Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Russia's participation in the Syrian War, the Su-34 'Fullback' has arrived

The arrival of the Su-34 'Fullback' fighter bomber to Syria could be seen as imminent since the initial deployment of the first combat assets to Syria, and has now finally confirmed to have occurred in recent days. Up to six Su-34s are now believed to have joined the four Su-30SMs, twelve Su-24M(2)s and twelve Su-25s already present at Hmeemeem/Bassel al-Assad IAP, Lattakia Governorate.

In addition to the up to thirty-four combat aircraft, up to twenty Mi-17s and Mi-24/35s, two Il-20s and at least three types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are now deployed in Syria. Especially the UAVs have been active in flying reconnaissance sorties over Idlib Governorate, indubitably soon to be if not already joined by the electronic intelligence (ELINT) configured Il-20s. Although already sighted over Idlib, the Su-24M(2)s have so far refrained from engaging rebel positions. The twelve Su-25s are currently being assembled and are busy with test flights after their delivery by An-124 strategic airlifters just a week ago.

The Su-34s on the other hand managed to reach Hmeemeem/Bassel al-Assad IAP on their power. The two examples seen below, both carrying a centreline drop tank allowing for extended range are believed to have been part of the contignent deployed to Syria. Both aircraft were photographed while flying over Mozdok on their way to Syria via the Caspian Sea, Iranian and Iraqi airspace.



Another image, this time from Syria, shows what looks like six fighter-bombers alongside an airliner over Idlib or Hama Governorate. The airliner appears to be a Russian Air Force (RuAF) Tu-154, likely used for escorting the Su-34s on their way to Hmeemeem/Bassel al-Assad IAP.


Designed to deliver a wide range of both guided and unguided munitions, the Su-34 will provide the Russian expeditionary force with an excellent fighter-bomber with the range and capabilities to strike any target anywhere in Syria. In fact, the sheer quality of the Sukhoi force currently present in Syria is such an improvement over the assets currently available to the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) that it could be said the regime's aerial capabilities have entered another league entirely.

As construction works at Hmeemeem/Bassel al-Assad IAP continues and UAVs and Il-20s are meanwhile busy collecting data on the strength and location of rebel positions in Idlib Governorate, the RuAF's aerial assets are being prepared for their first sorties, and it seems that a first move by the Russian expeditionary force is just a matter of time.

Special thanks to Luftwaffe A.S. and ain92ru.

32 comments:

  1. Is very posible to see a full ground invasión of Rusia to save the "poor" bastard of Assad ala Ukraine or Afghanistan\the eastern europe countries during the cold war or just to secure the so called future "Alawistan" state? Because if the russian plan is shoiting in that direction the war in Syria for Russia is going to be a mess/clusterf@ck event more bigger that Ukraine;Somalia, the both wars in Afghanistan and so;no to mention how isis is going to be happy to kill "evil russian kafir crusaders" and show to the others extremists groups how their apocaliptical vision is coming true por justo go all against the russians like the americans in Iraq since the invasión of 2003(the americans just open the gates of hell).
    Can Putin and their people support a war like that and ignore the consecuencia por their complete blind and stupid?

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    1. Unrealistic, the pure amount of force Putin will have will be able to clear out the rebels easily.

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    2. Russia will not participate in ground mission for sure. For this purposes there are Syrian army and Iranian army forces. Perhaps, the only possible exception will be special operations by spetsnaz.

      Russian aim there is not support of Syrian "regime", look wider! But prevention of expansion of therorism to middle asia (Tadjikistan, Kirgistan, Turkmenistan and so on) and russian caucasus. There are already around 3000 terrorists from caucasus, better to kill them all in Syria.

      Another aim of Russian is saving and extention of military power in the easern part of mediterranean sea and Arabic region.

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    3. And another aim is to lure/threaten Turkey away from NATO. Turkey has already played double game with ISIS, being between two fires geographically. That's why Greece is important nowadays.
      Syrians and even the more clever ISIS members try to get away from Syria because they can play only the dummy target in this shooting game / air show.

