Tag Archives: Russian Air Force

All you need to know about the Russian Intervention in Syria in one stunning Infographic

Here’s the new version of the infographic about Russia’s air war in Syria.

At the end of October we posted the first version of this infographic about the Russian Intervention in Syria, prepared by Louis Martin-Vézian of CIGeography. Many things have happened since then: the Russian Air Force has carried out raids using its Strike Bomber Force directly from mainland Russia; a Su-24M Fencer was shot down by a Turkish Air Force F-16 after an alleged violation of the Turkish airspace; the Moskva missile cruiser has started operating off Syria, and an S-400 battery has been installed at Latakia.

Here’s the updated version of the infographic prepared for Offiziere.ch. Please note that it does not include the first appearance of the Kilo-class Rostov-on-Don submarine that has launched cruise missile(s) against ground targets in Syria from the Mediterranean Sea on Dec. 8.

RussianInSyria_v2b

Many thanks to CIGeography (and please note they sell USN infographics now, at this link).

 

Unusual footage: Russian drone films American drone over Syria

Interesting footage released by the Russian MoD.

According to the Russian MoD, during the last few days the US-led coalition in Syria has deployed three times more drones than before with up to 50 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles often up in the air at the same time.

The Russians claim that the coalition UAVs are conducting reconnaissance missions over oil fields along the Syrian-Turkish border which the terrorists allegedly use to smuggle oil into Turkey.

“You realize that with the scale of video monitoring being done, our colleagues could share information about what is going on along the Syrian-Turkish border and how much oil the terrorists are selling and where,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said during a press conference in Moscow.

Whilst the U.S. said they “cannot see oil trucks crossing the border,” rejecting Russia’s evidence of Turkey’s involvement in oil deals with Daesh provided in the aftermath of the controversial shoot-down of a Su-24 Fencer by a Turkish F-16, the Russians claim that all the American drones from Incirlik airbase should have seen the tanker trucks moving across the Turkish border.

Anyway, as some many UAVs share the same skies close encounters between drones and videos like the one below should become more frequent.

Let’s have a look at the Russian Air Force Il-80 Maxdome, Putin’s “doomsday plane”

The next generation Il-80 airborne command post is about to enter active service with the Russian Air Force.

The Russian Air Force will soon operate an upgraded Il-80 Maxdome airborne command post.

In fact, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, a “new” version of the Russian “doomsday plane” has recently successfully completed the testing campaign and is ready to enter into active service by the end of the year.

The aircraft is one of the four Il-80 aircraft, heavily modified Il-86 airliners, used as airborne command center in a role similar to that of the U.S. Boeing E-4B since the mid-1980s.

In service with the 8th Special Purpose Aviation Division, at Chkalovsky Airport, near Moscow, the Il-80 is meant to keep the top Russian officials, including the President, alive and safe in case of nuclear war: for this reason, the Maxdome does not feature any external windows (other than the cockpit windshield) and it is equipped with domes, bulges and antennas meant to block EMP, RF pulse, and to shield against nuclear blasts while ensuring the ability to communicate with other assets including ballistic missile submarines when the ground infrastructure is heavily damaged or destroyed.

The extent of the modifications is unclear.

“The new generation airborne command post has improved survivability, functionality and reliability, and the  electronics on board have reduced mass-dimensional characteristics and power consumption, its producer claims,” according to RT.

As said, the American counterpart of the Il-80, is the U.S. Air Force E-4B, a modified B747-200 that serves as National Airborne Operations Center. Four such aircraft (based at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska) are responsible to keep the U.S. Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other top personalities alive in the event of Armageddon (a nuclear war, a terrorist attack, a zombie revolution or an alien invasion).

The E-4B is an airborne command, control and communications center to direct nuclear (and conventional) forces, by receiving, verifying and relaying EAM (Emergency Action Messages). Its backup is the U.S. Navy E-6B TACAMO (TAke Charge And Move Out): the E-6 “Mercury” relay instructions to the fleet ballistic missile submarines in case of nuclear war but can also act as ABNCP (Airborne Command Post) platforms as E-4B back-ups.

Image credit: Kirill Naumenko via Wikimedia Commons

 

Russian bombers now flying with air-to-air missiles for self-protection over Syria

Following the downing of the Su-24 Fencer on Nov. 24, Russian attack planes fly with air-to-air missiles for self-protection.

The Russian Air Force has decided to arm the Su-34 Fullback attack planes based at Latakia, in Syria, with air-to-air missiles to enhance the defensive capabilities of the aircraft conducting air strikes against terrorists across the country.

