Cruise Missiles & Su-34s: Syrian Campaign Shows Russia’s Army at Its Best

Russian military aviation at Khmeimim airbase in Syria

 

As part of its operation in Syria, Russia has been essentially showcasing new tactics, strategies and some of its best weapons which have never before been tested in combat, Il Giornale reported.

Cutting-edge cruise missiles, Sukhoi Su-34 strike fighters and other armaments used in the war-torn country show that Russia’s army has changed and improved in the last 15 years, the Italian newspaper added.

The ship-launched Kalibr cruise missiles have arguably made quite a splash after successfully hitting Islamic State targets located over 930 miles away in Syria. The rockets, according to Il Giornale, “far exceed the American Tomahawks” and are hailed by some experts as the most advanced in the world.

The capabilities of Russia’s modernized Armed Forces have not exactly gone unnoticed before.Last September, German media outlets claimed that German tanks, said to be one of the best globally, are not a match to the T-90, the third-generation Russian tanks. Keep in mind, that the Russian Armed Forces are no longer ordering those opting for the Armata combat platform, which boasts a more powerful engine, improved armor, main gun and autoloader.

Russia launched an airstrike campaign aimed at assisting the Damascus-led forces in their fight against extremist groups in Syria, including the Islamic State, following a request from the government of Bashar al-Assad.

The Su-34 Strike Fighter

Su-25: Old warrior is future of Russian attack aviation

March 2, 2015 Vadim Matveev
Forty years ago, an attack aircraft Su-25 (GrachRook) took off from an airfield in Moscow suburb Kubinka for its maiden flight. Time has not dimmed its lustre. This aircraft remains a fearsome fighting machine, and can be called the future of Russian attack aviation.
Su-25: Old warrior is future of Russian attack aviation Su-25. Source: TASS

At the beginning of 2015, there were 14 air assault squadrons, composed of 150 Su-25; 60 Su-25SM; 52 Su-25SM2 /SM3; and 15 Su-25UB. Of all these storm-troopers 80 more machines will be upgraded to the SM version by 2020. About 100 more of this type of aircraft are parked at the long-term storage bases.

Shock and Awe

The 17-tonne machine, equipped with two jet engines, can reach the speed of 975 km/h at sea level, operating in a combat radius of 300 km. Ten hardpoints allow Su-25 to use the entire range of shock and defensive weapons. However, the trump card of Grach is its unique vitality on account of efficient armour use and filling of holes with polyurethane foam.

 

Rooks against ISIL

Relatively low cost, coupled with low maintenance needs, have enabled the creation of about 1,300 of Su-25, that are in service in different parts of the world. This attack aircraft was used in recent conflicts: to force Georgia into peace, as well as in the combat zones of Ukraine and Iraq. Moreover, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Defence, only timely supply of 15 Su-25 could change the course of events in the confrontation with terrorist groups of the Islamic state.

On the other hand, when the Russian Air Force was using Su-25 in South Ossetia to prevent the march of the Georgian army equipped with Soviet air defence systems, transferred to Georgia by Ukraine, it lost three attack aircraft, according to official figures. The Chief Designer of Sukhoi, Vladimir Babak, said that after the missile attack on air defence systems during the combat mission three Su-25SM returned to the airport base and will be repaired. In the ongoing conflict between Kiev and the unrecognised republics of New Russia, whose armed forces are equipped with various air defence systems, mainly MANPADS of twentieth century production, about 11 Su-25 were reported to be destroyed and 12 disabled.

This data clearly shows that the aircraft is out of date and needs to be upgraded for the use of modern high-precision weapon systems. At the same time, it can be used effectively against the terrorist groups that don’t possess air defence systems.

Future of attack aviation

Russia’s upgrading of Su-25 to SM3 version can extend the aircraft’s operative life for at least another ten years. This modified version features advanced avionics, including the use of the GLONASS system (GPS), increasing the capabilities of autonomous flight without the use of terrestrial services in any weather conditions. The first Su-25SM3 started arriving to the troops, to the base of Southern Military District, in February 2013. The modernisation of Su-25 will continue, as this attack aircraft’s total combat load is unmatched in the world, Air Force Commander Victor Bondarev said in his interview to RIA news agency. In other words, this dedicated attack aircraft will continue to be in demand by the Russian armed forces in the future.

According to the source from the Air Forces Central Command, in addition to Su-25 modification described above, in 2014 the troops received a specialized version of the attack aircraft, optimised for destroying and breaking down the air defence systems.

