Russian bombers now flying with air-to-air missiles for self-protection over Syria

Dec 02 2015 - 29 Comments
By Jacek Siminski

Following the downing of the Su-24 Fencer on Nov. 24, Russian attack planes fly with air-to-air missiles for self-protection.

The Russian Air Force has decided to arm the Su-34 Fullback attack planes based at Latakia, in Syria, with air-to-air missiles to enhance the defensive capabilities of the aircraft conducting air strikes against terrorists across the country.

This is one of the measures Moscow put in place after a Su-24 Fencer was shot down by a Turkish Air Force F-16 near the Syria-Turkey border on Nov. 24.

A video posted by the Russian MoD, shows the first Su-34 Fullbacks departing from Latakia on Nov. 30 carrying the R-27 (AA-10 Alamo) and R-73 (AA-11 Archer) missiles along with guided (KAB-500KR) and unguided (OFAB-500) bombs.

Besides the introduction of the air-to-air missiles, the Russian Air Force also announced the decision to enhance strike packages protection with a fighter escort: although there are images showing two Su-34s chased by a single Su-30SM multirole aircraft, the number of Flankers is (still) quite limited to provide such a HVAAE (High Value Air Asset Escort) to all the Russian bombers carrying out raids across Syria.