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    4. Seriously - lots of comments here are completely lacking any understanding of strategy. Strategy is the political use of force to achieve outcomes - as opposed to tactics, the actual implementation means of that strategy. Russia has strategic purposes and options in Syria - maintain semi viable Syrian state and Russia's assets and interests in it (the Turkish/Gulf/US/EU plan involves Libya chaos 2.0) and call the west's bluff by actually forcing the west to stop taking advantage of takfiri militants where they are useful (they are terrorists in Iraq but anti- Assad forces in Syria).
      Everyone knows an army the size of ISIS or Al Nusra need huge logistical networks to militarily function - now equally everyone knows (if bother to look) that these are coming out of Turkey. German TV has filmed huge convoys going into Syria at night of rocket artillery and small arms - paid for with Saudi and Gulf sponsorship of takfifi militias.
      These convoys allow the opposition takfiris' to fight Syrian SAA, without huge supply lines they would have no offensive capacity. Russia's newly arrived aircraft fleet is mostly ground attack aircraft and protective flankers - they have capacity to cut off the logistics lines of the militants. This is something Assad simply couldn't do as Turkey will attack SAA aircraft - but they will not attack Russian aircraft because of dramatic consequences for themselves.
      Point - this is not 1979 nor Afghanistan, Russia has excellent strategic options to disrupt and halt militants in Syria simply from the air.

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  2. Also sorry for the off topic put is posible to see a future military compilation of the north korean and yemeni navys and cuban and yemení aire force Oryx? Thanks for your effort and information.

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    1. Articles covering Cuba and a host of other nations will resume after the publishing of our book.

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    2. What book, please?
      I'll be highly likely to buy it if it concerns the subjects you cover here and on Twitter.

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    3. A romantic novel covering the emotional story of a rich girl falling in love with a poor farmer, a friendship and *spoiler alert* ultimately relationship forbidden by the father of the girl.

      'North Korea's Armed Forces: On the Path of Songun' is the title.

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    4. Sounds interesting (both of them) :-)

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    5. Thanks Oryx, and sorry for the joke put i think the people of the wikipedia really need to update their armed forces pages and your blog could be a really good help for them :)

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  3. And I thought the announced bridgehead was over , it's ruskaya federatsya at it again!

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  4. I'm not sure description of "expeditionary force" is correct.

    The ground force appears to provide air base security. That is to say, it's the air force assets that represent force projection, in similar projection to USAF and allied air force projection into Syria. The major difference being the US-led force is based beyond the Syrian border and does not support the Syrian Arab Republic, while the RuAF is based inside Syria and supports the national government.

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  5. They apparently didn't came over Georgia (for the well known reasons) and Armenia, they came over the Caspian Sea and then through iranian and iraqi airspace. There's a Flightradar map showing the Tu-154's (and presumably the Su-34s') route.

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    1. any you provide a link to the map?

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    2. That's why the 5-country agreement about allowing noone else on Caspian Sea. It seemed strange and without reason half or one year ago - sorry, working from memory.

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  6. So I take it, Israel Raids on Syria will now stop or eat Russian BVR missiles?

    Russia sends its pre-production PAK-FAs for combat trials and we'll definitely see this war going places.

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    1. Cool down, cool down dude, the enemy is not Israel there.

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    2. When they raid Syrian Regime targets, they are for the Syrians and Russians. Unlike Syria, Russia won't take it laying down.

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  7. Until someone, does not really goes in gloves off, fighting on the ground and going massive killing, house by house in the Sunni areas, IS will win this war. It's sad, but this is what it is.

