Tag Archives: Sukhoi Su-24

“Turkish Air Force F-16s ambushed the Su-24 Fencer”: here’s Russia’s version of the controversial shootdown

Here’s the Russian version of the Su-24 shootdown.

On Nov. 24, a Su-24M Fencer bomber was shot down by a TuAF F-16 near the Turkey-Syria border. The Turkish Air Force claims the Russian bomber violated the Turkish airspace after ignoring several radio warning issued by a GCI (Ground Controlled Intercept) radar station.

Although the violation (the last in a series of alleged incursions) was extremely short (17 seconds) the intruding Su-24 was hit by an air-to-air missile and caught fire. Both crew members ejected: one died after being fired upon while descending towards the ground; the other one was rescued by a CSAR (Combat SAR) mission.

However, the Russian Air Force has a different version of the story.

Here’s the release by the Russian MoD (highlights mine):

“In the course of appearance of different versions concerning circumstances of the attack on the Russian Su-24M aircraft carried out by the Turkish F-16 fighter in the sky over Syria on November 24, the Russian Defence Ministry presents facts of this situation unprecedented in its disloyalty.

The accident happened on November 24. Combat loss of the Su-24M, tail number 83, was caused by fire engagement.

At 9.15 (MSK) it was assigned to carry out strike near Kepir-Motlu-Zahiya located in the north of Syria.

This task was assigned to two Su-24M aircraft crews, including one of pilot Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov and Captain Konstantin Murakhtin (aircraft number 83, with combat payload four OFAB-250-270 air bombs).

The crews were assigned to conduct combat air patrol near Maarrat al-Numan at flight levels of 5800 m and 5650 m correspondetly.

The aircraft took off from the Hmeymim airbase at 9:42.

At 9:52, the Su-24M entered detection zone of the Turkish Air Force radar means and was under their coverage in the course of 34 minutes.

After 20 minutes passed since the crew had entered its area of responsibility, the Command centre of the Hmeymim airbase ordered it to eliminate militants in the area.

The crews bombed two assigned targets and turned to the left to make another approach for destruction of two remaining targets.

As it was carrying out an airstrike at the target located 5.5 km to the south of the Turkish border, at 10:24 the crew led by Lieutenant Colonel Peshkov O.A. launched bombs at the target and was then downed by an “air-to-air” missile from an F-16 fighter of the Turkish Air Force, which had performed take-off from the Diyarbakir airfield of the 8th Air Brigade located in the territory Turkey.

During the analysis of video air situation display provided by the Command Centre of the Syrian Air Force and Air Defence, an aerial target was spotted, moving from Turkey in the direction of the state border at the speed of 810 kmph and with the heading of 190 degrees.

After the Turkish fighter approached the Su-24M at a range equal to the range of a missile launch (equal to 5-7 km, which proves that the F-16 was in the Syrian air space), it quickly maneuvered to the right, lowered, and disappeared from the display of the air situation display.

According to the objective monitoring data received from the air defence means, the Turkish jet remained in the Syrian air space for 40 seconds and dived 2 km into Syrian territory, while the Russian bomber did not cross the Turkish border.

The crew of the leading aircraft confirms the missile launch. After the launch and a left turn for heading 130 degrees, they observed a flash and a tail of white smoke, which he reported to the flight control officer.

At 10:25, the flight control officer registered that the mark from the Su-24M aircraft disappeared from the radars. The further requests and the requests of the leader crew of the Lieutenant Colonel Peshkov remained without answer.

The estimated time of arrival of an F-16 aircraft from the military airfield Dyabakyr from the stand-by position on the ground to the possible place of missile launch constitutes 46 minutes (15 minutes for preparation and take-off, 31 minutes – flight time needed to arrive at the firing point).

Thus, interception of a Su-24M aircraft from the stand-by position on the ground from the military airfield Dyabakyr is impossible as the necessary time for approaching the target exceeds the minimum time needed for attack by 12 minutes.

Objective monitoring data received from the Syrian radar stations confirmed the presence of two F-16’s in the duty zone from 9:11 till 10:26 min (for 1 h 15 min) at the altitude of 2400 metres, that shows that the operation was planned beforehand and the fighters were ready to attack from the air ambush over the territory of Turkey.

It is to be mentioned that the fighter aircraft stopped maneuvering in the duty zone an headed rapidly to the offset point 1 minute and 40 seconds before the maximum approach of the Su-24M aircraft to the Syrian-Turkish border. The method the F-16 aircraft entered the engagement zone (not by the curve of pursuit) shows that it was vectored from the ground.

Actions of the Turkish aircraft after launching of missiles over the territory of Syria ­- the wind-down turn with loss of altitude and going under the lower range line of the air defence means – also speaks for the fact that the perfidious crew’s actions were planned beforehand.

Objective monitoring data from the Hmeymim airbase and the leader aircraft did not register any request made by the crew of the Turkish aircraft to the Russian pilots on the pre-arranged frequency.

The readiness of the Turkish media to cover this incident is also surprising.

