Tag Archives: Russia

Russian Tu-22M Backfires based in Iran

Russia this week officially confirmed it has based Tu-22M Backfire bombers at Hamedan airbase in Iran for strike missions over Syria. Pictures show several Backfires being prepared on the ground in surroundings resembling those of the Iranian desert.

Backfires have seen use over Syria a number of times already, supporting forces loyal to president Assad in their fight against rebel forces. A number of videos showed up of the Backfires apparently ‘carpet’ bombing rebel positions, which raises fear of even more civilian casualties in war torn Syria.

Previously, the bombers flew all the way from Russia for missions over the area. Basing the aircraft in Iran allows for much shorter missions.

The basing of the bombers also means Moscow is getting a stronger foothold in the area, which wil be reinforced when the sole Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov supposedly arrives in the Mediterranean this Fall. The ship should bring Ka-52 attack helicopters in theater,m according to sources in Moscow.

The movements are also concerning in light of the flickering conflict in South East Ukraine, where Russian and Ukranian weapons and personnel are facing each other. Russia’s latest movement could be seen as a way to shield off the entire Black Sea from any Western militaries taking an interest in the Ukrainian situation.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

A pair of Russian Kamom Ka-52 Alligators (Image © Russian Helicopters)
A pair of Russian Kamom Ka-52 Alligators (Image © Russian Helicopters)

M-55: the spy who loves Sweden

It sounds like your typical James Bond Cold War era movie: under the cover of international research a Russian aircraft is secretly being used to spy on military bases and weapons tests. Welcome to Sweden in the year 2016, as the following story evolves.

Star of the show is the Myasishchev M-55, or the “U-2 spyplane” of the Soviet Union. Currently the only high altitude geophysical research aircraft the twin-boom jet its latest mission may have been more worth its NATO reporting name Mystic-B, then of its current additional name Geophysica.

Kiruna Airport

From 1996 the Russian aircraft has been employed for measurement campaigns funded by the European Union. For another such stratospheric mission for the earth’s climate research – ran by the Stratoclim project, the M-55 touched down on Kiruna Airport in the Swedish Far North on 15 April, just when the diplomatic okay for its being in Swedish airspace ended. If Swedish sources are correct, the Russian embassy had a hand into the late arrival, proposed flight pattern during the research and pressed for a late departure.

Leaving a cloud of snow behind (Image © Louise Levin / Försvarsmakten)
According to some sources, the Russian really wanted to see new-styled Gripen ops like this one up close. Image taken during an exercise on Vidsel Air Station in March 2016 (Image © Louise Levin / Försvarsmakten)

Swedish armed forces tests

The Swedish quality newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) writes that Russian planners deliberately wanted the plane to be up just when the Swedish armed forces ran two important exercises: another new fighter jet dispersal test like the one at Airheadsfly.com wrote about, as well as a weapons launch from the “Edwards” of Sweden: Vidsel Air Station and the nearby ranges.

High altitude departure

There is controversy on why the plane was grounded much longer than planned. The Russian embassy apparently noted technical issues, while the Swedish Ministry of Defence suspects spy plans. If there was a real problem with either the plane or the crew’s intentions is uncertain, but it left Sweden on 21 April on a high altitude of about 58,000 feet – apparently with everything technically working as planned.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com senior contributor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The Myasishchev M-55 Geophysica (Image © Rob Schleiffert)

Russia: 30 more Su-30SM Flankers on the way

The Russian Ministry of Defense has concluded a new contract with the Irkut aircraft manufacturing corporation for 30 more Sukhoi Su-30SM Flanker C fighter aircraft. The contract was announced on Sunday 3 April.

Deliveries of this latest batch of advanced fighter jets are to be concluded by the end of 2018. Total orders for the Russian Air Force now stand at 90. Meanwhile, the Russian Navy is also eyeing the type.

Over the last few months, Russian Air Force Su-30SM jets also participated in Russian air raids over Syria. The majority of those aircraft was pulled back from Syria in March.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): A Sukhoi Su-30SM. (Image © Russian Ministry of Defense)


Russian Helicopters on the move with Mi-17

Some interesting news about the Russian Helicopters Mi-17 helicopters in recent days. The first is the delivery of a second batch of Mi-171 helicopters to the Angolan Air Force. Besides that, as announced on Tuesday 29 March, it seems that Russian Helicopters is close to reach agreement for the long-term service contract with India for the Mi-17 types in service.