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    1. ISIS aren't as great a military entity as media assumes. The reality is that the US/EU strikes on ISIS are a phony war, they are not hitting ISIS training camps or major supply lines in Syria at all and only in vital and critical areas in Iraq.
      ISIS has cost the Saudi/Gulf/Turks a lot of money to get up and running as proxy force and the US/EU has hands off approach unless truly necessary to engage.
      The Turkish air force has created de facto safe zones for ISIS in north Syria by attacking Syrian military aircraft near the border.
      It is only SAA that is really fighting ISIS in Syria and Iranian backed Shia's in Iraq in real meaningful way.
      Russian aircraft really can make huge difference - the Syrian don't have anywhere near enough ground attack aircraft, they are using whatever they have often in compromised roles, but Russian Frogfoots can do serious damage. Sure Russians air to ground munitions aren't laser guided etc, but so what, did you seen Grozny from second Chechen war? They flattened any area housing their enemy - literally - until the area clear.

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    2. "Sure Russians air to ground munitions aren't laser guided"
      They certainly do have them, but even the US uses unguided bombs in most instances.
      Check out the armament section: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-34

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  8. Oryx, would you consider doing a post with some commentary about the differences among the different Sukhoi aircraft and how their roles in Syria might differ from one another. The Su-25s are easily distinguishable from all the others, but I am less clear on what it really means when Su-30s and Su-34s are added to the mix. What can be done with Su-30s and Su-34s that could not be done with Su-24s?

    Also, there have now been several Russian airstrikes yesterday and today, but no media reports on which aircraft were involved. If you have any info on that, we would love to hear it.

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    1. Su-24s are more expendable.
      Su-30s are multi-role jets.

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    2. Su-25 : Light ground attack aircraft, used for close air support - Carries up to 4000 kgs of bombs, rockets and guns - It is mainly used to deal with tanks, moving targets and infantry... that's what you send to obliterate a battlefield.

      Su-24 : Supersonic swo-seat Interdictor with self-defense air to air capabilities - It is basically a fast fighter-sized bomber primarily used for striking static ground targets behind enemy lines - Carries up to 8000 kgs of both guided and unguided bombs, air to ground missiles and air-to-air missiles if airborne threat is likely. That's what you send to deal with airfields, bridges, buildings, warehouses, bunkers...

      Su-34 : Russia's newest Supersonic two-seat Fighter/Interdictor intended to replace aging Su-24, it is based on the Su-27 airframe and is an improvement over Su-24 in every respect : avionics, speed, range, agility, survivability... maximum payload is said to be up to 12.000 kgs.

      Su-30 : Modernized two-seat version of the Su-27 - It's a heavy, long-range Supersonic Dual Role Fighter (multirole/air superiority) - It has modern avionics, long-range radar and carries a wide range (up to 8000 kgs) of guided/unguided bombs, air-to-air/air-to-ground missiles, rockets... - Used for air patrol missions ensuring air superiority, escort missions, long-range interception, deep air support (long-range ground strike missions)...

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    3. "Also, there have now been several Russian airstrikes yesterday and today, but no media reports on which aircraft were involved. If you have any info on that, we would love to hear it."
      At least Su-24s have clearly been identified in Hama : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1BE6AAFmss
      Additionally, a press release from the leadership of Tajamou' Al-Izza (the FSA group that has been targeted) confirmed the jets were Su-24 and also said the bombings were more intense, accurate and powerful than those they were used to in the past years.

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    4. Thank you Conglomera!

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  9. It's all heating up World (Proxy) War 3 is about to come to its conclusion?

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  10. I hope not.
    This is a time for (hopefully) some clear-headed thinking from 'World Leaders'. I hope that the West accepts that Russia is taking the lead in Syria (it definitely is in a practical sense) and does not get more involved itself.
    Since the Second Gulf War, Western actions in the Middle East have been poorly thought out so there's no guarantee that the West's reaction now will be appropriate.

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  11. Interdict supply lines? Ho chi minh trail u people know no history.

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    1. I hadn't noticed much jungle in Syria...
      The Ho Chi Minh trail was used mainly at night. Darkness isn't much help to I.S. and F.S.A, with modern airborne radar and I.R. systems.

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