The End of Primacy: Russian Federation Air Power in Syria

"Even the new world order cannot guarantee an era of perpetual peace. But enduring peace must be our mission. Our success in the Gulf will shape not only the new world order we seek but our mission here at home." "In my State of the Union Address and in my budget, I defined a comprehensive agenda to prepare for the next American century" - President George H. W. Bush, (March 6, 1991) Speech to Joint Session of Congress

25-June 2021: [Above] Confirmed that MiG-31K Foxhound aircraft have deployed to Syria for war games.

[Below] This video inside Khmeimim Air Base appeared in July 2021. We are aware it is an RT production, however, good clear video and other details are shown. So we deem it worth a careful look. The Russians like the Americans are masters at promoting their defense sector for own domestic consumption.

24-May 2021: [Above] VKS Tu-22M3 deploy to Khmeimim AB in Syria after the runway was extended.

22-June 2016: An American State Department internal dissent memo was leaked. The memo showed not only a poor grasp of  Syria, but of military action, outcomes, causality, and global context.

On 24-Nov 2015 a Russian Air Force Su-24M is shot down by a Turkish F-16. Nothing like this has happened since perhaps the Korean War. New post here. Because the allied coalition refuses to insert ground forces - it cannot win.

08-Nov 2015: On the heels of the Su-24 shoot-down, we now have a second East-West international incident over Syria. Both sides accusing the other. Mistakes, miscalculation, and a whole array of dangerous assumptions (on both sides) can spin out-of-control. We are already way (way) over the line in Syria. If CENTCOM-NATO starts to hit Assad - it could propel us into war with the Russians.
To the chagrin of Washington DC and its allies (that include Gulf state monarchies and the Turks), the Kremlin has inserted combat forces, which includes airpower, into Syria’s civil war - to fight on the side of the Assad regime. Here is yet another case study in the massive shift(s) in global power dynamics that began in the 1980s away from an American hegemonic unipolar system – and towards a return to a bipolar (multipolar) order. Above, Tu-22Ms over Syria is a scene right out of the wars in Chechnya.
CENTCOM now risks being sidelined watching Russian Federation heavy bombers pound Syria. There will be no Daesh black-market oil output from Syria shortly. What is odd to everyone is - so how after 13 months of CENTCOM bombing - there are any targets left for Russia and France?
Indeed, we predicted this move by the Kremlin when the Russians deduced the actual end game by the Americans (and CENTCOM) in Syria - was regime change. The Kremlin must deduce based on the historical (empirical) evidence in places like Iraq and Libya, that the United States and NATO are no longer capable of reconstructing a functional State after a ‘bad actor’ is toppled by Western military force.
This whole mess sits squarely on the shoulders of Bashar al-Assad. However, the Kremlin has a reasoned position – in that retaining what remains of the functional Syrian government and institutions (appalling as they may be) will be essential in the aftermath to stabilize the Syrian state – to avoid precisely what happened in Libya (post-Gaddafi) and Iraq (post-Saddam).

The problem with Washington DC complaining about Russian intervention in Syria - is that the United States has already jettisoned regime change policy. Where? How? Russia and Iran are pursuing exactly the same strategy in Syria, that Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are pursuing in Yemen. No regime changeAnd for all the same stated rationale, so jihadist groups do not fill the vacuum.

Daesh bombing of a Russian airliner over the Sinai (Egypt) killing all 224 aboard, and an attack in Paris (France) killing 130 and injured between 352 and 368 has made ending the Syrian war a necessity.

15-Mar 2016: Approximately six months after their arrival some Russian units begin to pull out and head home. Large central fuel tanks are fitted for the long ferry flight to Russia.

Criticism in the West of Russia not hitting Daesh appears to forget that Russia must secure Western Syria from anti-Assad forces so they do not threaten VKS basing. The West is hardly in a position to criticize. Daesh is a monster the West helped create by its intervention in Iraq in 2003.
Due to the nature of external influence(s) in Syria, to persist in the notion that moderate Syrian-opposition groups remain, and can be controlled – and so must be part of a transitional government (right now) - at this point – appears a dangerous extravagance.
[Above] RuAF Sukhoi Su-30SM "Flanker" touching down at Latakia (05-Oct). The first thing one notices is Flankers absence of the need for extra external fuel tanks (drop tanks). The fighter carries two ECM pods on each wingtip, two R-73/4 ‘Archer’ dogfight IR homing missile rounds (outer wing stations), and two R-27 ‘Alamo’ class medium-range rounds (on inner station and two more R-27s possibly in the center stations). The R-73 could be a previously new unknown type designated "RVV-MD." It also appears the aircraft has no trouble operating from less than ideal tarmac? Bizarre USAF assertions that the Flanker nacelle-intake design and Saturn AL-31-series engines are highly sensitive to Foreign Object Ingestion (FOD) - appear groundless. We shall see if protective grates were removed
In addition, the war had begun to go poorly for the Syrian regime after 4 years of gruesome fighting that produced the largest humanitarian crisis since WWII and includes the use of chemical weapons. Syria is currently carved up by a myriad of opposition and Islamist groups including the Daesh (who began with massive support from Gulf monarchies and the Turks) - all fighting for control of Syria - and with each other. Daesh (ISIS/L) military ranks in Syria are also full of foreign fighters including Chechens.
Remember the U.S. has already made its deal-with-the-devil by sacrificing the Kurds (who are fighting Daesh) for basing in Turkey – never mind our Salafist-Wahhabist Gulf “partners.” Now Washington is going to support the Kurds with airstrikes in a "thread-the-needle policy" not to anger the Turks. There is far too much appeasement by the US towards bad human-rights actors.
[Above] Now deployed to Syria, Russian Federation Air Force (RuAF) Sukhoi Su-34 'Fullback' long-range heavy two-seat all-weather precision strike aircraft. The 'Fullback' is an attack derivative of the Su-27/30/35 series and carries a phased-array B005/B004 Multimode series attack radar. Its closest Western equivalent is probably the F-15E. Fullback can employ almost anything in the Russian arsenal. In addition, EW capabilities (that include DRFM) could be similar to EF-111A / EA-6B / EF-18G. Russian aircraft can carry all manner of anti-radiation weapons. Fullback is operating with Syria with wingtip-mounted ECM pods. The aft tail 'stinger' on Su-34 contain EW/jamming hardware.

There are now conflicting reports on what the Pentagons surprise new policy announcement (09-Oct) actually is - regarding the Kurds: "The new program will arm only Arab groups, not Kurdish forces [?!?], out of deference to Turkish concerns, officials said. American officials said Friday that coalition air power would support the new Syrian Arab allies on the ground, just as those planes have helped Syrian Kurdish fighters over recent months." And now [30-Oct] we get this.
photo: Russian MoD
The Russians overwhelming firepower is beginning to show in Syria. Government forces are on the move (though the Syrian Army is a shell of what it was). The Kremlin may have learned from the Donbass to move quickly on the battlefield to maintain (military and political) inertia – which causes everyone else into perpetual 'reaction.'  The only good war - is a short war.
photo: Russian MoD
[Above] Russian-operated RuAF Mi-24P 'Hind-F' combat performance in Syria - to date - remains impressive. Employment proficiency demonstrated by the Russians (in marked contrast to Syrian flown machines) is formidable.

Its a certainty that CENTCOM and the Pentagon want to bog the Russians down in Syria - propelled by a Washington "regime-change-to-oblivion" (into a failed-state) orthodoxy in Iraq and Libya that Washington itself will not (or can not) recognize. After a year of bombing Syria - the Americans need to get a clue. But they won't. Washington continues to ask countries to close their airspace to Russian flights. And now we get this...which is to simply increase the pressure by having American forces on the ground - and thwart Russian operations (read: to get in the way of). How any of this serves the American public interest – has not been answered. The problem with American demands for Assad removal in Syria is that - what the US-Saudi efforts are attempting to do in Yemen – that is to reinstate a single candidacy government there.
photo: Russian MoD
The inability of the CIA to find reliable partners on the ground in Syria (other than the Kurds) and the spectacular failure of the CIA arm and equip program – all simply strengthens the Kremlin argument – that whatever moderate opposition elements were in Syria – effectively are not there any longer? Opposition fighters now simply switch alliances to the highest $ bidder -or turned into mercenaries?

