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

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.


About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.


  1. There are a lot of NATO nations pricking around into Syria airspace ..without permission..should they expect some missiles in their butts?

    • It’s not their fault Syria can’t take care of its own airspace. Or it’s land for that matter. They’re just taking what’s offered to them.

        • So if I get this straight, you’re conceding that Russians are in Ukrainian soil?

          P.S Iraq gave its consent for the air war within its airspace so no. Irrelevant.

          • Americans have been in Ukraine and supported the war there.

            Syria gave its consent for the Russian Air Force to operate in its airspace.

          • Why should I concede, something I’ve never denied? And yeah Russians are in Ukraine, on both sides of this war. Officially and un-officially.

            Or is your assumptions getting the better of you? Iraq gave approval to do what? Have Turks install an airfield there? Operating it at their discretion? Maybe you should take some of your advice and read before talking. The KRG illegaly allows Turkey to operate in Iraqi soil, the same way they illegaly sell half of the oil to Turkey without paperwork and thus without taxes for Baghdad.

            Syria, could deal with it’s own territory, granted in a farily destructive fashion, if its “friends” wouldn’t send weapons and ammunition to both warrying factions.

    • Except the lack of radio knowledge (mix-up of military/civilian
      emergency frequencies, etc.), it pretty hits the nail on the head.

  2. Turkmens are worse, because unlike ISIS they will smuggle anything, anywhere in their area. And unlike ISIS you can’t eradicate them. Genocides are frown upon (unless you’re Turkey) nowadays.

    I’d have a problem I can solve, rather than two problems I can’t. Turkmens don’t need “terrorist” attacks, they do just fine with attacks on the Syrian state and border. Ironically, this is exactly like exactly why the Russians did their own arms transfer to separatists in Ukraine, to avoid having these kinds of people running their own areas.

    You’re the kind of guy who doesn’t understand that the strength of terrorist networks, is their dual use of criminal networks.

    Paris attacks, made with Zastava’s bought on the black market from “normal” criminals. Charlie Hebdo attacks same MO.

    That also creates the smoking gun about “coordination” with the Coastal Brigades of FSA. The fun part is that the poor areas of Syria bordering Iraq, did the same while the US was in Iraq. Guess how the smugglers were callled then? T…….

    • I don’t know where you get these ideas, but they certainly aren’t mainstream. Borderline conspiracy I’d say. From a critical point of view, I’d still say those who commit the crime are morally worse than those who facilitated. The person committing a murder always gets a harsher sentence than the guy who sold him the weapon.

      • Borderline what? Have you been following the Syrian debacle or is it something you discovered overnight?

        There was enough fighting in Kesab, where the Turks pretexted mortars landing on their side, to pummel Syran Army positions in order to cover both FSA advances (famous first Latakia offensive from JAN is a textbook transborder assault) and smuggling by their own Turkmen kinsmen.

        We can dwelve also in the role Turkey has played in the refugee crisis. When Turkey backed JAN and ISIS in late 2013 to September 2014 (including Kobane assault) the refugee flux passed from 750K to 1.8 million in almost a year. And those refugees, were all at the border with Turkey, they were displaced because both JAN and FSA pushed through to cut Aleppo and target Idlib.

        Nevermind the sensitive transfers (notably over 800 TOWS) that Turkey has inflitrated over the course of 15 months (and going).

        The guys who pull the trigger are actually a dime a dozen. What makes them dangerous is the fact they can have a trigger to pull. That’s why people say now “let’s starve” ISIS to defeat it. Because those who make it dangerous are those, innocent merchants of death that sit quietly on the right side of the Turkish border (but not only).

        As I told you, the biggest problem is the one you can’t solve, not the one that has a solution.

      • Fervent? Can you stop using words you don’t understand? Turkey has issues with its foreign policy (ironically like Russia), the issue though is that Turkey is being backed while its goals are the exact same as Russia’s in Ukraine. Only with a completely different population and using what could best described medievally insane people who’ve missed their meds for too long.

  3. Oy Vey, the issue about moral superiority is one that the US poses, including the uncessant rants about democracy. Now the US is on the same level as Russia and Turkey…shocking, halt the presses.

    Iraq has given the green light for a common war room, not individual efforst like the base in Dohuk, that has been used by Turkey, for Turkey.

    The US has invaded Syria soil in at least 4 occasions, the latest being “50 advisors” sent to the PYD without Syrian state approval. Also given that the US is supplying weapons to undermine the Syrian territorial integrity, your claim about looking even, is more than absurd. THE US IS ARMING SYRIAN “Rebels” since 2012…

    That’s like 2 years before Crimea. Turkey, as well and it keeps doing it.

    I think you should read more news and less propaganda.

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