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. It’s impressive to see that the best of the best the Russian can operationally put on their planes are 1980’s R-27Rs.

    • best use sarh aam in order to avoid firings to wrong targets, you can always break the radar lock if needed

    • You don’t think Russia has upgraded the missiles? Using your logic, the USA is still using 1950s era missiles on it’s planes since that is the decade the Sidewinder was introduced.

    • Where does it say they’re Rs? Archers have gone through numerous modifications just like the aim series.

  2. The SAA also gets it’s S300s, and T90s. IRIAF will station planes near
    Homs at T4 (Tiyas) AFB. RASF extend deployment at Al-Sha’ayrat (SE of
    Homs) to over 100 planes.
    Russian MoD briefing about TurkISIStan flourishing oil business:

      • Actually they’re worse. Because they’re in only for the money. They’ve been smuggling everything in the area. Now that Turkey has also a geopolitical use for them, they are Turkish kinsmen. Too bad back in the early 2000, Erdogan gave zero fvcks about Turkmen smugglers. The devil is in the details.

  3. What is this weapon they are mounting right at the beginning, with the optical device in front. Is it a missile, or a targeting pod?

  4. The radar o the su 30sm has a 400km total range.That means it could shot down any turkish f16 without even being seen.

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