Geopolitical context: Assad's brutality to his own citizens aside: lest we forget some underlying forces at work here, a complex history of gas pipeline politics. A grand plan for pipelines from the Gulf states running through Syria to Europe - via Turkey - to which Assad will not allow through Syria. This then explains why the Turks and Saudi Arabia want Assad out.
"The Suez Canal is unable to handle Ultra Large Crude Carriers (ULCC) and fully laden Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) crude oil tankers." "Oil exports from Persian Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain) accounted for 79% of Suez Canal northbound oil flows. The largest importers of northbound oil flow through the Suez Canal in 2013 were European countries (68%) and the United States (16%)." 
The U.S. is now confronted with a peer (peer) adversary. American aircrews and Patriot air-defense batteries (including Israel and Turkey) could be exposed to Russian weapons and employment (anti-radiation or other types) never exported - or encountered - by anyone - anywhere. This unknown is not a conducive operational environment for allied personnel. American generals would be best to heed Russian advice - and steer clear.

There is another factor here being completely overlooked by Western defense press and analysts - cost. The price of a Su-30SM is in the neighborhood of $40-60 million per copy (perhaps $100 million). Something the Americans need to seriously learn from?  At that price, one could buy enough Flankers that nobody can beat you - no matter what they build. Each F-22A costs $350-$377 million per copy and F-35 appears to be on its way to that figure as well. The F-22A and F-35 uneven qualitative-differences over Russian hardware are simply not large enough to warrant these impossible DoD program costs.

[Below] RuAF Su-34 in action over Syria releasing a KAB-500S satellite-guided munition near Aleppo. Wingtip ECM pods are also clearly visible. The Russians are using their reconnaissance satellites to assist in targeting. The Su-34 also has no need for extra external fuel tanks.
Russia entry into the conflict will act as a massive force multiplier for the SyAAF (Syrian Arab Air Force) as all manner of satellite data, and other assistance made available to government forces. Having said that, SyAAF sortie activities are now more difficult to track. Let all pray the SyAAF helicopter barrel-bombings(terror) attacks on civilian bread-lines stop (unlikely). With so many Syrian men leaving the country to avoid conscription - Syrian women are now part of the Syrian Defence Forces (NDF) - mostly manning checkpoints.  

In our view, the Obama administration Russia-policy has been dreadful. No regular contact with Russia because of Ukraine (a problem we helped create) is childish. It also does not serve the American public interest. Russia is capable of incinerating the United States - so one must (must) maintain a regular dialog. Frequent interaction promotes Détente. Honestly, we will be happy when Obama and his administration leave office. Thankfully the US Secretary of State and Russian Foreign Minister made a joint statement at the UN today [30-Sept 2015] - so perhaps there is hope for adult discourse between the Whitehouse and the Kremlin. And then this [23-Oct] in Vienna.
If the Russians fight like they did in the Second Chechen War - expect them to level the place with a correspondingly high civilian death toll. The RuAF has a much smaller force than CENTCOM but better basing - so very high sortie rates are possible. The Kremlin says it also wants to destroy large numbers of Russian-Chechen Islamist fighters now in Syria. Russia may use larger yield weapons than typically used in the West (mindful of civilian deaths). IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) from Iran are also on the ground fighting with Assad, so relieving Shia populations under siege by Sunni Islamists will be high on the list of priorities. Then there is Hezbollah. We shall see how all this develops. Expect one main focus for Russian strikes to be to collapses the vast rebel tunnel networks.

 The Russian air force has taken a keen interest in US drone flights over Syria. There may be a concern by the Russian MoD that CENTCOM or CIA will feed information to anti-Assad elements. It is imperative we keep a dialog open with Russia on US drone flights - we need to be careful here.

RuAF Su-34s and Su-24s are sometimes seen using 'dumb' bombs rather than PGMs. It is possible the Russians are encountering satellite-frequency-jamming at some targets. However, the best answer is simply to collapse the maze of rebel tunnels cut under towns and neighborhoods.

The Kremlin is watching NATO (the Turks) and Saudi Arabia closely because of their history of massive assistance to Islamists in Syria. This includes a new warning about any deliveries of MANPADs. This will never work - it does not serve the American public interest (or Europe) to rush to the defense of either the Turks or a Wahhabist monarchy in Saudi Arabia over their possible escalation in Syria. It does not. In addition, Russia can vastly complicate US-Saudi efforts in Yemen by supplying ATGMs and MANPADs to Yemeni rebels. CENTCOM is now operating A-10C and AC-130 over Syria (and in theater) - so Western-supplied MANPADs are out.

As "the powers that be" make progress on the Syrian battlefield (Russia, Iran, Assad, and Iraq- at some point the United States is going to be asked to leave - as the Americans have neither declared war or been invited. Assertions of Assad ‘illegitimacy’ will likely fall flat in the international legal arena. From a historical perspective, we are way (way) over the line in Syria.

As an outside observer, judging from progress made to date (on the ground) by Russia, Iran, Iraq, and the regime - and the territorial losses by all opposition elements - the war in Syria will be effectively lost by anti-Assad elements sometime in the first half of 2016. 

This horrible war has been nothing short of a catastrophe - it must be ended as soon as possible, so there is hope for millions-upon-millions of Syrians to return home.

Lastly, we would remind the reader that misinformation and disinformation are tools of war. We will do our best to filter through what is being reported and photographed. What weapons, tactics, targets, why-and-why-not could take a while to filter through. Expect some unexpected surprises. 

Because details will change and the situation so fluid, special thanks to ACIG.

04-Dec 2015: Footage of the RuAF hitting yet another oil truck convoy. With Russian warplanes prowling Syria and no CENTCOM-type ROE restrictions - nothing will be moving in-or-out out of Syria. Unfortunately for civilians - this is how a war is won. "The only good war - is a short war." The latest from the Russian MOD.

23-Nov 2015: Increasing reports of Russian infantry operating in the north. Again the combined weight of combat power being brought to bear, (Russia, the regime, Iran, Iraq) against all opposition elements, ensures this whole thing might be over in Syria by summer 2016.

20-Nov 2015: [Below] An incredible piece of video has appeared showing Russian strategic air forces attacking Syria, over Iranian airspace with cruise missiles - while being escorted by Iranian Air Force F-14AM 'Tomcat' fighter-interceptors. The F-14 are from 83TFS. This is the first time we have seen direct support by the formal Iranian military in Syrian operations - rather than just Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) ops. Target shown in the video is indeed the 'Thayyem' oil field.

Having Iranian F-14 Tomcats alongside Russian heavy bombers – is designed to send a clear message of the evolving Iran-Russia relationship. Yet another signal of the returning bipolar order. 
[Below] Su-30SM out of Syria over the Mediterranean with the massive Tu-160 'Blackjack.'

19-Nov 2015: Massive escalation in bombing. Five Tu-160 'Blackjack', six Tu-95MS 'Bear', and fourteen Tu-22M3 'Backfire' bombers flew sorties from Russia. The first raid included 34x KH-555 and KH-101 cruise missiles.

18-Nov 2015: [Below] Looks like CENTCOM has left (far) too much Daesh black-market oil-infrastructure (processing/storage/transport) intact in Syria - over the past 13 months. First video are miles of oil tanker trucks:

17-Nov 2015: Massive Russian strike on ISIS on conjunction with France (on civil infrastructure?). Cruise missiles were launched today by Russian long-range bombers and from the Kilo III class Rostov-on-Don in the Mediterranean Sea. Aircraft weapon lunches included from Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3. This marks the combat debut for both the Tu-160 and Tu-95. The Russian MoD announcing additional combat aircraft deployment to Syria as well. The fighting in Syria is going to be over sooner -  rather than later. [Also] Note what appears to be a new Russian "AGM-158 JASSM" or "AGM-129"class-weapon, not seen before.

video: Russian MoD
Depending on what civil infrastructure is being hit (in Raqqa) this does not help post-war Syria. It is, however, important to hit Syrian black-market oil infrastructure. We shall wait and see what and where. France and Russia's relationship goes back to before World War One. [Below] Something was hit by AAA near Aleppo. Current weather conditions and height consistent with a cruise missile?

CENTCOM finally (finally) is going after Syria’s black-market oil infrastructure. They should have leveled it 10 months ago (!). Washington needs to withdraw all requests to close airspace to Russian aircraft.

16-Nov 2015: Russian air power in action over Kafr Zita northern Syria (Hama). This includes Su-25 cannon fire. Very clear video of RuAF Su-25SM 'Frogfoot' and Su-24M 'Fencer.'

Rebel TOW teams are still making their presence felt? Here they knock out a technical and munition truck, and then some poor slob in a SUV. Purportedly all Iranian militia in Birnah (on the coast). We are increasingly suspicious of the re-posting old video purporting to be current. We can't verify when this was shot.

CENTCOM finally (finally) went after Daesh black-market oil infrastructure in Syria. They should have leveled these targets 10 months ago (!!)

13-Nov 2015: Dreadful Jihadist terror attack in Paris. France says it will retaliate.

13-Nov 2015: ISIS central command appears it is being routed by pro-regime forces at Deir Ezzor Military Airport after heavy fighting. Rebels defenses collapsing in southern Aleppo also. [Below] Unidentified munition (white phosphorus or cluster bomb) used on Idlib. WP was used in Gaza (by Israel) and the Battle of Fallujah (by the United States). Nightime use can also serve as a psychological weapon.