The strike with the “air-to-air” missile was made by a pilot of the F-16 aircraft of the Turkish Air Force at 10:24 and just in an hour and a half the video showing the falling warplane was published on the YouTube video hosting site by the Turkish private television company. The angle of the footage allows to define the possible place of recording. It is situated in the area controlled by the radical terrorist groupings consisting of people from the North Caucasus and the former republics of the USSR. The operator had known in advance the time and place, which would be the best for recording the exclusive footage.

Rapid appearance of militants’ groups in the landing area and publication of the video in the Internet just 1.5 hours after the accident show that the terrorists had been informed in advance about the prepared provocation for its videoing and publication of the materials in social media on the Internet.

All these facts clearly show the earlier preparation for downing of the aircraft and the coverage of those events using the Turkish Air Force, illegal armed groups and Turkish information agencies along with active support of the media.

Since the signing of the mutual understanding memorandum between the Russian Ministry of Defence and the Department of Defence of the USA on October 23, 2015, the Command of the Russian air group has undeviatingly taken all measures to prevent incidents between Russian military aircraft and warplanes belonging to the Coalition countries.

In accordance with these agreements, the Russian Air Force Command Centre at the Hmeymim airbase had informed representatives of the US Air Force concerning the engagement areas and echelons of a pair of Russian Su-24M bombers in advance.

That is why statements made by different officials from Turkey concerning that they had not identified the Russian aircraft are, at least, confusing.

Moreover, the Turkish military command has violated all articles and dispositions of the international law that regulates defence of the state border in the air space.

It is to be stressed that there were neither apologies, nor offers of help in positioning and evacuation of the downed crew received from the Turkish party after the tragedy happened.

In conclusion, it is necessary to touch upon the subject of the search-and-rescue operation conducted to evacuate the navigator, Captain Konstantin Murakhtin from the landing location .
First of all, the Command expresses its gratitude to all the members of the operation for their accurate, coordinated work, their tenacity and composure shown in the most difficult situation at night, surrounded by terrorists. Their work helped to bring the ejected navigator to the base.

As soon as Captain Murakhtin was safe, massive airstrikes were made by Russian aircraft and the Syrian rocket artillery on the area occupied by terrorists who had been actively searching for him.

In conclusion, it must be said that the Aerospace Forces Command is proud of its pilots, technicians, commanders, and maintenance personnel, which carry out combat missions to fight international terrorism in Syria.

The Command wishes to express its deepest condolences to the families of Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov and Private Alexander Pozynich, who lost his life rescuing the crew.

The families of the servicemen will not be left on their own and they will receive all required assistance.”

So, summing up, the Russian Air Force believes that the TuAF have established Combat Air Patrol (CAP) stations along the border (for years…) to ambush Russian (or Syrian) planes passing close by its F-16s.

Furthermore, it’s worth noticing that the entire “ambush” was monitored by the Syrian Air Defense and that, once again, the Russian MoD said that the F-16s did not make an attempt to radio the warning, but did not mention the GCI station that actually radioed the warnings.

Following the incident, Ankara said that the warnings, on a dedicated mutually agreed radio channel and the international Guard (emergency) channel (243.0/121.5 MHz – that the Su-24M is not able to monitor with the current radio equipment), were not answered by the Russian plane that continued to fly towards the Turkish airspace, leading the Turkish Air Force to believe the intruding aircraft was not Russian but Syrian.

In the meanwhile, Moscow has deployed the S-400 air defense system at Latakia, moved the Moskva guided-missile cruiser off the airbase and decided to escort its bombers with the Su-30SM Flankers.

Image credit: Russia MoD

Here’s the alleged Audio of the Turkish Air Force warning the Russian Su-24 before downing it

Hear a Turkish Air Force radar station warning an unknown aircraft about to enter the Turkish airspace.

On Nov. 24, a Russian Air Force Su-24M belonging to the contingent deployed to Latakia, in western Syria, was shot down by a Turkish Air Force F-16 after violating Ankara’s airspace in the Hatay region.

Here you can find all the details about the downing and subsequent CSAR (Combat SAR) mission launched by Russian choppers, one of those was destroyed by rebels on the ground, where the helicopter had performed an emergency landing.

The two Russian pilots, who ejected from the Su-24 in flames, died in the incident (it’s still unclear whether at least one of them died before it touched the ground or was killed by the rebels who reportedly gunned the two parachutes).

According to the Turkish authorities, the Russian plane was warned 10 times in 5 minutes while it approached the boundary with another Su-24, before it was engaged.

The violation was extremely short: flying at 19,000 feet, the Fencer crossed the Turkish airspace for 17 seconds. While one of the Fencers egressed towards the Syrian airspace, the doomed Su-24 was hit by an air-to-air missile (AIM-9X, based on the Russian report that mentions an IR-guided weapon; other sources suggested it may have been an AIM-120).

Interestingly, the Russian MoD denied any warning was radioed (by the F-16) to the Russian Su-24 at all.

