Russia Deploys Fast Jets to Libyan Civil War

09-Sept 2020: A Russian SAR (Search And Rescue) exercise in Libya was incorrectly reported as a shootdown of a Russian-operated MiG-29. The video is actually from 2018 and not from Libya. 

19-July 2020: A large move to take Sirte by GNA (Turkey supplied) forces may be underway. Details are sketchy at present.

In a seeming repeat of its intervention in Syria, the Kremlin has deployed military fast jet aircraft to Libya, in an obvious move to repeat its success in Syria for the Assad regime and to counter the increasing heavy Turkish military involvement in Libya's civil war. The aircraft will be used to back Libyan commander Khalifa Hifter:

"Mr. Hifter, 76, a one-time C.I.A. asset who tried to overthrow Libya’s longtime dictator, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, in the 1980s, has been fighting for power in Libya since 2014. Based in Benghazi, in the east of the country, he is trying to oust the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, in the west, with the help of foreign backers including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Russia."   

Russia saw the aftermath of the toppling of the Gaddafi regime (which we supported at the time by the way) and the resulting civil war awash with jihadists, as a failed Western policy outcome - and is now actively moving to roll back the aftermath of Western/US/NATO intervention of ' Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector.'

We have come to the same conclusion after Western and US intervention 'regime-change' in Iraq and Libya to topple dictators - has yet to produce desirable results for the people we claim to be helping. What happens is that Western regime-change produces instead a power vacuum filled with jihadists (like ISIS) fueled with petrodollars - that then become an existential threat by directing terrorist attacks on all "infidels" where the dictatorship had not.

Destabilization and chaos are produced rather than Jeffersonian Democracy.

Airpower is a very powerful tool, but without a nuanced political commitment afterward, its utility is limited.

Six Russian MiG-29SD aircraft were flown to Hmeymim AB Syria, repainted to cover national markings, and flown onward to Al Jufrah AB in Libya.

VKS MiG-29S(D) at Hmeymim AB Syria en route to Libya

VKS MiG-29S(D) at Hmeymim AB Syria en route to Libya
According to U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), Russia has deployed some 14 combat aircraft including Su-24.

As the aircraft are employed we will monitor their progress. We shall see how the MiG performs with actual Russian ground support, something that to date, the Fulcrum combat record has largely lacked. All these aircraft are to be flown by Russian VKS aircrews. The Fulcrum will finally be manned in a forward deployment by people of the same nation that designed the plane.

[Below] Fulcrum should be lethal to Turkish drones flying for Tripoli.

10-June, 2020: Reports of VKS MiG-29s in action over Sirte. Details to follow. Retreating GNA convoy may have been hit by the Russian aircraft. Egypt is also sending in M1 Abrams main battle tanks in support of Hifter and the LNA. There are also reports of Egyptian Rafales in action over Sirte.
12-June, 2020: heavy airstrikes reported in/near GNA-controlled areas near the Sharara and Al-Fil oil fields. no confirmation of by whom.

20-June 2020: Egypt is massing its military forces near the Libyan border.

01-July 2020: France and Turkey relations sour over Turkey's involvement in Libya.

05-July 2020: Air attack on GNA Al-Wattia Air Force Base. The attack targeted new air defense systems introduced by the Turks. Reportedly 9 targets were struck. Senior Turkish personnel may have been killed. It remains unclear who conducted the attack but most likely the Egyptians using Rafale, Mirage 5, Mirage 2000, or forward deployed UAE using Mirage 2000 or F-16E. The strike appears to have used Western supplied systems. Air defense umbrella from Turkish Gabya class frigates off the Libyan coast appears to have had no effect. The Turks are vowing revenge.

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  1. It's not exactly what it seems. There are 2 pieces of news explaining this, at least to an extent:
    This is from mid-April. It says Syrians themselves sent their Migs to help Haftar.
    And then this, which would explain why there were some Fulcrums arriving in Syria:
    Not one of these news reports pop up very often in google results' first page.