12-Nov 2015: Photo (the image appears to be authentic - read: no Photoshop), purporting to be a Russian S-400 battery at Latakia. If true, the S-400 can engage any aerial object (terrain permitting) in a 400 km (~ 240 mi) size ring. The S-400 can stop any Western No-Fly-Zone over Syria - unless the system is taken out first.
The reportedly IRGC has overrun al-Hadher in southern Aleppo. A bad defeat for anti-regime forces there. Some reports say the Iranians should have reached a point some 25 km from encircled Shi'a enclaves of Fouah and Kafaryah. Also heavy fighting in the al-Hadher due to counteroffensive attempt by JAF. Rebels also under pressure by pro-regime elements at Marj as-Sultan AB in Eastern Ghouta.

11-Nov 2015: [Below] Video from Palmyra front [Graphic warning] showing RuAF Mi-24P. If someone could ID the blue fatigues (what nation) this would be helpful. The antiquities at Palmyra must be liberated-protected from Salafist-fundamentalists as soon as possible.

10-Nov-2015: [Below] RuAF strike on Darayya. There appears to be a small explosion before the main blasts. Why was the camera trained in this direction before the attack? There appears to a large secondary, but could also be bomb fusing.

Reportedly (pro)-regime forces have broken the 3-year siege by ISIS of Kuweires Military Airport. Reports of Russian speakers (marines?) on the ground as well.
Daesh front line cut in two. We will be watching for Russian use of area-denial-munitions to solidify gains and/or paralyze opposition force(s) counter moves. Chechen Jihadists remain high on the list for the Kremlin. After one month of Russian application of force - it does appear to be tipping equation in Syria. We shall see.
[Below] RuAF Su-34 over Kfar Naha.
It appears pro-government (IRGC) forces have made large advances south of Aleppo reaching the eastern outskirts of al-Hadher. Taking Tel Mamu, Azizeyeh, south of al-Hadhar (see above video) and now report the capture of al-Hamidi, Dadi, Jebel Kfar Haddad, and Touman. How rebel groups can withstand the weight force now aligned against them - we don't know. Whatever one's views are on the Syrian war - it is just a matter of time now before opposition forces collapse.

07-Nov 2015: [Above] RuAF Mi-24P over Safita Tartous. Loadout appears to be four AT-6 or AT-9 "Spiral” ATGM, and four 80mm S-8 rocket pods. Russian machines delete the 12.7 mm mini-gun turret in favor of a fixed two-barrel 30mm GSh-30K autocannon fitted on the right side of the cockpit. Again note Russian ultra-low level flying. Properly operated - the Russian Hind is effectively impervious to ground fire - and are highly effective. Russian operation of the Mi-24 has been one of the largest eye-openers for the West – with many scrambling to rework their assessments. [Below] First time we have seen RuAF Su-25SM with 4 X B8M1 (S-8) rocket's pods. This means Su-25 are conducting CAS (Close Air Support).
06-Nov 2015: [Below] Thankfully CENTCOM is now providing A-10C CAS support to the YPG. If Gulf Monarchies or the Turks introduce MANPADs - there is going to be hell to pay.

06-Nov 2015: Roughly 50% of the videos appearing of TOW launches by rebel groups are accurate and can be used to assess events on the ground. Rebels in Aleppo/Idlib/NE Lattakia are receiving more ammo (and other supplies) than usual (Qatar?). Syrian opposition groups are highly motivated to fight and time will tell if they can withstand the combined weight of Russia, the regime, Iran Iraq. If the Russian coalition wants to end this thing sooner rather than later - they better get some videos up showing ground-fighting successes w/out cruelty to prisoners - to move hearts and minds? The world needs this ghastly war to be over - as soon as possible.

05-Nov 2015: (Sigh...) Somebody (Russia, SyAAF, or CENTCOM) knocked out water and power in the Islamic State-held city of A-Raqqa. We already know it was the Americans. For some reason, Washington does not want the Syrian state to function after the war is over. Syria needs to remain as functioning as possible so there can be hope for millions-upon-millions of Syrian refugees to return home. As uncomfortable as this is to say - Washington's military needs to be pushed out of Syria before CENTCOM is allowed to destroys what remains of Syrian civil infrastructure. In addition, the international community has already acknowledged the current Syrian governments legitimacy (as heinous as it is) when Syria relinquished its chemical weapons.So Washington is on serious legal thin ice here. The Syrian regime is horrific - but no war declaration and no invite - is going to be a problem.

05-Nov 2015: [Below] Images are appearing of Iraqi C-130 in Syria supporting IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) operations.
04-Nov 2015: [Below] Russian flown Hinds in action near Palmyra. See link

04-Nov 2015: [Below] New previously unknown Russian laser-guided weapon - designated the 'KAB-1500LG-E.'
03-Nov 2015: In a bizarre twist the Pentagon has ordered twelve F-15C (air superiority fighters) to Incirlik, Turkey. This is bizarre as the F-22A Raptor is already in theater - and purported to be the worlds premier 'air dominance aircraft. So why deploy (air-to-air only) F-15C ??

Government forces received their first deliveries of new Russian-built T-72B1 MBT. These are the first tank deliveries to Syria since the 1990s. The tank is fitted with reactive armor to help protect against ATGMs.

03-Nov: New anti-Islamic State (IS) alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the “beginning of military operations that will continue until all the areas of Al-Hasakah occupied by the IS terrorists are liberated.” The SDF, formed approximately three weeks ago, consists of a mixture of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), including female units, Arab and Assyrian forces, and describes its multi-ethnic alliance as “a national force for a future Syria.” The SDF are receiving CENTCOM air support.

02-Nov 2015: Heavy fighting south of Aleppo. Pay close attention to units fighting government forces. Note al-Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra) JaN units (black flags) fighting alongside Free Syrian Army (FSyA) units while ISIS is just north of Al-Safirah.
The Russians knew that applying pressure on the entire front, force all the various anti-government factions to unify against the regime - and therefore regarding air power target selection - produces no delineation between ("moderate" and jihadi) rebel groups. So they can be attacked. This is textbook "battlefield manipulation/preparation" as it eliminates the type of "CENTCOM-hairsplitting" method of war, which has done too little after 13 months. The Russians have shown no interest in knocking out electricity and water supplies (as opposed to what the US did to Iraq) as they are essential state functions. We shall see. Washington has vastly underestimated the Russians - a systemic and unfortunate long term issue. If more "TOW" ATGMs and MANPADs are supplied by state actors in the Syrian conflict - then "Konkurs" ATGMs and MANPADs will appear in the hands of Houthis in Yemen. [Below]  An interesting image has appeared of Iraqi Kata'ib Hizbullah (based on flag flown) T-72s purportedly on the move, south of Aleppo. This group received CENTCOM air-support in Iraq.
Also reports of a large government push into Ghannam (southern part of the Turkmen Mountains) in northern Latakia. Reportedly with Russian Mi-24 helicopter support.
29-Oct 2015: Updated synopsis of changing front lines: here. Below, more video has appeared.

27-Oct 2015: Twelve A-10C Thunderbolt IIs from Moody AFB, Georgia to Incirlik AB for use in Syria.

27-Oct 2015: [Below] We have a major development out of Turkey. We have a warning from the Kremlin not to supply man-portable air-defense systems to opposition fighters in Syria - while we now have photographs of MANPADs (FN-6) training in Turkey (a NATO member) as a prelude to delivery into the war in Syria. Update: these images are from early October 2014 (but FN-6 reports could be authentic).
"Russian Foreign Ministry warned on Friday that supplying terrorists in Syria with man-portable air-defense systems will be deemed a direct support for terrorists and means that those who do it must face the consequences."The Russian diplomat affirmed that in case such systems end up in terrorists’ hands, the country involved will have to be held to account for siding with international terrorism with all the attendant consequences this act implies. “This should be taken as a serious warning,” he added."

Again this ‘MANPAD development’ does not serve the American or European public interest - as the Turks would be facilitating escalation in Syria (and so with Russia) while Assad is no threat to NATO. Russia would simply "introduce" MANPADs into Yemen to complicate US-Saudi efforts there (and provide ATGMs and heavier weapons to the Kurds). Erdoğan is a fool.

In addition, the Pentagon announced it will conduct "direct action on the ground" against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria. This is a direct response to Russian actions in Syria as Washington would never "up the ante" with insertion of ground forces otherwise. It also indicates how poor CENTCOM intel is on Daesh - operations to collect up ISIS prisoners is simply an attempt to collect intel.

