Tag Archives: Su-34 Fullback

U.S. F/A-18 Hornets almost clashed with Russian fighter bombers over Syria

According to the Pentagon, U.S. and Russian combat planes have had some tense moments over Syria.

There have been several close encounters between Russian and U.S. and allied manned and unmanned aircraft over Syria since Moscow deployed a contingent of combat planes to Latakia, in northwestern Syria, at the end of September 2015.

On Oct. 10, 2015, a Russian Su-30SM had close encounter with an unspecified U.S. combat plane supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

According to Russia’s Ministry of Defense, the Flanker-derivative 4++ Gen aircraft was providing air escort for a package of attack planes in Syria when it approached the American plane, to perform a VID (Visual Identification) even though some sources suggested it was the Russian aircraft to be intercepted by a U.S. plane.

Anyway, even before Oct. 10, Russian warplanes tailed U.S. Predator drones on at least three separate occasions and at least a couple of times American aircraft reportedly changed their routing to deconflict with Russian aircraft.

One of those incidents saw the involvement of U.S. F-16s from Incirlik, Turkey, and some RuAF Su-34s.

After the first incidents, Russia and the US agreed on coordinating their air activity in the skies over Syria. More or less.

Close encounters and provocations were still reported quite frequently even after Nov. 24, 2015 when a Turkish Air Force (TuAF) F-16 shot down a Russian Air Force (RuAF) Su-24 that had allegedly violated the Turkish airspace.

In February 2016 the German Air Force said that Russian Air Force (RuAF) jets, including the the 4++ generation Su-35S Flanker air superiority fighters, often shadowed their Tornados during reconnaissance missions in Syrian airspace out carried out from Incirlik airbase, Turkey.

A “near clash” between four Israeli F-15s and two Russian Su-30SMs allegedly occurred on Apr. 20, more than one month after Putin had ordered the withdrawal of part of the Russian combat planes from Hmeymim airbase: flying over the Mediterranean Sea, the Israeli jets approached Latakia forcing the Russians to scramble two of their Sukhoi jets. Several Israeli media outlets even said that Russians fired at least twice on Israeli military aircraft but no incident has ever been confirmed.

Another “near clash” occurred last week, on Jun. 16.

Indeed, as reported by the CNN, U.S. F/A-18s were somehow close to engage Russian Sukhois (still not clear whether Su-34s or Su-24s as there are conflicting reports on the type of aircraft involved) that bombed U.S.-backed Syrian rebels near the Jordan border.

Here’s what happened according to Theodore Schleifer and Barbara Starr:

“The strikes, which the U.S. says killed some New Syrian Army troops, occurred about six miles from the Jordanian border, according to a U.S. defense official.

The U.S. diverted armed FA-18s to the area after the first round of two strikes, and the pilots then tried to call the Russians on a previously agreed-upon pilot-to-pilot communications channel but did not receive an answer.

As soon as the U.S. jets left the area to refuel, the Russians came back for another round of bombing, the defense official said.

“Russian aircraft conducted a series of airstrikes near al-Tanf against Syrian counter-ISIL forces that included individuals who have received U.S. support. Russian aircraft have not been active in this area of Southern Syria for some time, and there were no Syrian regime or Russian ground forces in the vicinity,” a senior defense official said. “Russia’s latest actions raise serious concern about Russian intentions. We will seek an explanation from Russia on why it took this action and assurances this will not happen again.”

The first two bombing runs by the Russians were carried out by two SU-24 Russian jets coming out of their base near Latakia. The jets dropped what is believed to be the equivalent of U.S. 500-pound bombs and possibly cluster munitions, according to the U.S. defense official.”

So, it looks like the American Hornets were pretty close to intercepting the Sukhois (in other reports they were able to visually ID the Russians), tried to contact the Russian planes as these carried out an air strike, but these simply ignored the calls on a previously agreed radio frequency.

The question is what are the ROE (Rules Of Engagement) in place over Syria? Most probably there are strict ROE to prevent escalation and avoid direct confrontation but what would have happened if the U.S. F/A-18 had intercepted the Russian warplanes attacking the US-backed rebels ignoring the American calls?

Salva

New Stunning Footage of the Russian Su-34 Fullback bombers attacking ground targets in Syria

The Russian MoD has released some new interesting footage.

Here is a new compilation of videos showing one of the six Russian Air Force Su-34 Fullback bombers deployed to Latakia, attacking ground targets from high altitude with the KAB-500S-E PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions).

Interestingly, the Red Star insignia on the Su-34 was painted over.

A few days ago, a couple of Su-34s involved in an air strike in northwestern Syria came within 20 miles from a flight of U.S. F-16s deployed to Incirlik airbase.

The Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback is a two-seat attack aircraft with a maximum range of 4,000 km, a payload of up to 12,000 kg on 12 hardpoints, the ability to carry R-77 and and R-73 missiles, a 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon, and a Khibiny ECM suite.