    So, it is reasonable to assume the Fulcrums operating in Libya are Syrian ones, and such reasoning is supported by the Russian claim which went something like this: "if they are there, they are Soviet, not Russian". That one sentence explains more than it is supposed to.
    Also, Belarussian, Syrian(older ones, not 29M) and some (but only some) Russian MiG-29S planes share a similar paint scheme. Similar, because no two of them are painted exactly the same. So the real origin could be tracked by comparing plane spotter databases to known bort numbers. I've quickly tried to search for the two planes on the supposed Hmeymim photos on, but I couldn't find it (but I found very similar ones in Belarussian Air Force - they could have been painted by the same guy, but I have also found almost exactly the same scheme on a Syrian Air Force Fulcrum).
    MiGs in Libya are probably Syrian or ex-Belarus ones, but not Russian. Russians know where they came from.
    Also, there are 46 (or 39 depending on source) ex-Ukraine MiG-29 seized by Russia on Crimea. Some of them also used a similar paint scheme (only it was more... blue) and they could have found a way to both Syria and now Libya.
    I am inclined to think MiGs in Libya are Syrian ones, with Syrians sort of operating with Russian-like modus operandi (preferring to hunting them there over fighting them at home), as Turkey allegedly transported many fighters from Syria into Libya as they were not really successful in achieving Turkish goals in Syria.

    1. Interesting. We doubt that the MiGs that arrived in Libya are ex-Syrian. The SyAAF has only than a handful of operating MiG-29s. Russian, ex-Belarus, ex-Ukraine is more plausible. The MiG had Russian Federation markings. Do we know where the MiG flight originated from? Also Russian intervention doesn't need to be a secret, or denied. Russia saved Syria from turning into failed state like Libya has become due to Western/NATO regime-change intervention, which has proven far worse than the previous dictatorship(s). Can you find original MiG flight path?

      - Boresight

    2. "The MiG had Russian Federation markings." - I dispute this. We don't really know this.
      "Do we know where the MiG flight originated from?" - that is why I was trying to identify it, but was unable to do so. However I didn't really try too hard as I am not as interested in finding out. But it should be the core of further investigation.
      "Can you find original MiG flight path?" - even if I did, it doesn't rule out a single version of the story, nor does it reveal where did these MiGs come from. We don't even know the planes photographed in Hmeymim are the same planes that appeared in Lybia. I have seen one clear enough sat photo (supposedly) from Libya and there seem to be a different MiG-29 than one of the photographed ones. But possibly with a similar paint scheme.
      So what do we really know? There are some Fulcrums in Libya.
      We also know Syrians said they've sent MiG into Libya (conveniently not mentioned by any western source) and we also know Russians say they are not Russian, but they don't reveal the whole truth.
      Everything else is based on accusations or wild guesses.

    3. The Fulcrums and Su-24s were escorted by VKS Su-35s to Libya. There is no secret here, and Russia has nothing to be ashamed of. Syria has no spare aircraft, the SyAAF only has a handful of flyable aircraft and perhaps 2 or 3 flyable Mig-29s. SyAAF 29s have not been seen operating in any capacity in Syria for a least 2 years. The aircraft in Libya are Russian, operated by Russians. Its not some big secret. - Boresight

    4. "The Fulcrums and Su-24s were escorted by VKS Su-35s to Libya." - exactly what is the source of this information? Photos taken by intercepted P-8 sold as "Russians escorting something somewhere", in some cases claimed to be different types than on the photos? Because I have seen those, but I have not seen anything possibly proving VKS escorted something to Libya.
      Maybe I am missing something, but apart from some claims, I don't have any reasons to completely believe the story.
      And even if they escorted someone somewhere, it doesn't prove who they've been escorting. I won't dispute it, but I also won't take it as a fact. It is simple as that and we get right to the start.
      The more I think about it, the more I think both Russians and Syrians were telling the truth. Because:
      I have also noticed how the story seems to be suddenly forgotten by western media. Partly, because they realized nobody really bought it, and partly because they invented a new one, which is completely ridiculous.
      I can also dispute this: "Syria has no spare aircraft, the SyAAF only has a handful of flyable aircraft and perhaps 2 or 3 flyable Mig-29s." - I have mentioned (and linked) the story saying this isn't true anymore and has not been for some time. I can dig up another few old links showing it was not true even earlier.

    5. Almost 3 months later, there doesn't seem to be a single mention, or even memory in mass media, about this.
      As expected.

    6. Hi Cactus, the pentagon says two MiG-29s crashed in Libya. No independent confirmation of this. - Boresight

  2. if you credible evidence of high SyAAF operability please share. We can find anything convincing as of yet. We find things like this.


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