Tag Archives: Ukraine

Ukrainian Su-25 Frogfoot Jet Flies At Ultra-Low Altitude Over The Sea Of Azov

A Ukrainian attack jet almost “buzzed” bathers on a beach at a popular resort town in southeastern Ukraine amid growing tensions with Russia in the Sea of Azov.

Su-25 attack jets are particularly comfortable at very low altitudes and the Ukrainian Frogfoots often fly at low-level as part of their Close Air Support training.

Indeed, we have published many videos showing the Ukrainian Su-25s involved in treetop navigations and ultra-low level flyovers in the past. Here’s a clip reportedly filmed last Friday by vacationers at Kirillovka, a resort town on the Sea of Azov, in southeastern Ukraine, some 65 km from the border with Russia in Crimea in the southwest, and about 140 km southwest of the breakaway Donetsk region.

According to Sputnik News media outlet, the attack aircraft was involved in Ukrainian border guard drills in the Sea of Azov, a region of raising tensions with Moscow: in March, Ukraine’s border guards detained a Russian fishing boat. Russia accused Ukraine or ‘state piracy’ and last week, Russia detained two Ukrainian fishermen accused of poaching, the Russian State-sponsored reported.

By the way, the short video proves the Su-25 is a really quiet jet aircraft, isn’t it?

Actually, low level flying is not only a Frogfoot jets prerogative. Take a look at the following episodes of the “Ukrainian low level activity saga” we have posted here at The Aviationist: a Ukrainian Mig-29 overflying pro-Russia separatist blocking rails; an Ilyushin Il-76 buzzing some Su-25s (and the Frogfoots returning the favor while buzzing the tower); here’s an Mi-17 helicopter flying among the cars on a highway and another fully armed Mig-29 Fulcrum in the livery of the Ukrainian Falcons aerobatic display team flying over an apron at an airbase in Ukraine; here’s a Su-25 flying low over the heads of a group of female soldiers posing for a photograph and then performing an aileron roll; and here you can see a Su-27 performing a low pass after take off.

H/T Lasse Holmstrom for the heads-up!

U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk drone flew over Ukraine with transponder turned on for everyone to see

U.S. Air Force’s gigantic Global Hawk drones have been flying over Ukraine for about two years. However, they recently let everyone  know they were there.

Reports of U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk UASs (Unmanned Aerial Systems) flying over Ukraine are nothing new. Back in April 2015, quoting Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, Chief of the Main Department for Operations at the Russian General Staff, ITAR TASS reported that American high-altitude long-range drone were regularly spotted over the Black Sea and, beginning in March 2015, they were also monitored flying over Ukraine.

According to the Russian high-rank officer, the use of such unmanned aircraft increased the depth of data gathering on the territory of Russia by 250 kilometers to 300 kilometers.

U.S. RQ-4Bs belonging to the 9th Operations Group/Detachment 4th of the U.S. Air Force deployed to Sigonella from Beale Air Force Base, California, have been flying ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) missions in support of EUCOM, AFRICOM and CENTCOM theater mission tasking since 2011.

The Global Hawks of the flying branch had their baptism of fire on Mar. 1, 2011, and were the first to fly over Libya to perform high altitude Battle Damage Assessment sorties on targets located in regions with  a residual SAM (Surface-to-Air Missiles) and MANPADS threat after Operation Odyssey Dawn was launched on Mar. 19, 2011.

Strategically based in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, U.S. RQ-4s are regularly tasked with surveillance missions over North Africa, East Europe and Middle East. However, they usually keep a low-profile avoiding to be detected at least by commercial ADS-B receivers like those feeding online flight tracking systems such as Flightradar24.com, PlaneFinder.net or Global ADS Exchange.

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Screenshot from Global ADSB Exchange

At least this is what has happened until Oct. 15 when a U.S. Air Force Global Hawk could be tracked online because of its Mode-S transponder while flying over southern Ukraine.

The Global Hawk (04-2021) popped up on the radars at 50,000 feet, east of Odessa, flying towards Mariupol. Then, the remotely piloted aircraft turned northwest bound before heading towards Sigonella where it arrived after overflying Moldova and Bulgaria. At a certain point the UAS was cruising at 54,000 feet.

