Russia deploys S-400 and moves guided-missile cruiser off Latakia to protect its jets near Turkish border

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.

Moskva info full

Image credit: @Naval_Graphics


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.


    • What is hilarious is your absence of knowledge about Russian arms…
      Turkey would be destroyed in about a day in case it attacks first a Russian ship in foreign country,
      thus loosing the right to invoke Nato Article 5.
      Because Nato defends its members against agression by other countries,so,”Moskva”would need to enter Turkish teritorrial waters, shooting at Turkish assets.
      In this situation, “Moskva” is defending Russian airplane in Syrian territory where they are legally conducting anti-terrorist operations(not just Isis,all rebels are terrorists)
      In case any Turkish F-16 flies into Syrian territory, well, calculate yourself how much time it has until burning in flames.
      2500m/second is about 5500miles per hour.
      How far is Latakia from Turkish border?50-70 miles?
      So, Turkish F-16 may be hit in matter of seconds
      Today and yesterday Russian airplanes made 35 sorties in retaliation over disputed area where Su-24 was shot down.
      Noumerous terrorist and their trucsk were destroyed with not a single turkish F-16 showing up.
      Wonder why…?

      • Even funnier is your delusional belief that Russia could stand up to NATO.

        Your Russian pals are attacking anti-government rebels.

        NOT Muslim terrorists….

        Speaking of legalities, let’s talk about Russia’s INVASION of the Ukraine, shall we?

  1. I am curious about something, the SU-24 would have known if it was targeted by a radar lock just as the F16’s have been by Russian radar, unless the Russians planes do not have radar warning devices they should have taken evasive action. They claim there was no warning received, but I find that hard to believe as the F16’s would have locked on the SU-24 warning them by their own receivers. What do you all think?

    • The F-16’s could have locked on it for just a few seconds before launching their Sidewinders. That’s what the rescued second pilot said. The Su-24’s have radar warnigns systems as their standard equipment.

    • Most probable that it was AIM-9 or AIM-7 missile with IR guidance, they do not need radar lock. SU-24 was approaching landing zone with low speed (on the video you can see that his wings were at a position for take-off/landing not for cruise/supersonic speed) and had it’s engines, hottest spot of a jet, facing approaching turkish planes.
      And as his altitude was around 6000m which is out of range of man-held AA armaments flares were not engaged. Sitting duck for trecherous shot in the back.

      • AIM-7’s aren’t carried by F-16’s anymore.
        Nor do they have IR guidance.

        AIM-9L/M’s are all-aspect capable.

        Some MANPADS can reach 6000M.

        Speaking of treachery, let’s talk about Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, shall we?

    • I was thinking the same thing. Perhaps the Russian pilot thought it was a bluff based upon recent encounters? Bad situation all around.

    • IR AAMs don’t need radar lock, and offer no warning to the target. If the pilot doesn’t see the missile(s) trail (if he expects one, and looks out for it) he has zero chance to evade.
      It was one of the sneakiest attacks possible, the interceptors didn’t use their radars, and were guided by ground radar. Practically it was a well prepared ambush, with the clear intent to kill, not warn.

    • Franklin i have the same questions…! Personally I think was a perfect ambush! Made with an IR targeting POD and aim 9 x. If they wanted repel the Russian Su-24 maybe they could lock the airplane with their radar ! No ??

      • Wow…. That’s quite the fantasy, you’ve painted there….

        “Made with an IR targeting POD and aim 9 x.”?


        WHAT “IR pod” on an F-16?

        • Maybe the sniper POD ? Is not only use For ground Attack but it can also use for aerial identification .

  2. Total of 104 surface to air missiles to protect itself. In addition to 130mm twin cannon and 6x AK630 CIWS that makes for tough ship to take down!

    Turkey AF would have to be insane to try a move like that again.

  3. Now the sultan got his hotly desired no-fly zone. The word is that his warbirds flying around were lighted up,
    and then grounded. If it’s only the Moskva, or also the S400 in Khmeimim
    remains out.
    Also, nato members weren’t exactly thrilled by the sultan’s clusterfuck, and were loudly grumbling. Stotterberg’s epic rantling about closing the ranks is just the tip of the iceberg, the sultan got word to cool it down quickly.
    A nice clip with the cruiser:
    The dead pilot got badly shot up. The “moderate” rebel bragging about it is actually a turkish citizen. (see pictures)
    ps: Some suggestions for understanding the background – the ruling turkish mafia family is deep in bed, and profits with isis:
    No wonder the ottoman mafia boss was mad keen to retaliate on the russians.
    pps: I’m deeply disappointed by (selective) censorship – a certain clown’s comments are quickly “approved” en masse, but others blackholed.

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