Thus, for now the decommissioning of Su-25 is postponed. Having undergone certain upgrades to better fit the modern conditions of warfare, the machine remains competitive not only in the domestic, but also in the foreign weapons market.

Iraqi Pilots on Russian-Made Su-25 Launch Anti-IS Airstrikes Near Tikrit

Islamic State militants' positions near the Iraqi city of Tikrit were targeted by Iraqi military airstrikes, conducted from Russian-built Su-25 fighter jets, the local Al Sumaria TV channel reported on Thursday.

Iraqi pilots on Russian Sukhoi fighter jets bombed Islamic State targets near the city of Tikrit, forcing militants to flee the area, a local military source said.

MOSCOW, December 25 (Sputnik) — Islamic State militants’ positions near the Iraqi city of Tikrit were targeted by Iraqi military airstrikes, conducted from Russian-built Su-25 fighter jets, the local Al Sumaria TV channel reported on Thursday.

“Iraqi pilots on Russian Sukhoi fighter jets have today bombed Daesh [Islamic State] targets near Yathrib [some 80 km south of Tikrit], forcing militants to flee the area,” a local military source was cited as saying by Al Sumaria.

According to the source, these are the first Sukhoi flights to take place near Tikrit, the administrative center of the Saladin governorate to the north of Baghdad.

 

Iraqi forces are currently carrying out an operation to route IS militants in the region, the TV channel reported.Iraq received a batch of Russian-built Su-25 aircraft in June, after the United States delayed delivery of F-16 fighter jets, which the Iraqi Air Force had planned to use in the fight against the Islamic State.

Known for their brutal tactics, Islamic State jihadists have seized vast areas in Iraq and neighboring Syria, declaring an Islamic caliphate in the territories under their control. An international coalition led by the United States is currently carrying out airstrikes against the militants’ targets in both countries.

Ukrainian Combat Jet Returned Without Missiles After MH17 Crash: Reports

Самолет украинской армии СУ-25

Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported, citing an airbase employee that Ukrainian air force Su-25 combat jet took off from an airbase in eastern Dnipropetrovsk carrying air-to-air missiles and returned without them on the day a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in eastern Ukraine.

 

MOSCOW, December 23 (Sputnik) – A Ukrainian air force Su-25 combat jet took off from an airbase in eastern Dnipropetrovsk carrying air-to-air missiles and returned without them on the day a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in eastern Ukraine in July, Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported, citing an airbase employee.The employee, who claims to be an eyewitness, said on July 17 that three Ukrainian combat jets took off, and that one of them, an Su-25, was carrying air-to-air missiles.

“After a while only one jet [of the three] returned, which had had those missiles… It returned without the missiles. The pilot was very frightened,” the man said. The employee stressed that only the returned Su-25 had been equipped with air-to-air missiles, and said he was sure it was not air-to-ground missiles.

 

The airbase worker said he remembered the pilot saying “the wrong plane” and “the plane was in the wrong place at the wrong time” after he returned from the flight.

The newspaper interviewee did not exclude the possibility that an Su-25 pilot could confuse a Boeing passenger airliner with a military jet.

“This could be. There was quite a long distance, he could have failed to see what exactly that plane was,” the man said.

The missiles carried by the Su-25 (NATO reporting name Frogfoot) are capable of targeting an object at a 3-5-kilometer (1-3 mile) distance, and to an altitude of 7,000 meters (23,000 feet), the source stressed.

“With jet’s raised nose, it is not a problem to fix a target and launch a missile. The flying range of this missile is over 10 kilometers,” according to the man.

He further said that the missile is capable of hitting a plane fuselage, whether directly or from a distance of 500 meters.

The density of the objects which hit the MH17 was very high, and these findings did not exclude the downing of the plane by a missile.

“There is such a missile. It explodes and its shrapnel punctures [the plane]. And after that, the missile warhead strikes it,” the man said.

The MH17 passenger Boeing of Malaysian Airlines crashed on July 17 in the Donetsk region, as it was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board died.

The incident is being investigated by an international group headed by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB), its final report is expected to be released in 2015. According to the preliminary information of the DSB, the Boeing was hit by “a large number of high-energy objects” penetrating the aircraft from outside, but the source of the objects was not found.

Kiev has accused independence supporters in Ukraine’s southeast of shooting the plane down, but provided no evidence confirming the claim. The independence supporters say they do not have weapons which could down a plane flying at such a high altitude.