The flight path the aircraft followed probably enabled its imagery intelligence (IMINT) sensors to take a look at Russian bases in Crimea as well as gather information about the pro-Russia forces on the ground in the Dombass region of Ukraine.

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Screenshot from Global ADSB Exchange

Spyplanes (and drones) usually operate in “due regard” with transponder switched off, with no radio comms with the ATC control, using the concept of “see and avoid” where the pilot flying is responsible for avoiding all traffic conflicts, much like a VFR flight plan without flight following. Even if RC-135s can be regularly tracked online, it’s at least weird that a strategic ISR platform that has remained “invisible” thus far, has operated with the transponder turned on over a highly sensitive region.

We can’t completely rule out this happened by accident but considered that the risk of breaking OPSEC with an inaccurate use of ADS-B transponders is very well known it seems quite reasonable, in a period of raising tensions with Russia, to believe that the unmanned aircraft purposely broadcast its position for everyone to see, to let everyone know it was there.

Russian spyplanes have done the some in the past: for instance the Tu-214R, Russia’s most advanced intelligence gathering aircraft deployed to Syria and flew along the border with Ukraine with its transponder turned on.

Top image: an RQ-4 deployed to Southwest Asia (U.S. Air Force)

 

New video shows a fully armed Ukrainian Mig-29 Fulcrum performing an insane low pass!!

Yet another crazy low pass by a Ukrainian Air Force aircraft!

Filmed somewhere in Ukraine, this video shows the latest stunt by a Ukrainian Air Force jet: in this case a fully armed Mig-29 Fulcrum in the high-visibility, white, yellow and light blue livery of the Ukrainian Falcons aerobatic display team.

It looks like Ukrainian pilots like to fly low and fast on people filming them. In the past we have reported about the Mig-29 overflying pro-Russia separatist blocking rails at very low altitude, an Ilyushin Il-76 buzzing some Su-25s and Frogfoots returning the favor while buzzing the tower, and also an Mi-17 helicopter flying among the cars on a highway.

H/T From the Skies for the heads-up!

 

This video shows how Malaysia Airline MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made Buk missile

The Dutch Safety Board released a video which shows how the MH17 flight was shot down by a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile.

On Jul. 17, 2014 Boeing 777 (9M-MRD) with 280 passengers and 15 crew members, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed about 50NM to the northwest of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.

The Dutch Safety Board (DSB) which conducted the technical investigation issued its final report on the crash on Oct. 13, 2015 and determined that the aircraft was shot down by a Buk surface-to-air 9M38-series missile with 9N314M warhead that hit the left hand side of the cockpit (as it appeared to be quite evident based on the puncture marks visible on the wreckage).

The shrapnel fired by the explosion killed the flight crew and torn off the cockpit. The DSB calculated the trajectory of the SAM and determined it was fired within a 320-square-kilometre (120 sq mi) area southeast of Torez.

The DSB, that did not say who operated the SAM launcher: whether the missile was fired by the pro-Russia separatist or not it is still subject to debate. For sure, the report highlighted there was sufficient reason to fully close the airspace over eastern Ukraine, where the MH17 was flying because of the reasons we explained in this post, as a precaution.

The Buk, known as SA-11 (or SA-17) is a self-propelled medium range, medium altitude anti-aircraft system with a maximum range of 13NM and a ceiling of 39,400 feet. With a semi-active radar homing guidance system and a 70 Kg warhead it may hit a large plane at FL330 and cause a catastrophic decompression.

Ukrainian Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes fly at insanely low altitude, buzz airport tower!

Ukrainian Air Force Su-25s as you have never seen them before!

The following video is pretty impressive.

It shows Ukrainian Air Force Su-25s flying at treetop altitude over Melitopol airbase, in southeastern Ukraine and nearby, in February 2015.

The Frogfoot jets can be seen, from the inside and outside, perform low passes (not as low as the Libyan Mig-23 we have shown here) among the parked Il-76 cargo planes, release flares, fire rockets and even buzz the tower.

Although the Su-25 pilots have to fly at very low-level (where they can be particularly vulnerable to MANPADS as those in the hands of pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine) to perform their Close Air Support missions, some of the passes seem to be a bit too risky!

Watch by yourself.