Online flight tracking provides interesting details about Russian air bridge to Syria

Once again, provides an insight into military operations. This time, the Russian air bridge to Syria.

Some days ago we explained how everyone (including low-tech terrorists “armed” with a mobile device and an Internet connection), could have the operational equivalent of a ground-based radar detection system to predict (and avoid) U.S. airstrikes and reconnaissance missions thanks to ADS-B, Multilateration, online tracking systems and some poor OPSEC procedures.

However, American and NATO planes are not the only ones that can be tracked on the Internet: there is a widespread tendency to leave the transponder turned on while flying close or inside sensitive areas.

For instance, in the last few days, Flightradar24 exposed the Russian military airlift from Sevastopol, in Crimea, and other bases in Russia to Syria.

On Sept. 7, two A124 Condor airlifter could be tracked until landing at Latakia, Syria.

On Sept. 9, aviation enthusiasts from all around the world tracked as much as five An-124 Condor airlifters heading towards Syria. An additional one could be tracked on Sept. 10.

Unlike the flights tracked on the previous days, the six cargo planes spotted on Sept. 9 and 10 took an easterly roundabout route to avoid the airspaces of Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus, closed to Russian aircraft supporting the military buildup in Syria.

According to several sources, at least four aircraft went through Iran/Iraq.

An-124 on roundabout route Sept. 10

Interestingly, aviation enthusiasts monitored also some Syrian Air flights of IL-76 carrying registration YK-ATA that, on Aug 22 and 28, made roundtrip flights from Latakia to Moscow on the easterly Iran/Iraq route.

Not only are An-124s flown to Syria lately. Other Russian flights from Russia to Syria include an Il-62, RA-86496, and EMERCOM (Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations) Il-76, RA-76429: the first one visited Latakia on Aug. 12, 28 and on Sept. 7, using a route via Bulgaria, and on Sept. 10, using a route via Belarus – Poland – Serbia that avoided closed airspaces.

Russian Air Force Il-62 to Syria via Bulgaria
Russian Air Force Il-62 to Syria via Bulgaria


Russian Air Force Il-62 to Syria avoiding Bulgaria
Russian Air Force Il-62 to Syria avoiding Bulgaria

Last time the EMERCOM Il-76 was in Latakia was on Aug. 17 but Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations planes visit Syria every now and then.

EMERCOM Il-76 to Latakia
EMERCOM Il-76 to Latakia

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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.