26-Oct 2015: Unconfirmed statement: "Among the dead ISIS combatants killed by the Syrian Arab Army’s 66th Brigade of the 11th Tank Division was the terrorist group’s Saudi field commander “Abu Usama Al-Jazrawi.” An unconfirmed statement says MANPADs will be delivered in November.

25-Oct 2015: The front line from Western Aleppo down to Hama continues to be fluid. Now with the weather clearing the RuAF will be busy. Expect progress by pro-government forces as well as more civilian casualties. Russians have imposed a strict ban on entry for all Syrian officers onto air bases where Russian aircraft are based (BAAIAP/Hmemmem) as there appear to be security concerns regarding leaks.

24-Oct 2015: Weather in Syria is now cloudy, drizzly, and rainy. Inclement weather will affect air power employment. Observers should also remain cognizant of weather in images of the fighting. Otherwise, you are watching a TOW engagement that happened last summer.

[Above] RuAF interception of an unknown drone over Syria. It appears to be an MQ-9 Reaper. The Russian pilot is careful not to fly over the top of the drone which disrupts the UAVs satellite-link to its operator.

20-Oct 2015: Government is making gains in Aleppo with steady reports of high civilian casualties from air strikes [expected - higher civilians deaths will mount by definition - for areas to be retaken by government forces]. There are increasing reports of small drones, flying into anti-government units, and exploding [Below] RuAF Su-30SMs have been relocated into former blast pens at Latakia.
17-Oct 2015: [Below] RuAF Mi-24P attack helicopters in action over northern Homs, Talbiseh. Anti-fratricide technology could be 'in-play' in Syria with respect to MANPADs (like SA-14/16/18) vs RuAF. We are surprised frankly and the effectiveness of RuAF Mi-24P in Syria so far. Ultra low-level flying + daytime operations + lots of expendables (flares) assist in IR (infrared heat) masking.  What's happened to rebel FN-6 (MANPAD) threat is unclear. Something seems definitely up. Expect "someone" (Saudi and Qatar) to attempt to redress - and with unintended consequences.

"Massive" material losses by Syrian government armor to rebel TOW missiles. There is no way to known when TOW engagement footage was actually taken (noting terrain, date of video, and weather conditions at the time) correlation at times - appears dubious. We could be watching old videos from a year ago. Expect 'active protection systems' (APS) to possibly to appear in Syria.

15-Oct 2015: Rumors (rumors) that RuAF Su-30SM picked up an American F-22A over Syria at a range of over 40 km. There appears to be a Western change in tone after the incident? Also, the Russian MoD says its working with the IDF-AF to avoid encounters in the air.

[Potential Russian friendly fire incident] A single strike said to have hit Mamlouk checkpoint in NW Homs, is said to have killed 40 government troops of the 26 Brigade NDF.

 CENTCOM has deployed twelve A-10C from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia to Incirlik AB, Turkey.

14-Oct 2015: RuAF appears to have hit a convoy and the HQ of the Faylaq ash-Sham (FSyA) as this was moving towards the front. Location is unknown.

Predictions by the Pentagon and Western analysts of certain Russian combat losses have yet to come to pass. We find this type of Western "well-wishing" (hoping they get shot down) - childish. This isn't a football game - its a problem we also helped create by "regime change" recklessness in Iraq. To the DC beltway: Grow up you idiots.

13-Oct 2015: Another busy day. After two weeks - Russia's overwhelming firepower is beginning to show in Syria. Government forces are on the move. There is no amount of TOW missiles in the world - that can stop this (MLRS at Sukayka):

Today was also a bad day for civilian casualties in Rif Dimashq: 15 civilians killed, more than 20 injured. This issue will surely only increase. Another reason to get this ghastly war over with - as soon as possible.

Finally, CENTCOM pilots had a visual encounter with the RuAF over Syria today. The Russians were having another look (ELINT/SIGINT?) at US drones. An East-West aerial encounter over Syria is an ever-present concern.

12-Oct 2015: "Turkish jets harassed by Syria missiles, ’necessary response’ given." NATO may have fired an anti-radiation missile at Syrian or Russian air defense radars. An East-West confrontation could (also) start with the Turks? A confrontation the West understandably has no stomach for - nor should we. Syria isn't worth it. Presently - it thankfully appears to be a false report - but we will watch. [update: report false, involved drone]

Syrian Army makes gains in northern Aleppo.

10-Oct 2015: Yet another report of "Russian MiG-29" (in Syria) downed by Turkish fighters. [Below] Two Russian Mi-24s attack Kfar Zita/Moarek through a hail of ground fire. The air-to-ground rockets the Russians are using appear to have some delayed fusing.

09-Oct 2015: SyAAF Mi-24 shot down near Kfar Zitalikely by ground fire, (1 KIA) rest of crew rescued.

08-Oct 2015: The Turks claim they have shot down an unidentified aircraft near the Turkish/Syrian border. No new information as of yet but might be a NATO drone (fratricide). Busy day:
  • Government offensive still moving ahead in Hama.
  • Massive Russian MRL-attack in Idlib. 
  • RuAF aircraft intercepting and shadowing U.S. 'Predator' drones. Whether the Russians are vacuuming up drone ELINT is unknown. 
[Below] Frightening footage of Russian Mi-24P ‘Hind-F’ gunships in action in Syria. They operate totally differently than SyAAF flown machines - flying at very low level. There is nothing wrong with Russian bravery – as the aircrews fly through a hail of ground fire. Russian Mi-24s are more heavily armed than the version exported to Syria. The Hind is designed to withstand heavy fire - and so far Russian flown Mi-24 combat performance in Syria - has been impressive.

[Below] Dramatic footage of a Mi-24P Hind attack in the daytime. The first clip is a SyAAF Mi-24 dropping bombs. The next very low altitude clips are Russian flown VKF Mi-24P. SyAAF Mi-24s do not operate in this manner. MANPADs may have trouble locking onto the heat source if flown this low - in the daytime (it is called "IR masking"). However, there are now several reports of SyAAF or RuAF helicopters shot down (false report). Heavy caliber and small arms fire appear useless against the Russian-operated Mi-24P.

[Below] Footage without commentary.

07-Oct 2015: The Russian navy cruise missile strike today. Twenty-six (26) 'Kalibr-NK' cruise missiles hit eleven (11) targets in Syria - reportedly with very high accuracy. There has also been wild rumors today of the confrontation between Israeli F-15s and Russian aircraft (off the Syrian coast) for which we remain skeptical. Syrian army offensive is having trouble or has stalled-out near Kafr Zita - heavy losses to ATGMs.

The Russians launched 26 cruise missiles that flew right through CENTCOMs CJTF-OIR arena of operations. Four (4) may have failed to hit their targets.

06-Oct 2015: [Below] RuAF IL-20 'ELINT' (electronic intelligence) like this example - was spotted over Idlib.
06-Oct 2015: NATO says RuAF Su-30 locked-on Turkish F-16s for nearly 6 minutes, (5 min 40 sec). The Russian attempt to scare off the NATO aircraft instead surely resulted in ELINT/SIGINT collection and analysis by CENTCOM / NATO of Su-30SM 'Bars-R radar' signals. To what degree 'Bars-R' was compromised - is unclear. The event occurred on the coast, over the Hatay region. There has been more than one incident involving THK F16s possible also involving SyAAF MiG-29. Five minutes and forty

05-Oct 2015: "Turkish F-16 fighter jets were scrambled after a Russian warplane violated Turkey's airspace on Saturday, the foreign ministry said." [Again as predicted] that RuAF Su-30´s 'frightened off' several IDF (ELINT/SIGINT) airplanes over the Mediterranean, off the Syrian coast. Now NATO is warning Russia to "to cease and desist" its operation in Syria.
05-Oct 2015 [Above] What appears to be a "Krasukha (Красуха) mobile, electronic warfare (EW) system" (at Latakia). The Krasukha could jam CENTCOM radio spectrum assets. These systems could neutralize low-Earth orbit (LEO) spy satellites such as the US Lacrosse/Onyx series, airborne surveillance radars and radar-guided ordinance at ranges between 150km-300km.
[Above] RuAF Su-30SM returning from a sortie with R-27 'Alamo' rounds on inner and belly station and R-73/74 "Archer-class" rounds on the outer stations. Excellent photos and video here. There is some surprise that R-77 is not fitted (there maybe performance and/or build quality problems similar AIM-54B). The 'Archer' is IR homing 'dogfight' round while the R-27 appears to be the SARH version. The R-27 comes in a variety of versions: semi-active radar homing, active-radar-homing, infrared homing, passive radar/anti-radiation. An anti-radiation version has likely never been encountered by the West before. Detection range of anti-radiation version could be ~130 nautical miles. It is also reputed to be one of the fastest air-to-air missiles ever built. CENTCOMs new Air Tasking Order will be that RuAF Su-30 are assumed 'so equipped.' [There is some confusion about which R-27 versions are in-fact in service with the RuAF, we will update when we know more].

