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.
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the Russian forces has been accomplished two weeks earlier, and therefore the several thousands of ground forces can be withdrawn, Mr.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.
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.
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.
The famous Monino aviation museum in Moscow may very well close its doors in the not-too-distant future and see parts of its unique collection of aircraft scrapped. A small number of airplanes could move to Kubinka airbase as part of the new ‘Patriot’ museum.
East of Moscow, Monino offers a fascinating collection of MiGs, Sukhois, Yakovlevs, Ilyuhsins and Tupolevs, many of them prototypes, early production models or otherwise rare aircraft. The museum is unique in every aspect, its number of exhibits not in the least. Many dozens of aircraft are on display.
Moscow ordered the building of the new ‘Patriot’ museum near Kubinka airbase to the west of Moscow. The base is home to Russian Air Force flight testing. Construction for the new museum started in 2014, and the location is now ready for items to be displayed. These should include a number of aircraft from Monino, with the remainder at Monino possibly to be scrapped.
Many aircraft at Monino, especially the larger ones, are deemed unfit for any kind of transportation as they would likely fall apart in the process. The Monino museum has been short on funds for maintenance for years.
The Russian Air Force base in Nizhny Novgorod recently saw the delivery of a wing of new modernized MiG-31BM Foxhound fighter-interceptor aircraft, the Minsitry of Defense in Moscow reported on Thursday 26 November.
Pilots and maintenance personnel of the air base, located 250 miles (400 km) east of Moscow, passed transition training for the new aircraft and will shortly start flight practice. In total, Russia aims to modify 110 MiG-31s to the BM standard, giving them at least a decade more of usable service life. The Foxhound first flew on 16 September 1975.
Compared to the old Foxhound the new MiG-31BM has a modern weapons management system, a target detection range of almost 200 miles (320 km) and the ability to engage enemy aircraft at a distance of 170 miles (about 280 km). The aircraft is capable of simultaneously hitting six air targets and track up to ten.
The bombing of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS / ISIL / Daesh) forces in Syria and Iraq has mainly become a limited Western war. The Arab nations of the coalition no longer take part in it. Meanwhile, Germany is on course to join the coalition.
Apart from Syria and Iraq themselves that is. According to fresh reports it’s mainly the United States, Russia and France who currently operate in the entire region. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has been reluctant to fly into Syria, especially since Moscow sent its expeditionary wing to Hmeymim Airbase near Latakia on the Syrian coast. The RAAF focuses on Iraq only, from the beginning and now. The Royal Air Force and Royal Netherlands Air Force do take part in operations in Syria.
Many of those nations are now actively involved in the military operations in the Yemen, where some rivalising forces are supported by Iran – seen as a opponent by all Arab nations mentioned above. The shifting of involvement is – however – also considered a political one now that the conflict especially in Syria has become more complicated with the Russian armed forces involved.
Climax in Syria
An illustration of the troublesome and fluent situation in the skies over Syria from last Tuesday, 24 November: a Turkish F-16 downed a Russian Air Force Su-24 Fencer, with Moscow saying that the strike aircraft posed no threat to Turkey, and Ankara admitting the aircraft flew inside Turkish aerospace for only 17 seconds. It was the climax so far in a conflict that mainly sees the US, Russia and France in action. Their forces only sometimes cooperate in bombing raids against the ISIS, with the Russian adding an extra volatile touch by bombing all forces opposing the government army of Syria.