This Video Shows A Russian Su-30SM Almost Getting “Into” The Cargo Bay Of An Il-76 Airlifter Involved In Air Drop Over Syria

An armed Russian Su-30SM gets much close to a UN Il-76 over Deir Ez Zor, Syria.

The video in this post was reportedly filmed during a mission over Deir Ez Zor, Syria.

It shows an armed Russian Air Force Su-30SM jet, escorting an Il-76 involved in an air-drop from high altitude, getting much close to the cargo bay of the airlifter after the pallets are dropped.

We don’t know when the footage was shot. However, it must have been filmed during one of the +250 UN agency World Food Program’s airdrops of humanitarian aid to Syrians: indeed, starting from Feb. 24, 2016 to September 2017, WFP has conducted air-drops in the Deir Ez Zor area, using an Il-76, to deliver vital food and humanitarian suppliesto trapped families in the besieged city in northeastern Syria.

A screenshot from the Russian TV showing the Il-76 escorted by a Russian Su-35 during the first air-drop in 2016.

Flying from Amman, Jordan, a white-colored Il-76 with UN markings (RA-76780) flew to the airdrop area escorted by Russian Air Force aircraft deployed to Hmeymim airbase, including the Su-35S, and the Su-30SM shown in the video.

The UN aircraft could be tracked online using ADS-B on during these missions.

The Su-30SM is a multirole derivative of the Su-27 Flanker. It’s a special variant of the thrust-vectoring Su-30MKI and MKM produced by the Irkut Corporation for the Russian Air Force. It’s a 4+ Generation twin-engine, two seat supermaneuverable multi-role aircraft equipped with improved avionics, the Bars-R radar and a wide-angle HUD (Head Up Display).

H/T Vladimir Konovalov and Trevor Siders for the heads-up

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. I suppose a persons view of this stunt depends on the lens you’re looking at it through. If I was the commander of the air wing this plane belongs to, I would be reflecting on how close his idiot undisciplined pilot came to causing a catastrophe loosing valuable air assets, pilots and crew. I looked at it and thought “cool”..glad are pilots don’t do that stupid S%.#!

  2. Amazing how steady that Flanker is! Turbulence behind Candid’s rear end with open ramp should be awful, but Su-30 is stable as a rock.
    It’s perfect aerodynamics and sophisticated control system does contribute greatly to pilot’s confidence in the air, no matter he flies in ultra-close formation or waltzing in the air at air shows.

    • Yes cool but what if they both hit an air pocket, dasvedanya. Hey not bad I was close to the spelling! dasvidaniya

    • If you watch the stabilators you will see they are very active, suggesting artificial stability at work. Pure manual control with that activity would probably result in pilot induced oscillations and a wild ride at best. This was an arranged photo stunt. The full video shows the loadmasters inside the cargo bay celebrating the thrill at the end. Risky, but not reckless.

      A picture in Pinterest shows a Phantom doing the same, but further away from a Hercules. Probably it could not handle the turbulence at the very low speeds involved (open ramp ).

    • Perfect aerodinamics? May be optimized for very low speed flight: its sustained turn rate in supersonic is horrendous, as indian pilots confirm (mirage 2000 is much better in supersonic flight envelope), and even istantaneous turn rate is not good in supersonic. Furthermore it is a very draggy plane and not able to save energy momentum.

      • I guess you realize, that your comparison of single engined Mirage with twin-engined Flanker which is twice as heavy is a bit senseless?
        And you completely forget about Su-30’s thrust vectoring nozzles – this baby has no problem with saving of kinetic power – she can accelerate sideways!

        • Can you understand English and basic logic? Try and read it again: “as indian pilots confirm (mirage 2000 is much better in supersonic flight envelope)” Thrust vectoring and double engine does not make supersonic flight envelope of sukhoys decent…

      • lol, nonsense
        The Sukhoi 30 has vectored thrust along with canards and is among the most manuevarable aircraft of the world with a sustained turn rate of almost 20-25 degrees comparing with the raptors 28-32 degrees. While value of eurofighter id over 35…

        • May be you dont know that typhoon continuos turn rate in supersonic is better even then f22, beeing able to sustain a G6,6 momentum at mach 1,6. Sukhoy istantaneous turn rate (totally unuseful with modern wvr missilesand even dangerous as f22 pilots confirm anout using thrust vectoring in wvr dacts vs eurocanards) is better, but continous turn rate ieven in subsonic is medicore…You wrote continous but it is a mistake: you should have written istantaneous, if you can understand the difference…Ahh

      • Not perfect, but better than others yes. This is an airplane optimized for supermaneouverability and it excels at that. Turn rates are irrelevant. It rotates. But not supersonic. There are no supersonic dogfights. If you pull 5g at 2M you will end flying an ejection seat. And if you start it supersonic, you will end down in the bushes, frantically hanging around at post-stall speeds at best. And the energy momentum mantra is for classic fighters only. Not for full 3D thrust vectorers. Gun armed helicopters, with virtually zero energy momentum, should be feared by fighter planes according to the USAF-ARMY, J-CATCH experiment that concluded:

        “….the helicopters proved extremely dangerous to the fighters when they were properly employed, racking up a 5-to-1 kill ratio over the fighters when fighting at close ranges with guns. The lesson was that fixed-wing aircraft should not attack helicopters except at long range and/or high altitudes with long range missiles.”

        While we are stuck in the past, pontificating about our sacred mantras of classic, outdated air combat rules and playing checkers, the primitive, Russian “Aero-Neardenthals” are playing chess and rewriting the air combat manuals on their own terms.

      • Mirage is delta wing, what do you expect? The only reason Indians are unhappy with mki is maintenance and spare parts.

        • Indians say that su30mkII is much less agile then mirage in supersonic flight envelope: f15 for example is more balanced both in subsonic and supersonic flight envelope; furthermore suhkoy design are very draggy even in subsonic.

    • Here is the full video. Obviously, this was a stunt arranged to thrill the loadmasters with a camera, probably an innocent photo op. for the web or something.

      As mentioned, in Pinterest there is a photo of a Phantom doing something similar.

      Of course, since these are Russians, it “Has” to be barbaric. Only we are civilized and fair.

  3. Pilot was just making a practice refueling run. Or maybe the pilot was short on fuel and was looking for a little help.

  4. No matter your opinion of the actions taken on this flight, given this and other videos we have seen over the years we in the West should have no doubt that the Russians are willing to send their pilots into ultra risky environments and their pilots will be willing to do those risky things. What might those ‘risky things’ be? Oh actions like sending out a full contingent of 4th generation fighters with the full intent of having 5/7th of them shot down by AIM-120’s so the last two can close with a small formation of F-22 or F-35’s to take them down after closing. The Western notion of air superiority seems to rest a bit on a sort of deterrence. But for deterrence to work you have to present the other side with a price they’re not willing to pay. Actions like this show an enemy with whom this kind of ‘negotiation’ may not work. Both at a institutional level or at the individual level. For now the West is well off as it has the numerical advantage, in an air campaign of West vs Russia where Russia is willing to pay the price to close with and maul Western air formations, Russia will exhaust her squadrons first just as NATO would have done had the Cold War gone hot. However should the West have to pare our air forces down, we should review our thinking that we currently rest on.

    • With the existence of nuclear weapons, such a conflict isn’t possible. Until the day they’re gone, run as many conventional scenarios as you want in your head.

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