So far, they have been spotted using only pairs of KAB-500 “fire-and-forget” bombs with the results shown in the footage below.

If you have not already seen it yet, here below you can also watch the footage, filmed with a GoPro of a RuAF Su-24 Fencer airstrike.

Watch this interesting video of the Russian planes (with Red Star painted over) at work in Syria

Take a look at what happens inside Latakia airbase, where the Russian Air Force contingent is based.

The following exclusive video by RT brings you inside al-Assad International Airport, near Latakia, where Russian Air Force contingent, currently made of 36 combat planes, is based.

The footage is extremely interesting as it clearly shows the six Su-34 Fullback aircraft returning from the first combat sorties against Islamic State targets in Syria.

A closer look at the warplanes provides the confirmation that all the aircraft, including the Su-25s and the Su-34s, were removed the standard Russian Air Force markings and the typical Red Star: most probably the Russians don’t want their symbol to be shown off along with the wreckage of a plane in case one is shot down or crashes in Syria.

By the way, the insignia were overpainted on the Su-30SMs and the Su-24Ms as well, even if these are not clearly visible in this video; however there are screenshots in the social media that prove the same applies to Flankers and Fencers.

Su-34 tail

Su-25 Latakia

This is not the first time aircraft taking part in real operations are stripped off their national markings. UAE F-16s deployed to Jordan to take part in Operation Inherent Resolve didn’t wear the national flag while some U.S. drones deployed in sensitive areas perform their clandestine missions “unmarked.”

Six Russian Su-34 Fullback bomber have just arrived in Syria. And this is the route they have likely flown to get there.

The Russian military build up continues as six Su-34 Fullback attack planes arrive in Syria.

Six Sukhoi Su-34 aircraft have eventually arrived at Latakia to join the Russian contingent already there.

Images allegedly shot around the al-Assad International Airport clearly show one Russian Fullback about to land at the airbase in western Syria where 28 Russian aircraft have arrived last week.

One of the photos taken from the ground shows the six aircraft trailing what seems to be an airliner over Idlib: the larger plane is probably a Russian Air Force Tu-154.

Interestingly, a Russian Air Force Tu-154 using callsign RFF7085 could be tracked online on Flightradar24 during its flight to Latakia on Sept. 28, likely exposing the route followed by the six Su-34s trailing their accompanying Tu-154.

As the below image shows, the aircraft flew in international airspace over the Caspian Sea, to Iran and entered Syrian airspace after flying over northern Iraq: did the Su-34s have all the required diplomatic clearances to fly north of Baghdad or did they simply “sneak” into Syria by hiding under the cover of the transport plane?

Hard to say.

Last week, US officials said that the first 28 Russian combat planes hid under the radar signature on the larger transport aircraft, in an attempt to avoid detection but there are chances that the flights had all the required clearances from the Iraqi Air Traffic Control agencies and were conducted as a standard long-range ferry flight: one tanker/airlifter, using radio and transponder, supporting multiple fast jets.

Tu-154 FR24

 

H/T to @LuftwaffeAS and @obretix. Image credit: Flightradar24.com.

These photos suggest Russian Air Force jets and drones are already operating against ISIS in Syria

Photos allegedly taken over Idlib seem to prove Russian Migs, Sukhois and drones are currently operating against ISIS in Syria

Pictures allegedly shot over Idlib and posted on Twitter seem to suggest Sukhoi Su-27 (or derivative) Flanker, Mig-29 Fulcrum, Su-34 Fullback jets and Pchela-1T drone are operating in Syria.

Provided the pictures are genuine and taken in Syria in the last couple of days, they would really prove a Russian expeditionary force has already arrived in the country and started flying from an Assad-controlled airbase near Damascus as reported by some Israeli media outlets.

During the past days, Flightradar24.com has exposed several flights of a Russian Air Force (even though the registration shown by FR24 is Syrian – there has been a bit of confusion around this plane since if was first logged in Sept. 2014) Il-76 airlifter (caught by means of its Mode-S transponder) flying to and from Damascus using radio callsign “Manny 6”, most probably supporting the deployment of a Russian expeditionary force.

Manny6 210815

Recent reports claimed Russia was in talks to sell Damascus some MiG-29s but the rumors were refuted by MiG CEO Sergei Korotkov.

If the pictures are real, the current makeup of the Russian detachment would include attack planes (Su-34), as well as some air-superiority ones (MiG-29 and Su-27) and UAVs (Pchela 1T – a drone with a of range 60 km).

Whether the Russian Air Force operations against ISIS in Syria are coordinated with the U.S.-led coalition that daily conducts air strikes in the country is unclear. Let’s hope they talk each other, otherwise one of the next days the Su-27s may make a close encounter with a stealthy US F-22 providing kinetic situational awareness to other coalition combat planes.

In the meanwhile the Kremlin denies the participation of Russia in the anti-ISIS airstrikes….

We will update you as soon as more details confirming or refuting the deployment emerge.

Image credit: FR24.com and @green_lemonnn