Tag Archives: Sukhoi Su-30

Interesting footage brings you aboard Russian Su-30SM jets taking part in missions over Syria

Interesting video shows RuAF Su-30SMs at work.

Little is known, about the four Su-30SM Flanker-derivative jets deployed to Latakia, Syria.

In fact, whilst the rest of the Russian Air Force contingent (Su-34, Su-24 and Su-25 jets) has been under the spotlight since Russia launched its first raids against terrorist targets, the Su-30s have seldom been mentioned in the news updates by the Russian MoD.

Actually, the most interesting news dealing the Su-30s dates back to the beginning of the month when one Flanker violated the Turkish airspace and locked on a TuAF F-16 for more than 5 minutes.

More recently, footage emerged of a Su-30SM flying close to an MQ-9 Reaper drone.

At least there is a video now, published by RT, that provides some details about the Flanker operations in Syria.

The video, which includes some cockpit footage, shows the Su-30s taxiing, taking off and landing at al-Assad airport near Latakia. Interestingly, the aircraft operate in air-to-air configuration only, confirming the reports that the aircraft mainly fly CAPs (Combat Air Patrols), providing some support to the strike packages going after the ground targets disclosed by UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) reconnaissance missions.

 

Syrian Mig-29 Fulcrums escorted the 28 Russian jets that deployed to Latakia hiding under cargo planes

According to our sources, some (if not all) the Russian Air Force formations that arrived in Syria were “greeted” by Assad’s Mig-29 Fulcrums.

A U.S. official who spoke to FoxNews has just confirmed what we reported with plenty of details yesterday: the 28 Russian Sukhoi jets hid under radar signature of cargo planes and made a stopover in Iran en route to Syria.

As already explained, the entire operation was closely monitored by the Israeli Air Force, that during and after the deployment launched several missions of G.550 Eitam CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) and G.550 Shavit ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) aircraft off Lebanon to gather intelligence on the Russians.

But, the Israeli spyplanes were not only “watching” the Sukhoi Su-30, Su-24 and Su-25 deploying to Latakia: they were most probably more interested in the Syrian Arab Air Force aircraft that were launched to greet and escort the Russians into the Syrian airspace. In fact, it seems that most if not all the formations of combat planes trailing the Il-76 cargo planes, were intercepted and escorted to Latakia by Syrian planes, including SyAAF Mig-29 Fulcrum jets, according to a source who spoke to The Aviationist under the condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Russian planes deployed to Syria have reportedly flown their first local (familiarization) sorties. It’s not clear whether they were accompanied by Syrian planes but, for sure, Israeli ISR (intelligence surveillance reconnaissance) assets were pretty active all day on Sept. 24, circling between Cyprus and Lebanon as their tracks collected by ADS-B on FlightRadar24.com show. Closely monitoring the Russians? Or the Syrian Migs? Most probably, both ones.

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Top image: file photo of a Serbian Mig-29 (Wikimedia); bottom screenshots credit: Flightradar24.com

H/T to @obretix for contributing to this post

Russia’s newest Su-30 multirole jets and Su-24 bombers practiced attack runs on NATO warships in the Black Sea

Russia’s newest multirole fighter jets have been using NATO ships in the Black Sea to practice attack scenarios.

Russian Su-30s and Su-24s aircraft from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet based in Crimea have been conducting attack runs on NATO warships operating in the Black Sea, Sputnik News reported.

According to the Russian media outlet, the jets, launched from Novofedorvka, an airbase captured on Mar. 22, 2014, in western Crimea peninsula 70 kilometres north of Sevastopol, have been monitoring the movements of two ships, the American USS Vicksburg (a Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser), and Turkey’s frigate The Turgut Reis.

On Mar. 3, a formation made of three Su-30s and four Su-24s overflew the NATO ships “to practice penetrating anti-air systems,” as affirmed by a source at the Sevastopol naval base who spoke to the Russian state agency.

Interestingly, the Russians believe these missions are used for training purposes by both sides: “These ships’ crews are doubtlessly conducting exercises in repelling air attacks from our planes, which gives our pilots the opportunity to gain experience in maneuvering and conducting aerial reconnaissance both in the range of anti-air systems and outside their range.”

Close encounters between Russian planes and NATO ships around the globe happen quite frequently (do you of Tu-95 Bear flew quite close to USS Nimitz in the Pacific?); they have just become a bit more frequent in the Black Sea since last year’s Russian annexation of Crimea: following the invasion of the peninsula, Moscow has moved combat planes to the local airbases and some of them pay visit to the NATO frigates in the vicinity every now and then.

In April 2014, a Su-24 Fencer flew multiple passes at 500 feet above sea level, within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, the U.S. Navy destroyer operating in the Black Sea at that time: a behaviour that the ship commander considered “provocative and inconsistent with international agreements.”

Anyway, according to a source at the Russia’s Chief Naval Staff quoted by TASS, the two NATO warships will be joined in the next few hours by the Italian frigate Aliseo and Canada’s frigate The Fregerickton which are passing through the Black Sea straits.

More close encounters ahead?

H/T to Lasse Holmstrom and @SajeevJino for the heads-up

Image credit: Vitaly V. Kuzmin via Wiki

 

Cope India: when India’s Russian jets achieved a surprising 9:1 kill ratio against U.S. F-15s

According to Indian media an air exercise held ten years ago “highlighted the innovativeness of Indian fighter pilots, the impact of Russian jets and the potentially fatal limitations in USAF pilot training.”

Held at the Gwalior Indian Air Force range from Feb. 15 to 27, 2004, Cope India 04 exercise gained the headlines not only because it marked the beginning of a new chapter in bilateral relations between India and US, but also because Indian pilots were able to win more than 90 percent of the mock air engagements conducted against U.S. Air Force F-15C jets from 3rd Wing based at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.

