Russian bombers and ISIS are a match made in heaven

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October 4, 2015

Rossiysskaya Gazeta

Translated by Kristina Rus

The General staff planned the Syrian operation to the last detail

Yuri Gavrilov

All military experts analyzing the actions of our pilots in Syria, agree: this air operation was planned to the last detail, based on repeatedly confirmed intelligence data, including from the satellites of the Defense Ministry, and is well thought out from the point of view of choosing specific types of Russian combat aircraft for the strikes on ISIS basis.

Before the official announcement of air operations in Syria almost no one knew about the presence of our aviation group there. Yes, the Western media reported about some equipment in the area of the Syrian port of Latakia. But no one could document that we are talking about the aircraft of the Aerospace forces of the Russian Federation, and not machines, supplied to Assad on contracts in the framework of military-technical cooperation. The transfer of our air group happened really quickly and in secret from the heads of ISIS.

we transported not only people and planes to Syria, but also communications equipment and airfield support, without which it is impossible to arrange flights. And also ammunition, fuel and lubricants, all essentials for the normal functioning of the air group. And even the drones which since the launch of the operation in real time monitor the movement of militants and transmit images of the strikes. And these images appear not only on the screens of the computers of our officers in Syria, but also are broadcast on the monitors of the National Defense control center of Russia.

Once the air operation has begun, some of the media “broke” the news that the Ministry of Defense sent Russian conscripted soldiers to the civil war in Syria. To put it mildly, these reports had two inaccuracies. First of all, our military is not taking part in a civil war. The main objective of the air operation is to destroy the militants of the international organization, almost globally recognized as terrorist. It brings death not only to the residents of Middle Eastern countries, but also tries to take control of the [Central] Asian region, i.e. threatens Russia and our [Central Asian] allies in the CSTO.

As for the recruits, it is naive to think that a million-strong army in Russia did not have the military personnel to perform the critical and dangerous operation in Syria. Moreover, all pilots, aviation engineers and technicians, as well as almost all airfield operators and logistic servicemen in our Armed forces are professionals. Therefore, the General staff asserts that the likelihood of sending conscripted soldiers to the Middle East was not even discussed.

But the generals did not immediately decide on the selection of equipment for the Syrian affair. According to the classical scheme, a major air operation as a rule involves different types of spy planes, fighters, jets, bombers. If necessary, long-range aircraft is lifted into the sky and, in particular, Tu-22M3.

Experts say that in Syria such a variety of combat aircraft is not necessary. ISIS does not have their own aircraft, so our fighters Su-27 or MiG-29 are not needed. Drones can be used for the scouting. For carrying out bombing strikes on the terrorists Su-25 and Su-24M front-line bombers are perfect. The sighting-navigation system PNS-24M “Tiger” on the Su-24M allows the pilot the ability to drop to a height of 50 meters and follow the terrain in the automatic mode. It is very difficult to shoot down this plane, especially since it can drop bombs and shoot missiles many miles ahead of the target.

Even more universal is the latest bomber Su-34. It should be called a multi-functional air-complex. This machine, depending on assigned task, works as a fighter and as a scout and, of course, as a strike complex. Also Su-34 can climb to 11 thousand feet, and its pilots do not even feel the overload, allowing them for the greater part of the route to not use an oxygen mask.

The new “Su” is equipped with a powerful system of electronic equipment with multiplex channel of information exchange. Multi-function radar and electronic countermeasures equipment improves the survivability of the aircraft. Su-34 can refuel in the air, install additional fuel tanks on the external load, so the range of its flight is essentially unlimited.

And one more important detail. Su-34 is able to use ammunition with satellite correction, which is especially important for destroying small targets, such as a jeep on which the terrorists could set a light machine gun or a light antiaircraft gun the type of ZU-23-2. Generally it is hard to hide from the strike of this machine.

But even this does not exhaust the efficiency of the new aircraft. Its “smart” missiles and bombs guarantee the destruction of the hidden underground bunkers. Dropped near the city of Raqqa from the Su-34 anti-cement bomb BETAB-500 accurately covered the protected ISIS command post, as well as the underground bunker with an explosives and ammunition depot.

About another high-precision munition – a guided missile X-29L used in Syria by the pilots of Su-34 and Su-24, talked the representative of the Airspace forces, Igor Klimov. “Air-to-ground rocket of X-29L class has a laser homing head. At its launch the pilot illuminates the target with a laser sight, while the aircraft may continue the maneuver,” – he explained. And added that such a missile is capable of hitting targets with an accuracy of plus or minus two meters. It has a half-ton warhead with elevated striking factors of high-explosive and shrapnel action.

Video from the Russian Ministry of Defense: 

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