“We have conducted negotiations with our Indian partners and we plan to sign a contract that will lay the foundation for collaboration between Russian Helicopters and India in an entirely new way. The company is shifting from offering separate services to providing comprehensive after-sales support.  The possibility of such collaboration is now being discussed with the Air Force, Navy and border patrol troops of India,” said Igor Chechikov, Russian Helicopter’s deputy CEO at Defexpo India 2016. 

“For us, it will be the first long-term service contract with India.  Set prices and delivery dates for supplying equipment needed to repair our helicopters are among the advantages of this type of contract.  It will boost Russian-made helicopters’ after-sales system to a new level.”

Mi-17 helicopters in India

According to the preliminary agreement, Russian Helicopters will provide repairs to Mi-17 type helicopters and will supply spare parts for them throughout the entire life cycle of the rotorcraft.  Repairs of helicopters operated in India will be performed by enterprises belonging to Russian Helicopters holding company.

The contract life cycle is expected to be 3 – 5  years.  Its further extension, as well as an expansion of helicopter models covered by the after-sales support system, are also being considered.

(Image © Russian Helicopters)
(Image © Russian Helicopters)

Second batch of Mi-171s to Angola

Recently, a batch of 4 Mi-171Sh helicopters has been delivered to Angola. The helicopters produced by JSC Ulan-Ude aviation plant (operating as part of Russian Helicopters) were supplied in addition to another four delivered to the customer in 2015. The rotorcraft supply contract was concluded by JSC Rosoboronexport.

The helicopters delivered to Angola are fitted with modern flight and navigation equipment optimizing the flight profile and increasing flight safety.

The Peruvian Army also received a second batch of 4 Mi-171Sh-P helicopters in December 2014.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Dennis Spronk
Featured image: An Indian Air Force Mil Mi-17V-5 (Image © Russian Helicopters)

Russian Air Force will keep on bombing in Syria

UPDATED | The Russian Air Force will keep using Hmeymim Air Base, near Latakia, in Syria for air strike and bombing operations against anti-Syrian-government forces. The withdrawal of Russian forces president Vladimir Putin ordered on Monday is only a partial one.

In fact, Israeli military sources said at the end of March 2016 that Russia attack runs are ongoing in Syria – with attack helicopter more and more involved.

While making his statement that the mission of the Russian forces has been accomplished two weeks earlier, and therefore the several thousands of ground forces can be withdrawn, Mr. Putin also said that the air base and Tartous Naval Base in Latakia “will function as they did previously. They must be reliably protected from land, sea and air.” Some air units will leave Hmeymim, some will stay. Moreover, anytime the Russian leadership deems it necessary, aircraft will fly long-distance bombing missions from Russia – supported by tankers.

Battle-prove Russian weapons

Over the past months the Russian military has been able to “finally” put its newest weapons into action, to battle-prove their worthiness and to learn about possible improvements in the same way that f. ex. US and other Western nations have been doing in Iraq and Syria while battling the so-called Islamic State forces. The big difference between the strategies of the US and Russia is that the Americans aim only at ISIS/ISIL/Daesh and the Russian indiscriminately bomb all forces opposing the Syrian leadership led by president al-Assad.

The Su-35 Flanker E. (Image © UAC Russia)
The Su-35 Flanker E. (Image © UAC Russia)

Russian aircraft deployed in Syria

Among the tens of aircraft deployed at Hmeymim are the state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-35s, Sukhoi Su-30s, Mil Mi-24 Hind attack and Mi-17 Hip assault/transport helicopters, and at least a dozen Sukhoi Su-25 “Frogfoot” ground attack aircraft.

Also deployed were a dozen Sukhoi Su-24 strike aircraft, of which one was downed by a Turkish Air Force F-16 in a border dispute. Russia reacted by deploying its impressive S-400 air-defence missile system which can shoot down multiple targets at 90 miles range up to several times the speed of sound.

Leaving Hmeymim AB – according to the Russian Ministry of Defence – are the Sukhoi Su-34s, as is seen on the video published by Moscow. They returned to a military air base in the Voronezh region of Russian Western Military District.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Sukhoi Su-34s leaving Hmeymim Air Base, near Latakia (Image © Russian Ministry of Defence)