Statements about Su-25s downed by Russian missile nonsense — Russian Defense Ministry

Fantasies of Kiev’s authorities, trying to divert public attention from the Malaysian Boeing 777 crash, were “worthy of being included in a Red Book of military aphorisms”

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Su-25 attack planes

Su-25 attack planes

© EPA/SERGEY POPSUEVICH

MOSCOW, July 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Fantasies of Kiev’s authorities, trying to divert public attention from the Malaysian Boeing 777 crash, were “worthy of being included in a Red Book of military aphorisms”, a Russian Defense Ministry official said on Thursday, commenting on the statement of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council’s spokesman Andrei Lysenko that two Ukrainian Su-25 planes, which fell near the village of Dmitrovka in the Donetsk region, were shot down by a missile fired from Russia’s territory.

 

“According to Lysenko, it turns out that the planes were not only shot down from Russia’s territory, which is nonsense, but even by one missile fired from an antiaircraft rocket system of a powerful operation type earlier unknown to science.”

“With such progress, the next sensation from the military professional and just colonel Lysenko will be development of the theme of hitting of two planes by one antiaircraft missile, one in the morning and the second in the evening,” the Russian Defense Ministry official said.

Russian Military Says Detected Ukrainian Su-25 Fighter Plane Close to MH17 Before Crash

Ukrainian Combat Jet Su-25

18:34 21/07/2014
 MOSOW, July 21 (RIA Novosti) – An Ukrainian combat jet was detected in close approach to the Malaysian passenger plane shortly before it crashed in eastern Ukraine killing all 298 people on board, the Russian military said Monday.

“An altitude gain was detected for a Ukrainian combat jet, supposedly a Su-25, flying at a distance of 3-5 kilometers [1.8-3.1 miles] from the Boeing,” Lt. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, the head of the Main Operations Directorate of the HQ of Russia’s military forces, told a media conference in Moscow.

The presence of the Ukrainian combat jet can be confirmed by video shots made by the Rostov monitoring center, Kartopolov stated.

The Su-25 (NATO reporting name Frogfoot) ground attack aircraft can hit a target at a distance of five kilometers (3.1 miles) as it’s equipped with air-to-air missiles, the head of the Main Operations Directorate said.

“We would like Kiev to explain why a combat jet was flying almost at the same altitude and the same time with a passenger plane along the route dedicated for civilian air traffic,” the general underlined.

In addition, MH17 crashed within the operating zone of the Ukrainian army’s self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air Buk missile systems, Kartopolov added.

Malaysia Airlines’ Flight MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 near Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. All 298 passengers on board the airliner died, including 283 passengers and 15 crew members.

Ukrainian government and militia have been trading blame for the alleged downing of the airliner ever since reports suggested foul play, with independence supporters saying they have no required technology to shoot a target at altitude of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

Commenting on the crash, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was vital to abstain from hasty conclusions on the case before the international investigation was over.

The UN Security Council late on Sunday night completed the text of its resolution regarding the Malaysia Airlines crash. Russia introduced its own draft resolution to the UN Security Council calling for an impartial investigation into the circumstances of the crash.

Iran Denies Sending Russian Fighter Jets to Iraq – Reports

Sukhoi Su-25 jet in Iraq

17:06 09/07/2014
 
 

MOSCOW, July 9 (RIA Novosti) – The Iranian authorities have denied reports saying the country sent three Russian Sukhoi Su-25 jets to Iraq, Mehr news agency said Wednesday citing a representative of Iran’s Foreign Ministry Marzieh Afkham.

The New York Times cited sources in the administrations of the US and Iraq earlier in the day as saying that Iran sent the jets for Iraq to use to fight militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

The paper specified the jets participated in several operations in the eastern Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Fallujah and in the northern town of Baiji, which hosts the country’s largest refinery. They were originally owned by the Iraqi Air Force and were sent to Iran for safekeeping during the military conflict in the Persian Gulf in 1991.

The newspaper also cited Pentagon spokesman John Kirby as saying that the department had evidence that Iran had sent military advisers, aircraft, weapons and ammunition to Iraq.

Afkham said Iran had never sent attack aircraft or other military equipment to Iraq.

ISIS is a Sunni group that has been fighting in Syria against the country’s president, Bashar Assad, and launched an offensive in Iraq this June, taking over large parts of the country, with the goal of seizing Baghdad.

On June 29, the group declared itself a Caliphate and announced its rebranding as the Islamic State (IS). The IS claims religious authority over all Muslims and aspires to bring much of the Muslim-inhabited world under its direct political control.