There is another possibility. With the advent of DRFM, active-radar-homing missiles -  no longer work.
[Above] National marking are being reapplied on these Su-24M2s in Syria.

03-Oct,2015 [ACIG]
"The USA coalition air strike sorties (numbers) are misleading. According to USA defense officials over 60-70% of the aircraft, return to base without dropping a single bomb. Furthermore, USA rules of engagement permit engaging targets within a high degree of accuracy of intelligence, which is hard to get by in Syria. Thus, only CC bunkers, leadership locations, and on some occasions oil installations are targeted, but such targets are rare to come by. The sorties are not effective due to a lack of anything near real-time intelligence. Even during the lengthy Kobani-battle, the US air support was ineffective in the beginning. In later stages of that battle, the US coordination with the Kurdish fighting units on the ground allowed better targeting, thus, more effective interdiction of ISIL targets."

In the Russian case, there is coordination with Syrian units on the ground, near real-time intelligence, as well as very short lead-time required to be on target. The Russian air assets could be on target within 5-10 minutes, which is not the case with allied aircraft. The efficacy of Russian sorties will be much higher, and their near real-time appearance in any battle zone has a great morale boosting effect on the Syria forces, which is an important aspect in deciding battles.

There is an obvious caveat, as well as hypocrisy in the western perception of Russia’s late entrance to Syria’s quagmire. The US-led coalition is apprehensive about any Russian success, thus, they are crying foul about civilian casualties, targeting moderate elements of US-supported forces, but none of that seems to be factual. The 100-120 US-trained soldiers vanished long before Russia set foot in Syria according to media reports, Thus, there were no leaders to be killed by Russians."

The RuAF finally began to hit Daesh elements in the east.

The Daesh contains Iraqi Ba'athists and a number of Chechen fighters who command Daesh in the military.

To the displeasure of the Turks, the YPG has understandably sided with Russia[?]. Washington's Kurdish policy is disintegrating. To coin a phrase "It was doomed to failure" when Washington allowed a NATO member (Turkey) to start to attack the Kurds while Kurds have been fighting ISIS and coordination CENTCOM air strikes on the entire northern front.
The Kurds are one of the sanest actors in the region - and are not Islamist Salafist-Wahhabist. I would tell the Turks "If you drop one more bomb on the Kurds - you're out of NATO and the EU. The Turks and the Kurds can resolve their issues through negotiation.

We pray the Russian do not target Kurdish forces. They must not. Pray.

Lots of activity in the past 48 hours [ACIG]:

Twelve (12) RuAF aircraft have bombed Douma hitting non-Daesh elements. Rebels there lack SA-8 (MANPAD) operational rounds?

In two waves, one including Su-24s and Su-25, bombed Ma'arat an-Nauman non-Daesh elements in northern Hama.

Latamneh in southern Hama was hit again (for the third consecutive day), by four Su-24s. About 1 hour after bombing Latamneh, RuAF hit the JAN HQ between Khan Sheykhoun (15km from Latamneh) and Muqah.

RuAF aircraft bombed Habit in southern Idlib, early in the morning, killing three and injuring 12 civilians. Another attack took place during the afternoon: results unknown.

In Darat Izza (or Dar Ta'izzah) and Kfar Zita non-Daesh elements struck.

RuAF may have hit Raqqa? Moscow Ministry of Defense cited places named Kasrat al-Faraj and Ma'adan Jadid. Kasrat al-Faraj is a southern suburb of Raqqa - and a hill about 100km south of Raqqa, while Ma'adan Jadid is about 70km east of Raqqa, on the road to Dayr az-Zawr. Reportedly twelve (12) Daesh KIA in Raqqa

Somebody [RuAF / SyAAF / CENTCOM] has hit al-Bab, north of Aleppo, killing 5 Syrian civilians forced by the Daesh to dig trenches around the town. Also hit was the local water company (positioned next to Daesh recruitment center). During the afternoon, there was another strike, this time hitting al-Hal market and killing 40. Russians didn't mention any strikes in this area. Also, Daesh is in total media black-out: locals are strictly forbidden to take photos or upload anything on the Internet. 

Hit by 'unknowns' [RuAF / SyAAF / CENTCOM] were Daesh-held towns of Tel Hafer and Tadef in northern Syria.

In total: some twelve targets should have been hit by about 36 air strikes.

Primary RuAF weapons so far are FAB-250-200 and OFAB-250 general-purpose bombs. Su-24M2s are using PGM (Precision Guided Munition) at night. The Su-34s and Su-24s have already used BETAB-500Sh P, KAB-500S-E, and KAB-500L. They have already been used to destroy underground and concrete hardened shelters.

Most observers believe the Russians are convinced that 'few months' (3-or-4 ) of 'intensive bombardment' are going to be enough to enable the Syrian regime to launch a 'historic' offensive and 'defeat Daesh'. This would be in sharp contrast to the US-led campaign, which has been no more than a 20-to-30% effort.

Syrian rebel says due to Russia air raids, they seek anti-aircraft missiles. Due to IFF issues, this would accelerate CENTCOMs exit (from this war).

03-Oct 2015: Russians have dropped leaflets over the Rastan-Talbiseh pocket, north of Homs ordering all the population to leave.
02-Oct 2015: [Above/Below] RuAF Su-30SM flying CAP (Combat Air Patrol) over Aleppo (air-to-air loadout is unclear) while Russians bombed non-Daesh positions of the 13 Regiment FSyA in eastern Aleppo.  Targets this far north are considered 'within danger zone' - due to proximity to NATO air base in Incirlik (Turkey). Russian qualitative hardware advances (overall) since the 1980s mean American/NATO weaponry - are of lesser relative concern. (To the surprise of many this Su-30 is not carrying R-77s. After doing some checking there are reports of possible build quality/performance problems with the R-77.) Six F-22A from 199th Fighter Squadron, 154th Wing Hawaiian Air National Guard, deployed to the Middle East.
 01-Oct 2015: More video/images appearing:
[Below] New footage from RT. Ignore references to Russian attacks on ISIS as RuAF has been hitting non-Daesh elements in the west. Otherwise excellent footage:
[Above ] Su-34 with possible KNIRTI L005S Sorbtsiya-S mid/high band defensive jamming pods on each wingtip.

[Below] Su-34 and Su-24M in action in Syria. Su-34 'Fullback' returns with an unused KAB-500 (SE?) precision munition (could be satellite-guided version). ECM (electronic counter measures) pods can be observed fitted to the wingtip stations. National marking and serial numbers on all aircraft have been painted over. Having said that, the RuAF is operating out in the open - in full view of US/NATO reconnaissance satellites, perhaps as a reassurance measure.

[Below] Purportedly a RuAF Su-25 in action (over Hama) firing rockets and then appears to be hit by MANPAD, as careful analysis can see the smoke trail come up from the port side. Video must be seen in the highest resolution setting to see whatever is claimed to be occurring. The aircraft then appears to begin a port roll. Some believe it is more likely a rocket or expendable malfunction with some editing to add a smoke trail and sounds of MANPAD launch. The Su-25 is a tough machine, but it acts like it going to crash - then footage stops. Images of RuAF Su-25 wreckage in Syria would have been all over the Internet by now it something had crashed. So we remain somewhat skeptical at this point - about what this video really is. [Update: appears to be false.]

30-Sept 2015: RuAF Su-24M and Su-25 aircraft conducted the first air strikes near Hama and Homs and hit non-Daesh elements. [Below] Footage that includes an attack on Tajamu's HQ. There is right now a debate among observers whether some weapons may have missed (not unprecedented for any precision munition - even ours), or were cluster munitions. Footage maybe is from an orbiting UAV assessing the strike looking in the wrong spot. There is a secondary explosion in the last portion of video. Munition precision is less critical if the weapon is of a larger yield - be it with heightened risk for civilian casualties.

If the Russians fight like they did in Chechnya - expect them to level the place with a high civilian death toll.  The Kremlin says it also wants to destroy Russian-Chechen Islamist fighters now fighting in Syria. Russia may use larger yield weapons than typically used in the West.We will see how all this develops. Chechens are now (for lack of a better term) running the military of ISIS.
28-Sept 2015: [Above] This image is reportedly from Hama. If the location is correct this would be the first operational deployment of the Sukhoi Su-34 into an active combat zone - in the world.
[Above] The Kremlin has deployed a dozen Su-24M strike aircraft to Syria. The type is in the same class as the Panavia Tornado and the F-111.
[Above] Sukhoi Su-25 CAS/ground-attack aircraft. The type was used to great effect during the 2008 Russian-Georgian War - operating under nearly impossible IFF conditions. A fact both Russian and Western analysts have missed.
[Above] Russian Federation Sukhoi Su-30SM have been deployed to Syria. This series of aircraft has evolved into what is (we believe) the finest combat aircraft in the world in the last seventy (70) years. Maneuverability, combat range (tactical flexibility), and weapons load for Su-30 is unprecedented  - and exceeds any fighter in Western inventories. The aircraft was developed during the 1980s.

