theaviationist.com)
- Impressive video: Syria flexes muscles with live firing exercise including Mig-29s, Mig-23s, Mig-21s, Su-24s and gunship helicopters (theaviationist.com)
- [Updated] Syrian Air Force Mig-21 fighter jet defects to Jordan (theaviationist.com)