Tag Archives: Ilyushin Il-78

Russian Tu-95 Bear Bombers Escorted By Su-30SM Jets Carry Out Air Strike In Syria Using Kh-101 Strategic Cruise Missiles

Russian Global Strike show of force in Syria.

On Jul. 5, Tu-95MS Bear strategic missile platforms conducted an air strike on ISIS targets the Russian MoD reported.

The Russia Air Force bombers, launched from Engels, near Saratov in the southwestern part of Russia and the base hosting Russian Long Range Aviation strategic bombers, and supported by Il-76/78 tankers and Su-30SM fighters, that provided air cover, attacked targets located on the border of the provinces of Hama and Homs, in Syria.

“As a result of the missile strike 3 large warehouses of weapons and ammunition, as well as a command post of terrorists near the town of Akerbat were destroyed. This was confirmed by data of objective control,” says the Russian MoD release, that also highlights the use, from 1,000 km, of the Kh-101 strategic air-launched LO (Low Observable) cruise missile.

The Raduga Kh-101 missile is believed to use a combination of inertial guidance and satellite navigation using the Russian GLONASS system, with opto-electronic flight correction system;  it features a CEP (Circular Error Probable) of less than 30 feet.

This is not the first time the Russian bombers use the cruise missile (with a maximum range of 4,500 km) that can also be equipped with a nuclear warhead. On Nov. 17, 2015 the Russian Air Force launched 25 heavy bombers against ISIS ground targets in Syria, including 5 x Tu-160 Blackjack, carrying the then new Kh-101 cruise missiles. It was the combat debut for the Russian stealthy cruise missile.

Between Nov. 19 and 20, 2015 the Russian Air Force conducted a very long-range strike mission against IS targets in Syria that saw two Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers depart from the Kola Peninsula, skirt the airspace of Norway and the UK, fly over the Atlantic until Gibraltar, enter the Mediterranean sea and then eastbound towards Syria to launch the stealthy KH-101 cruise missiles. More recently, both on Nov. 17, 2016, and Feb. 17, 2017, Tu-95s (able to carry 8 Kh-101s) fired the LO cruise missiles against targets in Syria.

Interestingly, although not trackable online, the radio activity listened by radio hams and aviation enthusiasts on the HF frequencies used by the Russian strategic bombers could be a hint that some Bears (or Blackjacks) were airborne:

 

Image credit: Russia MoD

Salva

Salva

Interesting video shows Il-78 tankers refueling a Tu-160 strategic bomber over the Caspian Sea

Watch this Il-78M Midas refueling a Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber over the Caspian Sea.

As we have already explained, beginning on Nov. 17 the Russian Air Force Strategic Bomber fleet, has started pounding Islamic State (as well as rebel forces) in Syria.

On Nov. 20, for the first time ever, two Blackjacks carried out a 13,000km round trip war mission taking off from a deployment base in Kola Peninsula: they flew off Norway and UK, around western Europe, entered the Mediterranean Sea via Gibraltar and, after meeting the Su-30SMs departed from Latakia, launched some ALCMs (Air Launched Cruise Missiles) against terrorist targets in Syria. Then, they entered the Syrian airspace and returned home via the eastern corridor: Iraq-Iran-Caspian Sea.

Two Il-78M tankers were also part of the mission supporting the strike force refueling the Tu-160s on their way back home.

 

 

The Indian Air Force has deployed four Su-30MKI Flanker jets to the UK

The Flankers are involved in exercise Indradhanush 2015.

Delayed by one day, on Friday morning Jul. 17, four Indian Air Force Su-30MKI Flankers (SB-065, SB-138, SB-167 and SB-309), all believed to be from 2 Sqd, deployed to RAF Coningsby, UK, for  Indradhanush 2015, a joint training exercise with the Royal Air Force.

C-17

Imminent arrival of the multirole jets was preceded by a C-17A CB-8008 from 81 Sqd and a C-130J-30 KC-3801 from 77 Sqd, carrying the ground crews, and all handling gear required for the 21-day deployment.

C-130

The Il-78 Tanker had also accompanied the Flankers to Coningsby (via Greece), but over-flew, heading for Brize Norton, from where it will operate for the duration of the drills.

The pictures in this post were taken at RAF Coningsby by The Aviationist’s contributor Tony Lovelock on Jul. 17.

Su-30 2

This is not the first time the Indian Sukhois deploy to the UK: in 2007, some Su-30s deployed to RAF Waddington to undertake joint training with the RAF.

Su-30 3

The Su-30MK is a multirole Flanker variant fitted with both canard forewings and thrust-vectoring nozzles which have further improved its agility.

As reported in a previous article, the Indian Su-30 used its maneuverability to beat the F-15 in several simulated dogfights conducted at Boeing’s St. Louis facilities.

Indeed, according to an article for AW&ST by David A. Fulghum and Douglas Barrie an anonymous USAF officer said that in the case of a missed BVR (Beyond Visual Range) missile (like the AA-12 Adder) shot by the Flanker, the Su-30 could turn into the clutter notch of the F-15’s radar, where the Eagle’s Doppler was ineffective.

Although the report is still much debated (the Rules Of Engagement) are unknown, the Su-30 is considered an excellent challenger for many Western combat planes, including the Eurofighter Typhoon that will probably have a chance to fly air-to-air engagements against the Indian Flankers during their stay in the UK.

Su-30 IAF

Image credit: Tony Lovelock