Job done! Russia’s most advanced spyplane is returning home after deployment in Syria
The Tu-214R is currently returning to Russia after a 14-day deployment to Syria.
The aircraft could be tracked online on Flightradar24 thanks to the signals of its ADS-B transponder as it flew from Hmeymim airbase, near Latakia, over the southern Syrian airspace, then into Iraq: the aircraft is likely following the eastern corridor that overflies Iran and the Caspian Sea, and it is possibly returning to Kazan, where KAPO (Kazan Aircraft Production Association), the Russian company that builds the plane.
So, the aircraft has eventually completed its first tour of duty in Syria using its wide array of radar systems and electro optical sensors to map the position of the enemy forces or intercept the signals emitted by the enemy systems (radars, aircraft, radios, combat vehicles, mobile phones etc).
— Civ & Mil Air ✈ (@CivMilAir) February 29, 2016
Most probably, among the weapons systems of interest there were also F-22 Raptors performing “kinetic situational awareness” tasks over Syria: the Tu-214R alongside the Il-20 Coot and other ground-based radars might have collected intelligence data needed to “characterize” the F-22’s signature at specific wavelengths.
Actually, there is someone who suggests the aircraft was withdrawn due to complications concerning its logistical maintenance requirements that forward away from Russia…
Image credit: Flightradar24.com