The results of this joint training was surprising, somehow shocking.

According to the Pentagon, several limitations reduced the chances of victory of the Eagle drivers against the Indian fighters.

First of all, the lack of the advanced active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar on their F-15s. Second, the air engagements typically involved six Eagles against up to eighteen IAF aircraft with no chance to simulate any beyond visual range (BVR) missile shot (due to the Indian request of not using the AMRAAM).

Furthermore, the Indians had sent their most experienced airmen to fight against the Americans whereas the latter belonged to a standard squadron (hence there was a mix of experienced and less experienced pilots).

Anyway, regardless of the Rules of Engagement, the outcome of the engagement proved the skills and level of preparedness of the Indians.

As highlighted by Rakesh Krishnan Simha in an article published in Feb. 2014 on Russia & India Report, David A. Fulghum in its Cope India report for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine quoted Colonel Mike Snodgrass, commander of the 3rd Wing as saying: “The outcome of the exercise boils down to (the fact that) they ran tactics that were more advanced than we expected…They could come up with a game plan, but if it wasn’t working they would call an audible and change (tactics in flight).”

Moreover even the Indian jets faced several limitations during the exercise.

IAF jets weren’t equipped with the AESA radar either and they were Su-30MKs, less advanced than the MKIs that the Indians  did not want to dispatch to Cope India.

The Flanker wasn’t the only aircraft that the Eagle’s drivers faced in mock air-to-air combat: “The two most formidable IAF aircraft proved to be the MiG-21 Bison, an upgraded version of the Russian-made baseline MiG-21, and the Su-30MK Flanker, also made in Russia,” Snodgrass explained to AW&ST.

Low radar visibility, instantaneous turn rate, acceleration and the helmet mounted sight combined with high-off-boresight R-73 air-to-air missiles were among the factors that made the upgraded MiG-21 a deadly adversary for the U.S. F-15s.

Cope India 2005 saw the U.S. Air Force deploy several F-16s that operated also mixed up with IAF Su-30MKIs (and not only against them). Nevertheless the results of the drills were much similar to those of the previous year, with Indian pilots able to win most of the engagements.

However according to Simha, the poor performance of the US aircrews during the exercise was also due to the old tactics used by the Americans during the air engagements who relied on the static Cold War ground-controlled interceptions which limited the pilots during the mock air combats.

But the 9:1 kill ratio achieved by Indians pilots against USAF fighters during the Cope India 04, was also reached thanks to their skills as USAF Colonel Greg Newbech said: “What we’ve seen in the last two weeks is the IAF can stand toe-to-toe with the best air force in the world. I pity the pilot who has to face the IAF and chances the day to underestimate him; because he won’t be going home. They made good decisions about when to bring their strikers in. The MiG-21s would be embedded with a (MiG-27) Flogger for integral protection. There was a data link between the Flankers that was used to pass information. They built a very good (radar) picture of what we were doing and were able to make good decisions about when to roll (their aircraft) in and out.”

Cope India 2004 formation

As reported by Scott Baldauf for CSMonitor, the same opinion is shared by Vinod Patney, retired Indian Air Force Marshal, and former vice chief of staff who said that the skills of IAF pilots combined with those possessed by Indian ground crews have been the real game changer during the several Cope India exercise editions since “..We’re not talking about a single aircraft. We’re talking about the overall infrastructure, the command and control systems, the radar on the ground and in the air, the technical crew on the ground, and how do you maximize that infrastructure. This is where the learning curve takes place.”

So, provided that the it went exactly as reported, was poor training the reason of the bad results achieved by US aircrews during Cope India exercises? Did the U.S. underestimate the IAF before the first simulated dogfights?

Maybe.

For sure some lessons were learned.

When, in 2008, the Indians took part in Red Flag with Su-30MKI the results of the engagements leaked thanks to a video which surfaced on Youtube.

Footage showed a U.S. Air Force pilot, Col Terence Fornof, lecturing an audience about the Indian Flankers with plenty of details about the poor performance of the Indian jets.

During his interesting speech, the F-15 pilots highlighted several shortcomings of the Indian Su-30s, including problems with the engines, FOD (Foreign Object Damage) procedures requiring 60-second intervals between takeoffs, poor performance in 1 vs 1 dogfights with the U.S. F-15s, to such an extent, after a few days, Indian didn’t want “any more 1 vs 1 stuff.”

Obviously, Fornof comments, are strongly denied on Indian side. Rightly. The U.S. Colonel is mistaken on some of his claims, including the engine of the Flanker and the radar of the Mig-21 and there is a chance he was playing to the gallery.

Most probably the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Image credit: IAF

David Cenciotti has contributed to this article.

 

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Chinese J-10A Fighter Jet Locks on Su-30MKK2 Flanker

CCTV has aired footage taken during a recent PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force) exercise.

Among the images, there is also an interesting HUD capture showing a Lock On on Su-30MKK2 Flanker by a Chengdu J-10A, reportedly taken on Dec. 2, 2013.

The simulated lock-on is interesting, because HUD captures have rarely emerged from China and, above all, it was taken on a supermaneuverable fighter jet, serving with People’s Liberation Army Air Force, Indonesian Air Force, Vietnam People’s Air Force, Venezuelan Air Force and the Uganda People’s Defence Force.

Obviously, as previously explained, such captures are almost meaningless unless we know the RoE (Rules Of Engagement) of the dogfight, flight parameters, restrictions, etc.

Image via Chinese Military Review (H/T to Pietro Nurra for the heads-up).

 

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