26-Sept 2015: The RuAF has so far deployed nearly thirty (30) fixed-wing aircraft including four (4) Su-30SM 'Flanker', twelve (12) Su-25SM 'Frogfoot', twelve (12) Su-24M 'Fencer', and roughly fifteen (15) rotary-wing, mostly Mi-24P 'Hind-F' gunship helicopters, as well as air-defense system(s) of possible S-300, or S-400.
21-Sept 2015: Events moving rapidly. New images at Al-Assad International AP, Syria. RuAF Su-25 CAS/attack aircraft and Su-24 precision all-weather strike aircraft arrive. The Su-25(SM variant?) are reportedly from Gvardeyskoye AB (Crimea). The aircraft contingent is consistent with supporting ground operations - and not to confront allied air. Having said that the RuAF Su-30SM and S-300/400 SAM are more than capable of confronting Western hardware (this includes Israel and the Turks). Expect a beehive of allied ELINT/SIGNIT (ie RC-135 Rivet Joint) flights to attempt to vacuum up sensitive Russian radar/radio signals. The Su-30s could try to stop or frighten off ELINT/SIGNIT flights? This could get dicey.
[Above] Newer image.
20-Sept 2015: [Below] This image has now appeared purporting to show four Russian Federation Su-30SM Flankers at Latakia Bassel Al-Assad International airport, Syria. The numbing on the runway and other features are consistent with historical pictures of Al-Assad International. Reportedly these four Su-30SMs are from 412th AvB Domna. The Su-30SM is a serious machine with greater unrefueled combat radius/combat persistence, maneuverability, and weapons load than anything the coalition, the US, or Israel can employ. This is the first known deployment of the type in the middle east. Consider the game "changed."
We have been very tough on the United States. But with good reason. A unipolar hegemonic world with America at its center, propelled by Chicago School of Economics Neoliberal orthodoxy beginning in the 1980s, has produced the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression – and laid waste the livelihoods of millions of people around the world (and in the U.S.) and been instrumental in destabilization, political and social polarization - around the globe – that includes armed conflict.

The 1929 Wall Street crash and the resulting Great Depression were instrumental in bringing about World War II. You cannot have a unipolar hegemonic entity actively conducting Neoliberal Doctrine – on a global scale - which causes periodic global banking collapse - followed by deep massive global recessions-depressions.

This is not the world anyone wants to live in - nor should accept.

No one operates in a vacuum.

Your thoughts?

- All media found here is for scholarship and research purposes and protected under U.S. Internet ‘Fair Use’ Law -


  1. "Footgae that includes an attack on Tajamu's HQ. It appears some weapons may have missed (not unprecedented for any precision munition - even ours), or cluster munition"
    seems like in the two firsts explosions what we see its only splinters... it seems to be dust clouds more than explosions ... the explosions are in the inferior section of the video, and we can see only a little bit of it
    (too spaced to be cluster (kmgu or simil)?)

  2. Turkish authorities claim RUAF violated Turkish airspace (as expected). If one of the countries looses a plane it would be an official NATO - Russia "hot" war.,FMMr9H6IT0CK_C-MjWxOPA

  3. It was Russian Su-30's that violated Turkish airspace Russia has no MiG-29 in Syria. There have been reports of SyAAF MiG-29 locking-on on a THK F-16 however. The Americans still think their in control of events.NATO has really hacked off the Russians with air patrols on their border. This could get dicey.

    1. Mig 29 story is funny. General staff hq claimed "mig-29 of unknown origin". Maybe it was an identification error ? Or maybe a saaf pilot wanted some action while his big brothers are around ?

      It is unlikely that THK will attack a russian plane. Russians know that too. We may see more violations. It is also possible to see more SAAF provocations.

  4. So Russia is openly using Iraqi airspace. It is a great possibility that Russians will start hitting targets in Iraq too.

    1. [Russian view] Fix Assad first - then whatever else later.

  5. There are unconfirmed reports that Turkey just shot down a Russian jet. Let's hope this is false. If not we are all in for a major escalation. I hope Turkey doesn't become aggressive. Many nations intercepts rogue aircraft not shot them down....


    1. I am back to squash my own comment. I highly doubt this incident. It seems to be a whole bunch of BS that started on social media.


    2. I agree. It seems to be the same sources being circulated over and over again. The Russians were not hiding any of there jets. Happily shown them off to everyone. So I doubt very much it was a MIG 29. Secondly.... Most likely those eye witness reports could have been the Turks shooting down a drone. That sounds more plausible.

  6. Here is the video of Su-34 discharging a KAB-500. The video is released by Russians and it looks like it missed the target. Maybe the target was an underground shelter near the main building ? It makes no sense to brag about precision bomb missing its target.

  7. What is the source of photos showin manpad training in Turkey ?

    1. The photos were from last year (2014). Here is the link:

      Some of my sources didn’t date the photo [the year]. Still rumors that MANPADs will appear in Syria in November. We shall see.

      - Boresight

  8. Turkey has a history of using international conflicts to shape internal politics. Anything could happen after November 1st elections. I could not believe US has allowed supplying MANPADS and I could not imagine Turkey doing so without US consent. Those "reports" could be disinformation.

    1. I hope your right. Its saudi and qatar that might be the problem. we'll know soon enough.

  9. Obrescia
    How does one counter MANPADS?


    1. Rotary-wing: Ultra low level flying + daytime operations + lots of expendables (flares) all assist in IR masking.
      Fixed-wing: simply fly higher than the engagement ceiling of MANPAD. - Boresight

  10. Haha I'd assume the best way to counter is to prevent the circulation of MANPADS. Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia have there own issues they are dealing with, the Kurds and Houthis in Yemen. Imagine if someone retaliated and circulated to those 2 groups. The question is, who wants to cross the line in the sand first?

    1. With the Russian entering the war now – we need to seriously throttle out of Syria. It's just not worth some US-Russian mishap in Syria - that may/could escalate. Obama endless changes in policy in Syria demonstrate the Washington strategy is unsound. Time to leave. - The Boresight

    2. I can't imagine Turkish casualties if Kurds gets ATGMs, let alone MANPADs. But they will have them If we continue to supply Islamists.

  11. A quote from your piece, obrescia.
    "And now we get this...which is to simply increase the pressure (on the Russians) by having American forces on the ground - and thwart Russian operations (read: to get in the way of). How any of this serves the American public interest – has not addressed."

    Any pursuit by this administration or next one to insert a large number of troops in Syria will be met with fierce resistant from the public (I hope). All the presidential hopefuls (except some GOPs) know that more troop commitment in Syria (and possibly in Iraq) will be politically suicide. No one will do it.

    Now we all have to wait and see if the regime can claw back some territories and watch for the Turkish response. Will they go along with US plans to prop this Arab Alliance which is predominantly Kurds (4 to 1 in favor of the Kurds in size)?
    The last thing that Turkey wants is a Kurdish autonomy in Syria, which is starting to take shape. I seriously believe they would prefer an ISIS rule rather than a Kurdish one.


    1. Last election in Turkey shows a major kurdish vote shifting to Erdogan. -Believe it or not.- This is bizarre. Seems like PKK and democratic Kurds are splitting apart. We can't predict where the Syrian Kurds will stand.

      They might -have to - make their peace with Assad, if they do US will give a free hand to Turkey to do whatever they want agains Kurds. Also since there is no internal resistance to Erdogan now, we might see escalating support to islamist or even direct Turkish Army involvement.

      Things will get worse in Syria for sure. Refugee crises will get bigger. War will drag on for a long time. It will be a living hell before we know it.

    2. The problem here is - the line of thinking by United States complaining about Syria: Russian and Iran are pursuing exactly the same strategy in Syria that Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are pursuing in Yemen.

      No regime change

      And for all the same stated rationale.

      - Boresight

  12. Why does hinds does not use Vikhrs ATGMs?

    1. Not sure the Mi-24P can use AT-16 currently. I'd need to do some checking. Likely overkill vs AT-6 and AT-9.

  13. S-400? This appears to be another disinformation or a similar technology mis-identified as the S-400. Maybe it's just a radar unit for contact between Russian jets in the air.

    Regardless, the Russians are denying this. But I will more likely believe that they have an S-300 variant there as insurance rather than the S-400.


