Tag Archives: Russian Air Force

Russia has just deployed its most advanced spyplane to Syria

A Russian Air Force Tu-214R is about to land at Latakia, Syria.

The Tu-214R is a Russian ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) aircraft. In other words, a quite advanced spyplane.

As we have already explained here in the past, it is a special mission aircraft equipped with all-weather radar systems and electro optical sensors that produce photo-like imagery of a large parts of the ground: these images are then used to identify and map the position of the enemy forces, even if these are camouflaged or hidden.

The aircraft is known to carry sensor packages to perform ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) and SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) missions: the antennae of the Tu-214R can intercept the signals emitted by the enemy systems (radars, aircraft, radios, combat vehicles, mobile phones etc) so as it can build the EOB (Electronic Order of Battle) of the enemy forces: where the enemy forces are operating, what kind of equipment they are using and, by eavesdropping into their radio/phone communications, what they are doing and what will be their next move.

The aircraft is built by KAPO (Kazan Aircraft Production Association) and flown from the company’s airfield in Kazan.

On Feb. 15, the Tu-214R registered RA-64514, serial number 42305014, the second of the two examples of this kind of aircraft built under contract with Russia’s Ministry of Defense, flew from Kazan to Latakia airbase, Syria.

LX9203

Image credit: Flightradar24.com

With its ADS-B transponder signals broadcast in the clear and detected by Flightradar24 collecting stations, the aircraft could be tracked as it followed the eastern corridor from Russia, to the Caspian Sea and then to Syria via the Iranian and Iraqi airspaces. It’s not clear whether the aircraft has already been delivered to the Russian Air Force, even though it is quite weird that a developmental aircraft is deployed abroad (unless the reason is testing it at war in a real scenario…).

While it was still under development, the same Tu-214R aircraft flew what appeared to be an operative mission on Jun. 18, 2015, when it flew from Kazan to Crimea and back, closely following the border between Russia and Ukraine, most probably testing some of its sensors against real targets.

Previously, the aircraft was spotted flying near Crimea.Interestingly, while over the Caspian Sea, approaching the Iranian airspace, the Tu-214R performed a couple of 360° turns at 33.000 feet (weird, while enroute): maybe it was working on the diplomatic clearence to enter Iran?

 

Image credit: Rimma Sadykova/Wiki

 

New HD video shows Russian Su-35S Flankers at Latakia airbase

Last few seconds of this footage feature Russian Su-35S Flankers on the flightline at Latakia airbase.

Taken at Hmeymim airbase, the following interesting video shows Russian combat planes involved in the air war over Syria taking off and landing from the airfield located near Latakia, in northwestern Syria.

Noteworthy, in the last few seconds of the clip you can also see the four Su-35S fighters that joined the Russian air war in Syria last week.

These aircraft, that were delivered to the Russian Air Force in the last quarter of 2015, wear serial numbers 02517, 02518, 02619 and 02620.

Russian supermaneuverable Su-35 Flankers have started flying over Syria

Russian Gen. 4++ fighter jet has joined the air war over Syria.

Yet another Russian modern weapon system has joined the Syrian Air War.

Previously exposed by images appeared on some Russian aerospace forums (that allegedly showed the aircraft during trailing a Tu-154 during the deployment), supermaneuverable Su-35S fighters have started “to carry out military tasks last week”, as confirmed by Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov.

The (four) aircraft will provide cover to the Russian warplanes conducting raids in Syria, that are already being covered by both RuAF and Syrian jets as well as the S-400 Triumf battery installed at Hmeymim airbase, near Latakia.

According to the Interfax News Agency, the aircraft belong to the first batch delivered in October-November last year “that were initially attached to the 23rd fighter aircraft regiment of the 303rd guard combined aviation division of the 11th Air Force and Air Defense Army of the Eastern Military district stationed at the Dzengi airfield and relocated to the Privolzhsky airfield in Astrakhan in a later period.”