This is one of the measures Moscow put in place after a Su-24 Fencer was shot down by a Turkish Air Force F-16 near the Syria-Turkey border on Nov. 24.

A video posted by the Russian MoD, shows the first Su-34 Fullbacks departing from Latakia on Nov. 30 carrying the R-27 (AA-10 Alamo) and R-73 (AA-11 Archer) missiles along with guided (KAB-500KR) and unguided (OFAB-500) bombs.

Besides the introduction of the air-to-air missiles, the Russian Air Force also announced the decision to enhance strike packages protection with a fighter escort: although there are images showing two Su-34s chased by a single Su-30SM multirole aircraft, the number of Flankers is (still) quite limited to provide such a HVAAE (High Value Air Asset Escort) to all the Russian bombers carrying out raids across Syria.

 

Russian aircraft occasionally intrude Israeli airspace, whereas Turkish jets regularly violate the Greek one.

Airspace violations are more frequent than one might believe.

On Nov. 24, a Russian Air Force Su-24M that allegedly violated the Turkish airspace was shot down by an AIM-120C air-to-air missile fired by a TuAF F-16 in Combat Air Patrol.

Although the details of the incident are quite controversial, with the Russians claiming that no violation occurred nor was the Fencer warned by the TuAF (that has since then suspended its flight over Syria) as Ankara has said since the beginning, it is safe to say that violations occur every now and then and rarely they end up with the downing of the intruder.

Indeed, violations of the Turkish airspace were reported few days after the Russian Air Force contingent deployed to Latakia, in northwestern Syria, started pounding FSA and IS targets across the country.

On Oct. 3 and 4, NATO said a Russian Air Force Su-30SM and Su-24 aircraft violated Ankara’s sovereign airspace in the Hatay region in spite of “clear, timely and repeated warnings.” In that case, the RuAF admitted the violations, claiming they were due to “navigation errors.” TuAF F-16s in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) were scrambled to identify the intruder, after which the Russian planes departed Turkish airspace. During the Oct. 3 incident, the Russian Su-30SM maintained a radar lock on one or both the F-16s for a full 5 minutes and 40 seconds: a quite unusual and provoking conduct by the Russian pilots.

Following the first incidents, Ankara said it would shot down any aircraft violating their sovereign airspace as done in the past with a Syrian Mig-23, a Mi-17 and an Iranian made Mohajer 4 UAV.

Whilst the alleged violation of the Turkey-Syria border by the Russian Su-24 is far from being unexpected considered the amount of intrusions reported since the beginning of October, far more surprising is the news that the Russians have also violated the Israeli airspace more than once in the past weeks.

“Russian pilots occasionally cross into Israeli airspace, but due to excellent defense coordination that began with Netanyahu’s meeting with Putin in which limits were set, the Israel Defense Forces and the Russian military agreed on security arrangements,” said General (res.) Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s political-security division, as reported to Israeli media outlets.

The security protocol established between Israel and Russia should prevent incident like the one of Nov. 24 and the subsequent diplomatic crisis.

He added, “In the understandings with the Russians, we retain freedom of action in our attempts to prevent weapons getting through from Iran to Hezbollah.”

Violations regularly occur somewhere else.

The skies over the disputed islands of the Aegean Sea are often violated by the Turkish Air Force F-16s and F-4s.

Greece claims 10 miles of air space around a chain of Greek islands lined up along the Turkish west coast, part of those are in very close proximity to the mainland, while Turkey recognizes only six miles (that is to say the extent of the Greek territorial waters, recognized by each other).

Many of the incidents take place within the four-mile radius, which Athens considers its sovereign airspace and Ankara considers international one; however, according to several reports, there are a number of unauthorised Turkish military flights directly over Greek islands themselves.

An article published by Politico last summer reported figures from research at the University of Thessaly, according to which there were 2,244 incursions of Turkish fighter jets and helicopters in 2014 alone.

Although it’s unclear how many of those +2,000 occurred within the contentious 4NM airspace (nor do we know the figures of the Greek violations logged on average by the Turkish Air Force besides this data from 2012), it’s quite clear that a border incident similar to the Russian Su-24 shoot-down is always around the corner over the Aegean Sea. Like the one that led to dogfight and subsequent a mid-air collision in 2006 (causing the death of a Greek pilot).

Anyway, although they were pretty upset by the Russian violation on Nov. 24, the Turkish authorities should be quite used to such kind of incursions, from both the intruder and the intruded standpoint.

GreekAirspace

Image credit: Russian MoD (Top), Politico (Bottom).