    P.S. We all need to watch for the response from the West (particularly the US, France, & Britain) after ISIS latest terrorist attack in Paris. If it wasn't for Russia's intervention in Syria, complicating everything; this attack would have ignited a ground invasion from a NATO backed-Arab Coalition in Syria. But the Russians have taken this card off the table for them.

    1. I've read that the acquisition radar in that picture can be used on the S-300 variants. So again more reason to believe that an S-300 battery is posted at Latakia rather than the S-400.

    2. The problem with the United States/NATO complaining about Syria: Russian and Iran are pursuing exactly the same strategy in Syria that Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are pursuing in Yemen. No regime change

      And for all the same stated rationale.

      - Boresight

  14. Okay, it's official. The S-400 is going to Syria. Thanks, in no part, to Turkey. We might even see more escalations from Russia.--Xx

  15. Aside from the fact that you are always taking for granted that the US are lying (even though the last F-22s were delivered with a price tag of ~140 million), you are also contradicting yourself. Since you claim that DRFM is such a game-changer, then how come you think the Bars-R PESA (non-frequency agile) radars of the Su-30SMs/Su-35s are going to have any chance of survival? The US does possess such jammers, meaning that the radar missiles of the Flankers will be made useless, meaning their pathetic IRSTs (inferior to PIRATE/OSF) will be their only (and not too useful, and yes I know about your IRST-related articles) solution. Meanwhile, the F-22s are likely going to DRFM-jam them using their APG-77s (they have all the prerequisites to be considered DRFM-capable), launch LPI AMRAAMs (how good is the Khibiny at last-minute jamming?), maybe fire AIM-9Xs from near-WVR, turn tail and run away so fast no heavy Flanker will catch them. And for the record, Russians have no anti-radar AAMs in service (useless against F-22s anyway, will need new seeker tech), no R-77Ms, and no R-77Ts. In fact, those in your pics are legacy R-27s, not even the -E models. Only thing they've shown is R-77-1s, in limited service and outclassed even by the AIM-120C-series. So to all reading this, try to avoid using non-existent weapons in order to bash US-built aircraft...

    Yes, that's totally why the Russians are using dumb bombs so much...because America is jamming their's totally not because this is what their stocks were mostly made up of until now and they have no money, no...even though they could counter that by simply using LGBs, but we don't see many of those either...American must have laser jammers too...and they have all this, but not DRFM...absolutely...

    Wait a sec, first you say that the Russians are doing good by "not splitting hairs over civilian casualties, war is war and only a short one is good", but then you accuse the US of knocking out essential state functions? Did it occur to you that these functions are also important to the militants holding those cities? Or do you prefer your conspiracy theory as a better explanation? That statement reveals a lack of understanding of how war is conducted. This isn't the first time such facilities are being targeted by the US in war.

    Your linked article, which you used to support your rumours, does not even state the number "40", much less talk about a Su-30 picking up a F-22 on radar...

    With all that said, however, I must say that I agree with what has to be said with regards to the big picture - the US war in Syria is being conducted in a nasty way, and US goals extend far beyond what they should be. For all the reasons to want Assad out, his government's recovery is still quite possibly the only future path to stability for the country, and sticking it to Russia and Iran is not worth destroying Syria with regime-toppling plans, moderate rebels with runaway weapons & conflicting aims, and vast delays in fighting ISIS because Russia and USA refuse to coordinate while trying to deconflict their separate operations.

  16. Hi, (under character limits here so my apologies)

    $74 billion divided by 187 = cost to the US taxpayer of $395,721,925.00 per copy as an average cost. That effectively a whopping $400 million per Raptor. We curiously doubt the F-22A is $400 million better than an Su-30 or Su-35.

    This is not my claim – this is a US Air Force Association claim.
    Please see our “Threats to Air Supremacy; USAF Association Presentation”

    Remember that a radar return pulse that is used to determine target distance by air intercept radar is an average of more than one return pulse. During the listening window DRFM introduces powerful return pulses indistinguishable from the real return pulses which are then captured by the weapon system when averaged together. This produces a “target distance pulse“ with a velocity error that is then fed into the weapon system. Remember DRFM only has to work (confuse) an incoming missile for a split second. This all happens very quickly.

    We don’t make that assertion. How could we with DRFM used by all sides.

    Russian IRST on Su-30/Su-35 has a larger aperture than their western counterparts. Actual capability would be classified.

    There is no evidence that LPI has been adopted for AIM-120. LPI uses very low power – not a good idea for either Pitbull-on or midcourse updates that need the missile round to hear target aspect instructions.

    Quantify “outclassed?” Short finned AIM-120 used by F-22A has better control surface authority than what precisely? Russia has began building an “R-77” class weapon called RVV-SD with a higher top speed of Mach 4.5 and a verity of seeker head types. These weapon could be difficult to discern from older R-77 and there simply not much information in the public sphere.

    The Russians have kept using precision munitions in the form of cruise missiles. How much these leverage GPS or GLONASS is unclear.

    I will concede that infaructure can be a legitimate target. Whether the US has any legal basis to be destroying Syrian state property in for form of aircraft and other targets is a subject of legitimate debate. With respect to Syria, it has no war declaration, invitation, or clear legal authorization by a civilian institutional body. Not good behavior by the “keeper of the international system and the world example of the shinning city of Democracy.”

    Thanks for your inputs!

    - Boresight

  17. Irst Russians are delayed, technology decade of 70. May not form an image go target and uses only band average infrared (mwir). The OLS-35 has 35-50km reach against a target head in military power, reach maximum ideal conditions of time and field of view narrow. In practice will be less than 30km. How many kill the irst got even today? None. The weighs are much less resistant to ECM than the PESA, all aviation Russian is based on radar weighs. A AESA as apg-81 and apg-77 has a power jamming 10 times greater than any Jammer legacy.There is no report US-30sm detecting F-22 to 40km, on the contrary, the report that there is indicates that a US-30sm only detected the F-22 to less than 3km.

    1. Hi Ricardo,

      I would say Russian vs American technology is uneven. The Americans are ahead in some areas and the Russian are ahead in others. Their technology isn't really behind ours - they just focus on different things - like costs - sometimes to an extent that simply baffles Western observers.

      As far as the OLS-35 specs you cite, you need to ask yourself "but at what altitude?" The higher you fly an IR sensor, the further an IR sensor can see because atmospheric density is reduced. It's just simple physics.

      This is why the F-22 zooming around at Mach 1.7 at 50,000 ft is vulnerable.

      Have a look at this and see if you can find an issue with our reasoning?

      The only difference between AESA and PESA is how the base radar energy square wave is generated. AESA used modules while PESA uses traveling wave tubes - otherwise, they're effectively identical output agility.

      Where people get that the Russian only detect and F-22 at 3 km, is anyone's guess. Since the IRST is totally passive there is no way verify that assertion. Only if the Russians point their IRST laser rangefinder at the Raptor at 3km would anyone know the Russians are "seeing" an F-22?

      There is huge political pressure at home to justify the massive expense stealth fighters represent. The Russian PAK-DA "Stealth bomber" is probably already been killed in favor of stealthy cruise missiles - released by traditional conventional aircraft like Su-34, Tu-22, Tu-160, and Tu-95. It's just cheaper. - Boresight

  18. An PESA is closer to a mechanical sweep radar than to an AESA. The only similarity between an AESA and a PESA is electronic scanning. ECM and ECCM of an AESA is much better. The scope of an AESA is much better. Russian fighters use PESA just for the sake of cost. A Stealth fighter need much less jamming power, with an RCS 10000 times smaller, can use a jamming power 10000 times lower to generate the same effect of a legacy fighter. PAK-DA was abandoned for the sake of always, the Russians have no money. As money is not a problem for China, it continues to develop stealth aircraft, will have its B-2. US utilities IRST in their aggressive fighters, IRST more modern than the Russian, Legion pod, this does not appear to have improved performance against the F-22. IRST is strongly affected by climate and the maximum range depends on a narrow field of vision.

    This is the case of the F-22 that approached the Su-30SM without being seen:

    Later it was reported that it was an F-22 and the Su-30SM only detected its emissions at 3 km, then made a visual contact: usp = drivesdk

    1. The PESA in the MiG-31 is just as fast an western counterparts and has no mechanical movement. Again the only difference in the base core signal generation. AESA just has little modules so if some stop working overall performance doesn't suffer much.

      A stealth fighter doesn't want to use a jammer because any transmission can give its position away (DRFM only perhaps that says quiet when not needed). The faster the Chinese develops Stealth, the faster stealth will be phased out globally because of development to counter it:

      "Effectively, what that means is that small stealth aircraft that do not have the size or weight allowances for two feet or more of radar absorbent material coatings on every surface are forced to make trades as to which frequency bands they are optimized for."

      "That would include aircraft like the Chengdu J-20, Shenyang J-31, Sukhoi PAK-FA and, indeed, the United States’ own Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and tri-service F-35 Joint Strike Fighter."

