Satellite photos from few days ago (see HERE previous post) shows landed 4 Multi-role fighters Su-30SM Flankers, 12 Sukhoi Su-24 Fencers and 12 Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot, at Syrian Air Base, Latakia, Bassel al Assad International Airport.
First questions were, after 1st photo was on the social networks, what will Russians do with four Su-30SM Flankers there?
Well, now is more or less clear that Flankers will do there just (probably) support actions as a fighters for other 12 Su-25 (close air support and attack jet) and 12 Su-24 (strike attack jet).
Lets see about what kind of jets we are talking about.
Multi-role fighter aircraft by Sukhoi Bureau, modern i.e. advanced derivative of Su-30MK family. First flight was made in September 2012. and it was designed in accordance with requirements of the Russian Air Force. Su-30SM is designed for counter air strikes, counter land and counter sea actions and is possible to conduct electronic counter-countermeasures and early warning tasks. Su-30SM also can play a role as a command and control platform withing a fleet of combat aircraft performing joint missions. Maybe this last one mentioned would be main role in Syria in war against Islamic State (IS).
Su-30SM is twin-seater with ejection seats, advanced avionics, multi-function displays, head up display and have features identification friend-or-foe equipment, global positioning system and inertial navigation system, air-refueling system. This amazing jet have open architecture design which allows integration of modern avionics, including new radar system, radio and recognition system,…
The aircraft can engage aerial threats, ground and naval surface targets by deploying on-board air-to-air and air-to-surface guided/unguided weapons. It can be fitted with anti-surface weaponry such as rockets and rocket pods for conducting land attack operations.
Supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft developed in the Soviet Union. This variable-sweep wing, twin-engined side-by-side twin-seater carried the USSR’s first integrated digital navigation/attack system. Introduced in 1974., this attacker is still in service in few countries like Ukraine, Iran, Syria,…Very similar to American General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark .
Su-24M and M2 versions which Russia uses, is modernized variants with upgraded cockpit with multi-function displays (MFDs), head up displays (HUD), digital moving-map generator, Shchel helmet-mounted sights, and provision for the latest guided weapons, including R-73 (AA-11 ‘Archer’) air-to-air missiles. Weapons can carry: 500 and 1,500kg laser-guided bombs and TV-guided bombs, laser/TV-guided missiles Kh-25 and Kh-29L/T, anti-radar missiles Kh-58 and Kh-14 (AS-12 ‘Kegler’) and Kh-59 (AS-13 ‘Kingbolt’)/Kh-59M TV-target seeker guided missiles. M2 have upgraded weapons system so can carry more as Kh-31A/P, Kh-59MK, KAB-500S
Single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft developed in the Soviet Union by the Sukhoi Design Bureau. It was designed to provide close air support for the Soviet Ground Forces. The first prototype made its maiden flight on 22 February 1975. After testing, the aircraft went into series production in 1978. Local name for this bird is Grach (Rook). Early variants included the Su-25UB two-seat trainer, the Su-25BM for target-towing, and the Su-25K for export customers. Some aircraft were being upgraded to Su-25SM standard in 2012. All versions of the Su-25 have a metal cantilever wing, of moderate sweep, high aspect ratio and is equipped with high-lift devices. The wing consists of two cantilever sections attached to a central torsion box, forming a single unit with the fuselage. The air brakes are housed in fairings at the tip of each wing. Each wing has five hard points for weapons carriage, with the attachment points mounted onload-bearing ribs and spars. The cockpit has a bathtub-shaped armored enclosure of welded titanium sheets, with transit ports in the walls. Guide rails for the ejection seat are mounted on the rear wall of the cockpit. Cockpit has standard flight instruments. Once inside, the pilot sits low in the cockpit, protected by the bathtub assembly, which makes for a cramped cockpit. Visibility from the cockpit is limited, being a trade-off for improved pilot protection. Rearwards visibility is poor, though a periscope is fitted on top of the canopy to compensate.
The newer Su-25TM and Su-25SM versions have an upgraded avionics and weapons suite than first versions, resulting in improved survivability and combat capability.
Armament: Gun GSh-30-2 30mm cannon with 250 rounds, 11 hard points up to 4.000kgs, rockets 57mm/80mm/240mm/330mm, missiles Kh-23, AS-9, Kh-25L, Kh-29, R-60 (AA-8); bombs: FAB-250, FAB-500, KAB-500 laser guided bomb
Sources: www.airforce-technology.com www.wikipedia.org stratfor.com