This may be true because it was for sure a Turkish Air Force radar station to warn the Russian plane and to urge it to head south, away from the border.

The following audio was recorded on the international UHF Emergency frequency 243.000 MHz by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous. We have no way to verify whether the audio was really recorded earlier today and we must highlight that similar messages have been radioed to unknown/Russian aircraft in the vicinity of the Turkish airspace in the past as well and recorded/heard by radio-hams and airband listeners located in Turkey and Greece.

However, some Turkish media outlets have already published a similar recording released by the TuAF in the aftermath of the shoot-down.

Provided it was recorded today, the audio would confirm both the Turkish and Russian versions: the TuAF radar warned the “unknown” plane (as claimed by Ankara) and it was not one of the F-16 to radio the message to the Su-24 (as claimed by Moscow).

Now, listen to the audio (if you can’t see the player below click here):

Updated: Turkey has just shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 near the border with Syria

Images coming from Syria show a Su-24 Fencer in flames. And it’s Russian.

On Nov. 24 the Turkish Air Force shot down what appears to be a Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer that, according to the first reports, violated Turkey’s airspace.

It’s unclear whether the aircraft was shot down by a TuAF F-16 (as some media have reported) or by a Turkish Army anti-aircraft battery but, what really matters is that according to Turkish Presidency, the Su-24 shot down in the morning of Nov. 24 belongs to the Russian Air Force contingent in Syria.

The Su-24 Fencer is a swing-wing attack plane operated by both the Syrian Arab Air Force and by the Russian Air Force that has deployed 12 Su-24M2 at Latakia since the end of September.

The Su-24 Fencer is a supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft developed in the Soviet Union and serving, among the others, even with the Iranian and Libyan Air Force.  It’s twin-engined two-seater plane with a variable geometry wing, designed to perform ultra low level strike missions.

If confirmed this was not the first Russian planes breached into the Turkish airspace. On Oct. 3 and 4 a Russian Air Force Su-30SM and Su-24 aircraft violated Ankara’s sovereign airspace in the Hatay region. NATO said that the Russian combat planes entered Turkish airspace despite Turkish authorities’ “clear, timely and repeated warnings.” In that case, TuAF F-16s in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) were scrambled to identify the intruder, after which the Russian planes departed Turkish airspace. Nevertheless, as if violating the airspace of a NATO member was not enough, the Russian Su-30SM maintained a radar lock on one or both the F-16s for a full 5 minutes and 40 seconds. According the Russians, the violation was due to a “navigation error.” 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. Last month there were rumors that a Russian plane had been shot down by the Turkish Air Force near the border that proved to be false.

  Update: here’s the radar picture showing both the Su-24 and the F-16 tracks. The violation was quite short (17 seconds). According to the Turkish authorities the Russian plane was issued 10 warnings in 5 minutes before being shot down.   Radar track According to the Russian MoD, no violation occurred at all.

Both pilots ejected. One of them, whose photo has appeared on Social Media, died. Russian Mi-8 helicopter escorted by Mi-24 gunship from Latakia were spotted searching for the aircrew in Syrian territory:

Update: there are reports (still unconfirmed) that rebels shot down one of the rescue choppers. However, according to ACIG editor Tom Cooper the Russian CSAR helo was heavily shot up by insurgent ground fire and limped back to Russian helidrone at Istamo (south of Lattakia). Reportedly, no crewmember was injured.

Actually, the helicopter was destroyed by a TOW when on the ground as this video seems to prove.

 

Top image credit: Yeni Safak

 

In what is probably a first, RT streamed live from Latakia as Russian jets launched war missions

RT streamed real-time the operations of the Russian Su-34s at Latakia airbase.

Announced by a Tweet, for little less than 40 minutes, Ruptly (the video news agency belonging to RT) streamed live from al-Assad airbase, near Latakia, as RuAF attack planes taxied and took off to attack ground targets in Syria.

Considered the confidentiality of such wartime operations, it is at least unusual that people sitting in front of their desktop or laptop, or using a mobile device, are given the opportunity to watch combat sorties as they launch; however it looks like that Russians want everybody to see their aircraft (some of those with the Red Star and insignia still painted over) as they blast out of the Syrian airbase to conduct bomb missions.

Whether the live-stream will be repeated in the next days is unknown.

In the meanwhile, you can watch the full recorded video here:

H/T Alessandro Borsetti for the heads-up

This Infographic Sums Up All We Know About the Russian Air War in Syria

This Infographic says it all you need to know about Putin air war in Syria.

Prepared by CIGeography‘s Louis Martin-Vézian for the Offiziere.ch, the infographic in this post shows the evolution of Russia’s intervention in Syria: from the military build-up, to the deployment of the Russian Air Force attack planes to Latakia, to the air strikes conducted against terrorist targets across the country.

If you can’t see the infographic below, click here to download it in high-definition.

RussianInSyria_2

Many thanks to Louis Martin-Vézian @CIGeography for allowing us to post the infographic on The Aviationist.