      - Boresight

    2. PESA form 1 beam wave. AESA form multiple beam wave with frequencies different. AESA has twice the range on average. AESA can be a powerful Jammer. Ability LPI / LPD, ECM and ECCM of AESA is much better. Are radar different generations. MiG-31 track and attacked less targets simultaneously than the F-14, the scope was similar to radar mechanic F-14. RBE-2 AESA has a range 50% higher than the RBE-2 PESA. Irbis-E has 200km range (RCS 3m2) to a search by volume.

    3. AESA vs PESA differences are effectively academic regarding function and frequencies possible. AESA has better redundancy due to tiny module generators on the array (if some fail, its no big deal) - so better potential reliability. Otherwise difference are not militarily significant. MiG-31 radar is electronically scanning array only.The MiG-31’s RP-31 was the first ever operational electronically-scanned phased array fighter radar. The M variant can track up to 24 targets and simultaneously engage four. - Boresight

    4. Militarmente a diferença é enorme. AESA: a formação do feixe pode ser mais precisa e podem ser aplicadas diferentes funções afiladas para diferentes feixes. Isso é mais comumente usado na supressão dos lobos laterais, que é uma questão de longa duração na rejeição da confusão e do jammer, mas, mais recentemente, na busca de sigilo, como lobos laterais muito baixos reduzem a probabilidade de detecção por receptores hostis de interceptação ou vigilância.

      AESAs pode ser potencialmente construído com largura de banda muito maior do que PESAs ou MSAs, facilitando os modos Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) e habilitando funções como Electronic Attack (jamming) contra emissores na banda. Esta capacidade também é explorada em alguns projetos para permitir o uso de um radar AESA como uma antena adicional de alto ganho para um subsistema de alerta de ameaça, ou um link de dados com potencial de largura de banda Gigabits / second, ou LPI / covert, ou ambos.

      Os receptores AESA geralmente desfrutam de uma vantagem de ruído de 6 dB ou melhor em relação aos receptores PESA / MSA, pois a perda entre o elemento irradiante da antena e o primeiro estágio receptor contribui para a figura de ruído líquido ou a temperatura do ruído do nível do sistema. A maior eficiência da AESA gera um ganho de 50-100% na faixa de um PESA / MSA. A única semelhança entre PESA e AESA está na melhor capacidade de rastreamento em relação a um MSA, pode rastrear alvos mais espaçados e a uma velocidade maior. Em outros parâmetros PESA / MSA são mais semelhantes que AESA / PESA

    5. Just to note guys, Zaslon is not a traditional PESA radar. It's in fact, a hybrid.
      It does have independent beam-forming, so it can form multiple different beams and control them (2 originally, 8 after first upgrade, more later), which is a feature traditionally not attributed to PESAs.
      It has (2/8) independent signal generators. PESAs usually have one, AESAs are supposed to have one independent per T/R module, in practice, they don't. AN/APG-77 couldn't make every T/R module to use a different signal, and probably a lot of later ones couldn't either.
      What Zaslon designers realized, was that they could make an AESA (there were AESAs on ships already), but they couldn't put even remotely close enough computing power to control all that.
      Thus they chased compromises and ended up with something that is not exactly a PESA radar.
      None of Russian PESA figthter radars are actually PESA radars. They are some kind of hybrids.

    6. hi cactus,

      My understanding is traditionally most Russian radars use a base traveling wave tube(s) to generate base frequency microwaves energy that can then be altered by the emitter modules different frequencies, beams, and other interesting things? I also read somewhere that Zaslon was developed from a ground-based system and adapted for airborne usage? i can't remember the ground based system referenced. Is it not similar the the radar in the B-1 in some design respects?

    7. Zaslon should be using semiconductor signal generators. TWTs serve as amplifiers, not signal generators, but Zaslon (at least later versions) seem to be using semiconductor amplifiers. It was fairly modern tech even by western standards back then.
      Computer controlled, 1700 X-band modules, 64 L-band modules, ferrite phase shifters, digital signal processing.
      Hell, it sounds like a description of a modern radar even now.
      It is perhaps technologically similar to B-1's APQ-164, in some ways more advanced.
      Zaslon was pulling many strings, as it was essentially that shipborne tech stuck inside a fighter's nose. A big fighter, I admit, but not in any way having as much space as a ship or even a B-1 and it also had a misfortune of being stuck right behind a radome that becomes very hot sometimes.
      High power semiconductors were not a problem in the USSR, by the time Zaslon flew, they've been using semiconductor regulated electric locomotives, before almost everyone else. It was mature technology for them. The Argon computer driving it however, was probably then most expensive part on the plane. And it includes two ridiculous engines. That's perhaps the main reason why they eventually deployed much less advanced radars on their later planes. Zaslon was something like Bugatti Veyron of fighter radars.
      Awesome, but practical only for megalomaniacs.

    8. Hi cactus,
      Fascinating. Soviet/Russian computer tech is largely opaque in the West and in Western defense press.

    9. It's not that unknown. Soviets were using foreign software a lot, so they've made a lot of clones. Basically every COMECON country was producing its own clone of Intel 8080 and Zilog Z80. Some of them produced Intel 8086 clones or Motorola 68000 ones. There was widely available software for them, so why bother with creating something different?
      Their scientific and military computers were another kind of fish, however. But still, one of their leading designers was MCST, who created SPARC CPUs - western instruction set supercomputers.
      Those were scientists and they were not going to reinvent the wheel just to make it square.
      Soviet's own designs were architecturally on par with the West. But manufacturing technology lacked, because its development was not financed by big consumer and enterprise markets. They couldn't keep up with general purpose computers.
      But they could keep up with specialized electronics - Zaslon was one example. And hey!
      High frequency DSPs (digital signal processors) and wireless networking were things Soviets did relatively well. Networked SAMs? 1950's fighter datalinks (Su-15)?
      DRFM jammers (a subject very often mentioned here) were first used by the USSR.
      "Passive radars" which are not really radars, were pioneered in field use by Czechoslovakia and USSR.
      1980's Czech Tamara made NATO drop their collective jaws when they got the hold of it in 1999. And it was a 3rd generation of similar systems. And still, there were some very "disturbing" articles written when americans examined Ukrainian Kolchuga, which is a similarity old system.
      Soviet 1950's ternary Setun computers must have been awesome. Samsung is currently researching the modern equivalent.
      Theoretically, Soviet computers were no slouches. However, the lack of rich consumer market meant lack of investment in manufacturing technologies. By the time western children had gaming consoles or BBC Micros, in the USSR, researchers were using similar machines.

    10. Hi Cactus,
      Fascinating. Most people forget that military stuff uses older semiconductor tech that must be available in MIL-spec offerings (aerospace spec extended operating temperature ratings). Older tech doesn't mean "bad." After spending years as a semiconductor test engineer i can assure you it all too easy to make the new thing work "worse" than the old thing its suppose to replace. To make something an actual improvement is harder than it looks. Some "improvements" can be subjective or to build lower costs.

      The compute power of the lunar lander in the late 1960s wasn't very powerful by today's standards - yes - all that proves is you don't need a lot of compute power to land on the moon.

      You inputs and thoughts are always fascinating Cactus - i thank you.

    11. I have grown between trains and airplanes (not a single pilot in my family, but 4 train drivers within 2 generations, 3 of them still doing their job - all of them love it).
      I've been a student of transportation technology since I could walk.
      I have learned one thing - fancy computers are good for science and for games. Every mission critical control system is simple and seemingly ancient. Many supermodern trains run on Windows 95 - not even on Linuxes, but on crappy Windows.
      The reason is simple - it's unbelievably hard to prove a system is reliable enough for human life to depend on it.
      That's why military stuff often seems ancient. Or space probes - they are still basically 1980's computer technology.
      But hell, that Windows 95 powered locomotive is lightyears more reliable than a fancy NVidia powered touchscreen in a Tesla car.
      So no one even bothers to update the locomotive, but you get OTA updates for your car. And it never properly works.
      The Lunar lander computer has done its job because it was only doing what was necessary. It didn't need to run a Java virtual machine just to add a few strings together.
      Back at the time, computer programmers were like weapon designers - the result was perfect when there was nothing to take away.
      Big ships still use 2 stroke diesel engines without any computer control - and they are the most efficient engines around.
      Perhaps we are spoiled by writing comments on the internet using 1990's supercomputers in our pockets?
      We have designed supersonic airliners, flew to the Moon, built nuclear powerplants. And then everyone got computers and we got nowhere.

    12. The amount of hours I've spent waiting for a computer to boot or waiting for an hourglass on a screen - is more time than i ever want to think about.

    13. At least that one problem has been solved, or at least mitigated to an acceptable level. Thank computer God.


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