Tag Archives: Sukhoi Su-24

9 Russian and 8 Turkish combat planes carry out the first joint air strike in Syria

The Turkish Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces have launched a joint raid against Islamic State targets in the Aleppo province.

Four Su-24Ms, four Su-25s and one Su-34 bomber of the Russian Air Force along with four F-16 and four F-4 jets belonging to the Turkish Air Force have carried out the first joint strike in Syria on Jan. 18: an interesting mix of aircraft for a quite rare COMAO (Combined Air Operation) made of platforms able to perform CAS (Close Air Support), BAI (Battlefield Air Interdiction), S/DEAD (Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses) and Strike as well as Air Superiority and Aerial Escort.

The raid aimed at destroying 36 ground targets was previously agreed with Syrian authorities, said Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy, the chief of the Russian General Staff Main Operational Directorate in a briefing in Moscow. Considered that Turkey is a NATO member hence the TuAF regularly trains with other western air forces and that the Russian Aerospace Force jets employ completely different procedures, standards, etc., it would be interesting to know something more about the preparation, coordination and execution of such joint raid.

Anyway, according to the first estimates provided by the Russian high-rank officer, the joint airstrikes near Al-Bab, in the Aleppo province, “have been highly effective.”

The raid came amid a nationwide ceasefire in Syria which came into effect on Dec. 30 and, according to the analysts, was in support of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield, launched on Aug. 24, 2016 to clear the Syrian border town of Jarabulus and the surrounding area from Daesh terrorist group with the support of the FSA (Free Syria Army) and US-led coalition planes.

Al-Bab is one of Daesh’s last remaining strongholds near the Turkish border; the help of the Russians seems to be essential to prevent the Syrian Kurds from taking it.

The crisis between Moscow and Ankara that followed the downing of the Russian Air Force Su-24 by a TuAF F-16 on Nov. 24, 2015, seems decades away.

Image credit: Russia MoD

 

Salva

Russian Mi-28N Night Hunter gunship helicopter crashes in Syria killing both pilots

A Russian helicopter has crashed near Homs, Syria, killing the two pilots on board.

A Russian Mi-28N Havoc combat helicopter, deployed to Hmeymim airbase, near Latakia, Syria, has crashed near Homs on Apr. 11, killing both crew members.

According to the Russian MoD the Night Hunter, a modification of the Mi-28 gunship optimized for night combat operations, was not shot down but crashed for reasons yet to be determined.

The Mi-28N is the third loss for the Russian forces in Syria: on Nov. 24, a Su-24 Fencer was shot down by a Turkish Air Force F-16;  during the CSAR mission launched to rescue the two pilots (one of those was killed by the Islamists rebels), a Mi-8AMTSh Hip helicopter was hit by ground fire and later destroyed. A naval infantry officer was killed.

The Mi-28N and Ka-52 helicopters have been deployed to Syria after part of the Air Group was withdrawn on Mar. 14, to provide close air support to Syrian forces, to protect the Russian Task Force deployed to Hmeymim airbase, near Latakia, as well as to conduct CSAR (Combat Search And Rescue) missions.

Image credit: Yevgeny Volkov

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

 

These photos of everyday life at Hmeymim say a lot about the Russian Air Force operations in Syria

These photos provide lots of details about the operations of the Russian Air Force contingent in Syria.

The Russian MoD has recently made available some really cool photographs showing ordinary day life at Hmeymim airfield, near Latakia, the headquarters of the Russian Air Force contingent in Syria.

By taking a look at the images we can gather interesting details about the jets and helicopters deployed to the airbase in northwestern Syria: payload, mission markings, insignia (or lack of thereof) etc.

The Mi-8AMTSH reportedly carry the “Rychag-AV” active jamming station.

Hip

The 16 Su-30SM Flanker-H multirole aircraft carry both R-27R/ER semi-active radar-guided air-to-air missiles (AAMs) and R-73 short-range AAMs as well as OFAB-250-270 HE unguided bombs.

Su-30SM taxi

Su-30SM crew

The Su-25SM, that started to fly with four B8M1 (S-8) rocket pods are now carrying also a B13L rocket pods to use with S-13 rockets from 5-tube launchers. The OFAB-250 iron bombs are also often carried by the Frogfoot attack planes (the 250 kg bombs are certainly Russia’s most used weapon by tactical planes in Syria) as the images prove. Interestingly, it seems that at least one of the 12 Su-25s (and a Su-34, not visible in the images in this post) deployed to Latakia still lacks the typical Red Star insignia.

Su-25 rockets

Su-25 dusk

Su-25 FABs

The 12 Su-34 Fullbacks carry KAB-500 TV guided bombs and FAB-500 dumb bombs and have been spotted carrying KAB-1500s as well as 4 ODAB-500PMV thermobaric bombs and electro-optical guided KAB-500KRs too. After carrying AAMs for self-protection in the aftermath of the Su-24 shootdown by a Turkish F-16, the Su-34s don’t seem to carry air-to-air missiles lately: the super-MEZ (missile engagement zone) Russia has created over Syria with the Moskva and the S-400 deployed to Latakia has made the Russian planes safe enough to fly without air-to-air missiles…

Su-34 OFAB

On the other side, they have started sporting red star silhouettes (most probably) to mark 10 air strikes: with 12 mission marks, the Su-34 “25 Red” has performed 120 raids (or more).

Su-34 kill markings

Su-34 aircrew

The about 30 Su-24s (it’s not clear whether the lost one was replaced or not), carry OFAB-250-270 HE fragmentation bombs.

Su-24 takeoff

Here below, an unarmed Su-24 (possibly returning from a raid):

Su-24 unarmed

OFABs

Image credit: Russian MoD

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.