Russian Su-30SM, Su-24 violate Turkish airspace. Flanker locks on TuAF F-16 for +5 minutes

Oct 05 2015 - 42 Comments

It looks like a Sukhoi Su-30SM deployed to Syria has had a close encounter with Turkish Air Force F-16s past the Syria-Turkey border.

Russian planes deployed to Syria violated the Turkish airspace twice in the last couple of days.

According to NATO, the violations occurred “on 3 October and 4 October by Russian Air Force SU-30 and SU-24 aircraft in the Hatay region. The aircraft in question entered Turkish airspace despite Turkish authorities’ clear, timely and repeated warnings. In accordance with NATO practice, Turkish fighter aircraft responded to these incursions by closing to identify the intruder, after which the Russian planes departed Turkish airspace.”

Some more (sometimes contradictory) details appeared on the Turkish media outlets: although the first reports said the aircraft (initially IDed as Mig-29 Fulcrums – a type flown by the Syrian Air Force and not deployed in theater by the RuAF) breached into the Turkish airspace for 5 miles, according to Ankara, the Russian Su-30SM multirole plane violated Tukey’s airspace by “only” some hundreds of meters and returned to Syria after it was intercepted by two F-16s from the Turkish Air Force out of 10 flying CAP (Combat Air Patrol) near the border.

Furthermore, it seems that the Russian Su-30SM (as said, initially referred to as a Mig-29, before it was determined it was a Flanker-derivative multirole jet) maintained a radar lock on one or both the F-16s for a full 5 minutes and 40 seconds.

According the Russians, the violation was due to a “navigation error”: quite funny considered the type of navigation systems equipping a modern Su-30SM.

Although the navigation error can’t never be ruled out a priori, considering the equipment carried by a 4++ Gen. aircraft, and that it was flying next to a “danger zone” there’s reason to believe that the two pilots on board were perfectly aware of their position.

What is even more weird is the fact that the Russian plane locked the Turkish F-16s for such a long time: instead of turning back the RuAF Sukhoi was ready to fire (or to respond to fire).

Almost no details are currently available about the Su-24 Fencer violation.

As explained when a Turkish RF-4 was shot down by a Syrian coastal anti-aircraft battery after violating the Syrian airspace in 2012, aircraft entering a foreign airspace should not be fired upon but warned, intercepted and eventually escorted outside the violated airspace.

In 2014, a Syrian Mi-17 was shot down by a TuAF F-16, while in 2013 it was the turn of a Syrian Mig-23. But now the Turkish F-16s defending Ankara borders face a different threat….

Image credit: Russian MoD


  • Max Glazer

    Accusing me of trolling is pretty low since the amount of “US is best, damn the rest” trolls is larger then their Russian counterparts by at least an order of magnitude.

    • tham58

      Most of those posting here know little about AAMs and EW.

  • Max Glazer

    USAF ones – yes. I was talking about Turkish ones. I should have been clearer.

    Flankers carry their R-27s with both active-radar seekers and IR seekers. Usual tactic is to fire one of each at a single target. 2 inbound missiles with different seekers and thus different tactic of avoiding them. Jammer might deceive the radar seeker of one. But still got the IR one coming in.

  • Max Glazer

    I never claimed that they make it invulnerable. However the AMRAAMs performance to date, against targets with no ECM capability, barely functioning and airworthy (Serbians) and with rather poorly trained pilots which also are unaware of being attacked, is rather unspectacular being around 55%. Against well-trained crew flying a very modern super-maneuverable fighter with modern ECM and ESM, the performance of AMRAAM would be even less stellar.

    Flankers had DRFM-based jammer pods with ESA technology since first Su-27s. They jam the incoming missile from two sides (cross-eye). The early ones were L-005 Sorbtsia. Current ones are SAP. Flankers carry them on wing tips.

    • tham58

      The Turks KNEW they were bullying a helpless F-111-class ungainly bomber, armed with nothing more than a couple of Aphids at most, which didn’t know it was going to be attacked by ”friendlies” or ”neutrals”.

      You think they would have DARED to take on a Flanker-C,
      let alone a Flanker-D ?

  • E1-Kabong

    Not exactly.

    Some newer missiles have dual-seeker heads.

    Some have semi-active guidance or use a combination of other methods.

  • Serdar

    and he has disappeared after your comment :)

  • Serdar

    takes 2 minutes for a junk submarine to sink any single russian naval force.

  • AM Fahad

    THIS is passive seeker semi active missile if you want defeat this missile you have to jam aircraft’s radar or dodge the missile. Su 30 bars m radar is jam proof

  • tham58

    They wouldn’t DARE to attack the Su-30, let along Su-35s.

    The F-16C is just a jack-of-all-trades, not a pure air superiority
    fighter with enough thrust and agility to take on those dedicated

    They’d be blown out of the sky by R-27ERs and R-77PDs long
    before they would launch their Amraams.

    • Raptor1

      I wouldnt be so sure bout that… The f-16 is no slouch, even the -C model… A small fighter, so long range shots will be difficult, especially if jamming pods are mixed in.. At the merge, the -16’s a nasty little dogfighter also, with a helmet-cued aim-9x.

  • tham58

    It’s clear you have just a very basic knowledge of AAMs and EW, when you asked the question, ”decoy flares”.

  • tham58

    Tell me, what do you know about the ALQ-156 for a start,
    without looking up ”Google” or ”Wikipedia” ?

  • tham58

    The AIM-120s have been way overrated.

    The Turkish pounced on and bullied a helpless, ungainly deep interdicton strike bomber in the class of the F-111, knowing it had nothing more than Aphids for self-defense even if it knew it was going to be attacked, let alone given any chance at evasion or countermeasures.

    They wouldn’t have DARED to do the same if that had been an Flanker-C, let alone a Flanker-E.

  • tham58

    Do you know what pod that is, without resorting to
    ”Googling” ?

    Those couldn’t save Scott 0’Grady from Gainfuls in Serbia
    over a decade ago.

  • tham58

    Didn’t you know the West Germans disposed of the East German Fulcrums for ONE EURO to Poland on unification ?