One day after the U.S. Navy launched the first strikes from the Mediterranean a Russian Tu-142, an aircraft developed for reconnaissance and Anti-Submarine Warfare, was spotted over Aleppo, Syria.
The following video, allegedly filmed on Jun. 5, 2016, at Aleppo, Syria clearly shows a Russian Bear flying overhead.
Based on the barely visible search radar underneath the fuselage and the characteristic tail with a MAD (Magnetic Anomaly Detector) boom, the aircraft seems to be a Tu-142M “Bear F”, a reconnaissance and ASW variant derived from the iconic Tu-95 Bear bomber.
Whilst the “standard” Tu-95s have already been used to carry out air strikes against Syrian ground targets beginning in November last year, the one spotted over Aleppo would be (if confirmed) the first Tu-142 to take part in the air war over Syria.
As said the Tu-142 was developed as a maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft. However, it is believed to be able to carry different sensor packages and some believe the Bear F could be used as an ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) platform, to pinpoint targets for tactical strike aircraft.
However, as long-range naval reconnaissance plane, the Tu-142 could also have been tasked to keep an eye on the USS Truman CSG (Carrier Strike Group): a “response” of Moscow to the first air strikes launched by an aircraft carrier from the eastern Mediterranean Sea since 2003.
Tu-142M “Bear” Mod3 or
Tu-142MZ “Bear” Mod4 (has chin fairings)