The aircraft deployed to Syria following the usual route over the Caspian Sea, Iran and Iraq.

The 4++ generation Su-35 is characterized by supermaneuverability. Although it’s not stealth (even if some sources say it can detect stealth planes like the F-35 at a distance of over 90 kilometers…), once engaged in a WVR (Within Visual Range) air-to-air engagement, it can freely maneuver to point the nose and weapons in any direction, to achieve the proper position for a kill.

The deployment will give the Russians an opportunity to test their new combat plane in a real war environment.

Image credit: Oleg Belyakov/Wiki

 

A Russian Su-34 Fullback bomber has violated the Turkish airspace yesterday

It looks like it has happened again….

Turkey has summoned the Russian envoy after a Russian Air Force Su-34 Fullback bomber allegedly violated the Turkish airspace during a mission from Hmeymim airbase, near Latakia, in northwestern Syria.

The incident, took place on Friday Jan. 29, and according to Ankara, several warnings in Russian and in English were radioed to aircraft: in other words, something similar to what happened little more than 2 month ago, on Nov. 24, 2015, when a Su-24 Fencer was shot down by a Turkish Air Force F-16 near the border with Syria.

However, unlike the last violation, that eventually led to the downing of the Fencer (and the death of one of the two crew members) this time, the Russian Su-34 was not shot down (even though we don’t really know if the Turkish Air Force attempted to…)

In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said: “We are making a clear call to the Russian Federation not to violate Turkish airspace, which is also NATO airspace.”

Perhaps, the Turkish authorities don’t want to further escalate the crisis with Russia caused by the Su-24 incident: following the Fencer shootdown, Russia equipped its planes flying in Syria with air-to-air missiles for self-defense, escorted the bombers with Su-30 Flankers, sent a S-400 missile system to Hmeymin airbase and moved the S-300F-equipped Moskva guided-missile destroyer off Latakia, enforcing a MEZ (Missile Engagement Zone) over Syria.

Anyway, what’s worth noticing is that the Russian planes continue to breach into the Turkish airspace every now and then, in spite of the warnings, onboard navigation systems and the risk of being engaged by the TuAF: it all started on Oct. 3 and 4, when a Russian Air Force Su-30SM and Su-24 aircraft reportedly violated the Turkish sovereign airspace in the Hatay region causing the NATO to protest. TuAF F-16s in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) were scrambled to identify the intruders and according to Turkish sources a Russian Su-30SM maintained a radar lock on one or both the F-16s for a full 5 minutes and 40 seconds!

Following the incident Ankara said it would shot down any aircraft violating their sovereign airspace as done in the past with the Syrian Mig-23 and Mi-17 maintaining the promise on Nov. 24, 2015, when the doomed Su-24 entered its sovereign airspace for 17 seconds.

Image credit: Russia MoD

 

Dramatic video shows Russian Tu-95 bomber exploding after left wing erupts in a ball of flame during take off

A minute-long footage shows the Tu-95MS crashing during take off at Ukrainka airbase in Russia’s Far East.

As we reported last year, the Russian Ministry of Defense suspended all the Russian Air Force Tu-95 Bear flights after a strategic bomber suffered an incident in Russia’s Far East on Jun. 8, 2015: the +60-year old Russian four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform skidded off the runway and exploded after the left wing caught fire during the take off run at Ukrainka airfield.

As a consequence of the incident, the second involving a Bear in two years (followed, on Jul. 14, 2015 by another incident), two of the five-man aircrew were reportedly killed (only one casualty according to the first reports.)

Now, a video of the incident has been released. It shows the aircraft’s left wing catching fire during the take off roll, causing the aircraft to steer off runway and explode.

Along with the two Tu-95s, the last Summer’s Russian crashes include a Su-24 Fencer, two Mig-29 Fulcrums and a modern Su-34 Fullback.

H/T ‎Miguel Vargas-Caba‎ for the heads-up