Turkey sends 25 F-16 fighter jets close to the Syrian border

As Syria and Turkey exchange fire for the seventh straight day, Ankara has announced up to 25 F-16 fighter jets were moved closer to the border, at Diyarbakir airbase.

The aircraft represent the manned component of the reinforced Turkish air defense system in the region that includes both Hawk and Stinger anti-aircraft units that have already been put on heightened alert status for months.

The multi-role planes, that can be used to both launch air strikes and intercept any Syrian aircraft getting a bit too close to the border, have joined two local-based squadrons of F-16C/D Block 40s (181 and 182 Filo) as well as F-4 Phantom jets (similar to the reconnaissance one shot down inside the Syrian airspace on Jun. 22) already deployed there and involved in previous retaliation attacks.

In fact, according to some Turkish media outlets, the F-4s from Diyarbakir were used to designate ground targets beyond the border that had been detected through AN/TPQ-36 mobile land radars. Rounds were then fired by Firtina howitzers targeting artillery units in Tel Abyad.

The Firtina is capable to maneuver on all sorts of land, making six shots in one minute at a distance up to 40 kilometers, and then move quite fast, to reduce the risk of being subjected to enemy fire.

Image credit: Turkish Air Force

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.