Russia has deployed two Su-57 stealth fighters to Syria in the experimental jet's first ever combat deployment.
From The War Zone:
Unverified pictures and video footage has begun to circulate on social media purporting to show a pair of Russian Su-57 fighters, also known as the PAK FA and T-50, touching down at the country's Khmeimim air base in Syria's Latakia province. The Kremlin has already used the Syrian conflict as an excuse to demonstrate new and advanced weaponry and even if this video turns out to not show operations in Syria, it is likely only a matter of time before the aircraft touch down in the country.
In one of the video clips, which first emerged online on Feb. 21, 2018, an Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jet, which the Russians have already deployed to Syria, is also seen flying nearby. Additional unconfirmed reports said that the Su-57s were part a larger group of Russian aircraft arriving in the country, including four additional Su-35s, four Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft, and an A-50U Mainstay airborne early warning aircraft, all types the Russians have previously deployed to the country. Still, this would be a major deployment for Russia, coming after Putin claimed total victory over terrorists in the country during a December 2017 visit where he also announced his country would begin drawing down its military presence in Syria.
It's not clear what might have prompted the deployment of the stealthy fighters, which remain in the development stage. As of January 2018, Russia had received less than a dozen flyable pre-production prototypes and the design has suffered repeated setbacks. The War Zone's own Tyler Rogoway has also rightly called into question just how low-observable the aircraft really are based on number of specific features.
The aircraft's appearance in Syria would follow the loss of an Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft to a rebel shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile in Idlib province earlier in February 2018, as well as an unprecedented mass drone attack on the Khmeimim outpost and the Russian naval facility in Syria's port city of Tartus the month before.
It also comes after a steadily increasing number of aggressive interactions between Russia's tactical aircraft and U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighters over eastern Syria. If the Kremlin has sent the Su-57s to Syria it could further complicate those situations since American pilots have no actual experience, beyond intelligence assessments and possibly simulations, with how the Russian aircraft appears on their sensors and at what ranges, what the jet's actual combat capabilities are, and what threat they might pose. At the same time, of course, it could give the United States an excellent opportunity to gather new information about the fighters, especially depending on what sensors they activate or if they fly in a full low-observable configuration during missions.
Although it could inject a bit more uncertainty into the air war over Syria, a pair of adolescent Su-57s, almost certainly with limited operational capabilities, will be hard pressed to change the balance of power in the conflict broadly. Russian combat aircraft in Syria have been primarily conducting indiscriminate air strikes against population centers using unguided weaponry, as well as conducting close air support missions for Syrian troops and other forces aligned with dictator Bashar Al Assad.
But if it turns out that Russia has indeed sent some of these aircraft to Syria, the main underlying reasoning could easily not be tactical at all. Since Russia first entered the Syrian conflict in 2015, it has exploited the country as a proving ground and marketing showcase for new or otherwise untested advanced weapons, many of which don't necessarily fit the mission requirements.
Read more: (Link: www.thedrive.com)
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China has placed its new J-20 stealth fighter jet into combat service.
Friday, China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force announced its new-generation stealth fighter, the J-20, was being placed into combat service.
State media hailed the announcement, which was one of President Xi Jinping’s demands for overhauling and modernizing China’s military to match the U.S. As the communist country continues to push its One Belt One Road Initiative, it has ramped up the development of anti-satellite missiles and advanced nuclear-powered submarines to beef up its force projection abilities.
In a short statement, the PLA Air Force said the J-20 has been commissioned into combat units, where it will carry out a “sacred mission” to defend Chinese sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity. The warplane has been in development for at least 10 years.
Read more: (Link: www.trunews.com)
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An Israeli F-16 fighter jet was shot down by
Open war has now essentially broken out between Israel and Syria. Israel confirms through its IDF spokesperson that it has carried out "a large scale attack" consisting of at least a dozen strikes on Syrian and Iranian military targets inside Syria.
What we previously described as Assad's strategic "waiting game" and reluctance to respond to repeat Israeli violations of Syrian airspace while launching unprovoked attacks appears to be over as Syrian air defense has shot down an Israeli F-16 fighter jet near the Golan border region in what is a major escalation in the conflict.
Though details remain murky and are still developing, Israel has confirmed that its F-16 jet has crashed in Israeli territory after it was struck carrying out operations targeting locations in Syria. The IDF spokesman quickly stated in a tweet confirming the shoot down that "Iran is responsible for this severe violation of Israeli sovereignty."
Read more: (Link: www.zerohedge.com)
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Syrian rebels have shot down a Russian Su-25 "Frogfoot" jet in northwestern Syria.
The pilot, who was able to eject, was shot and killed when he opened fire on the rebels with his pistol.
From The Guardian:
Syrian rebels have shot down a Russian warplane and killed its pilot in the north-west of the country during fierce fighting with the forces of President Bashar al-Assad and his foreign backers.
The Russian defence ministry confirmed the Su-25 was shot down and said the pilot was killed fighting “terrorists”. Preliminary information suggested a portable ground-to-air missile was used to hit the plane in an area under the control of al-Qaida’s Syrian link, the ministry’s Zvezda TV reported.
The pilot was shot when he opened fire with a pistol on rebels trying to capture him alive, a rebel told Associated Press.
The Syrian opposition shared images purporting to be the man’s bloodied body lying beside a rock, along with video of the wreckage in flames beside village houses where it had landed. Some parts including the wings were apparently thrown further on impact and were shown still intact.
Opposition sources said the plane was attacking civilian convoys fleeing along a nearby highway, where Russian air attacks were blamed for seven deaths and scores of injuries, Reuters reported.
Russia, a longstanding ally of Assad, in 2015 launched a military campaign to bolster his embattled government. Its warplanes and helicopters helped turn the tide of the war and drive rebels from strongholds across the country including Aleppo.
Both Assad and his allies have been attacked for the brutal nature of that air campaign, which has targeted civilians and infrastructure including hospitals and schools.
Read more: (Link: www.theguardian.com)
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