Featured image – An unmarked Mig-29 in Syria, the kind that either a Russian or Syrian pilot could fly on missions
RUSSIAN ADVISORS TRAIN SYRIAN MIG-29 PILOTS ON AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
…from South Front
[ Editor’s Note: The Russians are continuing to upgrade the combat effectiveness of the Syrian airforce to be able to do its job. The timing for these new air to air missiles coincides with Turkey stirring border tensions with threat of a full scale army invasion to take complete control of Northern Syria.
The Turkish airforce would be active to fly aircover over the ground forces and to do as much damage to the Syrian airforce as possible. If this were to happen, expect to see the Russian advisor test new equipment under live combat decisions.
It has learned a wealth of knowledge by doing this from the beginning, which helps justify the cost of the Syrian expense by helping to expose real combat shortcomings that can then be fixed with upgrades.
One always wants to know if enemy fighters can defeat your combat missiles by jamming or other means like spoofing. Syria is a relatively small battlefield when it comes to air combat, where split decisions often have to be made to see who gets to return home.
Putin had mentioned the cost in one of his early interviews in the fall of 2015, a month after a VT team had left. When asked about what kind of a dent the Syrian effort was taking out of the Russian defense budget, Putin said “nothing really, as it is all coming out of the training budget.” That may still be accurate… Jim W. Dean ]
First published … November 17, 2021
Military advisors from the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) have been training Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) pilots on air-to-air combat, according to recent reports.
On November 15, the Russian Ministry of Defense’s Zvezda TV channel revealed that Syrian Mig-29 pilots have received training on air-to-air missiles, namely the R-73 infrared-guided short-range missile.
“An important stage in the training of any pilot is the launch of guided air-to-air missiles,” Zvezda quoted Maxim Aleksanin, a Russian squadron commander, as saying.
“For the first time, Syrian pilots used R-73 guided missiles from MiG-29 aircraft. In the future, we plan to improve the tactics of conducting close and long-range air combat in order to prevent provocations in the skies of Syria, as well as near its borders.”
The channel released footage from a recent exercise that saw two Syrian Mig-29s firing R-73 missiles. The exercise was reportedly held at T-4 Air Base in the central Syrian province of Homs.
The SyAAF operates some 20 Mig-29s. Prior to the war, the Russian Aircraft Corporation “MiG” upgraded the Syrian fighter jets to the specially developed SM standard, which allowed them to fire beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAMs), namely the R-77, as well as precision-guided air-to-surface munitions. Furthermore, the fighter jets were equipped with active electronic warfare systems.
Last year, Russia handed over an unknown number of Mig-29 fighter jets to the SyAAF. Back then, Syrian military sources said that the newly delivered Mig-29s are more advanced than the ones which were in service with the SyAAF, meaning they could be Mig-29SMTs or Mig-29Ms.
Russia has been working to boost the capabilities of the SyAAF for a few years now in order to help Syria defend its airspace and territory more effectively.