Monday, 1 September 2014

The Islamic State Resets Balance with Spoils of Tabqa Airbase (2)

By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

A video showing fighters touring the recently captured airbase of Tabqa provides an interesting insight in some of the equipment captured by fighters of the Islamic State. An overview can be read below.

First off; Tabqa's gate guard, a MiG-21MF serialed 460, a symbol for what happened to the base.

Two T-62 Model 1972s, once stationed here to protect the base against attacks of the Free Syrian Army. Due the inability of the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) to fly in heavy armour, a couple of T-62s were the only sort of armour present at Tabqa.

A RSP-7 early-warning radar along with the associated DRL-7 antenna.

One of Tabqa's five double Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS) holding one MiG-21MF and various artillery pieces.

A MiG-21MF serialed 1543. This plane once entered service with the SyAAF in 1973 and is believed to have been undergoing overhaul at the time of capture. Its cockpit remains in pristine condition nonetheless.

Three 130mm M-46 field guns and three 122mm D-30 howitzers seen in the othe side of the HAS.

More interesting are the four German made HOT missiles however. Intended for use on the SyAAF's SA-342 'Gazelle' fleet, they are part of a batch of around one-thousand missiles delivered between 1977 and 1981. They once saw heavy action against Israeli armour in the 1982 war and were recently flown in along with SA-342s for use against vehicles of the Islamic State around Tabqa. While the SA-342s were evecuated, these missiles remained at Tabqa. With the Islamic State lacking a suitable launch platform, these missiles are as good as useless.

9M113 Konkurs and 9M133 Kornet anti-tank missiles which were also captured at Tabqa did come with launchers though, their usage in Syria or Iraq can be expected.

Four R-13M air-to-air missiles, once intended to be launched by the MiG-21s based at Tabqa. The second picture shows chaff and flare dispensers in the lower right corner, used by planes for evading MANPADS.

UB-16-57 rocket pods firing 57mm rockets were also found. Although also intended for use on the MiG-21s, they can easily be mounted on vehicles. Bombs and at least twenty UB-16s along with associated S-5 rockets were captured in this HAS.

MiG-21bis serialed 2217 in front of a double HAS holding two MiG-21UMs. Apparently no effort had been taken to safely store this plane in the nearby HAS when this video was shot. On the other hand, no effort was taken by the SyAAF to destroy the MiG-21bis either.

MiG-21UM serialed 2360, already inoperational long before the attack on Tabqa began.

A shot at Tabqa's radars, once responsible for detecting any plane entering Syrian territory via the North, now seeminly still intact after the battle for Tabqa. It is likely the Islamic State wanted to capture these intact for possible future use, thus evading any damage from this side. If any of the radars were sabotaged by the defenders is unknown but seems unlikely due to the status of the MiG-21s, which seemed to have been captured without being sabotaged. None of the radars appeared to suffer any kind of damage in the video and curiously enough, none have been targeted by the SyAAF yet.

Two PRV-13 height-finding radars, supporting the single JY-27 also present at this base.

One P-12 early-warning radar, one P-35/37 early-warning and interception radar and a JY-27 long range surveillance radar, the most modern radar captured at the base and one of the most modern radars within Syrian service.

Lastly, a P-14 early-warning radar and another PRV-13 height-finding radar.

Recommended Articles

North Korean MANPADS showing up in the hands of fighters of the Islamic State‏?
The Islamic State Resets Balance with Spoils of Tabqa Airbase
Tabqa airbase captured by the Islamic State at last
Tabqa airbase still holding out against the Islamic State
The spoils of Regiment 121, captured by the Islamic State
The spoils of Brigade 93, captured by the Islamic State


  1. So it looks like two active Mig-21bis airframes lost (my suspicion is that these were operational but under repair and thus not airworthy at the point of evacuation) and three inactive airframes- the Mig-21MF gate guardian and the two Mig-21UMs which had likely been raided for spares. Not a major loss for the SyAAF but certainly an erosion of inventory they can ill afford given they are not receiving any new aircraft.

    The artillery collection is interesting, six howitzers in addition to the 57mm and 23mm already identified. It would also be interesting to know what state the T-62s are in. There does not seem to be much ammunition laying around.

    1. They received their SU-24 as upgraded and placed orders for at least 10, maybe 24 up to date MiG-29M2, during this war, Russia has also trained "100" pilots, IMO if Syria HAS CASH, Russia will deliver, whatever they order. But still, i am still shocked these people have not learned to destroy disabled vehicles and munitions forced to left behind. I actually watched one of these "Tabqa tour" videos with these terrorist shitheads, one of the "boxes" they inspected actually had what seemed to be, a BUNCH OF DEMOLITION CHARGES, like why the hell didnt they USE THEM?

    2. Ive asked myself that same question every time a base in raqqa has fallen. its either gross incompetence or they really didnt think they would get overrun. Its my theory that the airfield was going to be fully evacuated within days. from sat images that base would be very difficult to maintain any perimeter security without lots of troops which would be difficutl to supply. had they planned on maintaining the base I cant see why all operable planes were gone.

    3. But the Mig-29M2s have never been delivered, there was vague mention earlier this year of negotiations for delivery with a target date of 2016 but that hardly helps the SyAAF in the near term. The upgraded Su-24s are by far the SyAAF's most useful attack assets but they only exist in small numbers (21 at most), the reports of Mig-29s and even reactivated Mig-25s flying attack missions suggests the SyAAF is now "all-in" and that any lost airframes (looking at various other sites it seems aircraft are still being lost to enemy action) are a degradation of overall capability- especially sortie generation.

  2. The photo for HOT missile not Konkurs or Kornet !!

  3. Replies
    1. HOT تشير الصورة إلى صاروخ

      شكراً لك ... على المعلومات القيمة في مدونتك وأتمنى لك المزيد من التوفيق

    2. أوريكس أنت عربي ؟؟؟ أنا مصدوم ومندهش !!! عموماً تشرفنا بمعرفتك .

    3. ؟ هل من الممكن أن تراسلني على