Russian ‘Fencer’ down – updated 15.30 GMT 25 Nov 2015

Su-24M shot down over Turkish/Syrian border

On the morning on November 24, a Russian Air Force Su-24 ‘Fencer’ was shot down near the Turkish/Syrian border.

It was not immediately clear if the aircraft had been downed by air-to-air or ground-to-air fire, however as events unfolded it became apparent that two THK F-16s engaged the Su-24 after Turkish officials say it entered Turkish airspace.

However, the airspace violation has been denied by Russian sources, who say the aircraft remained in Syrian airspace and that it came down inside Syria.

Both pilots appear to have ejected but been killed.

UPDATE – US intelligence officials say the Su-24 received multiple warnings from the THK F-16s before one of them fired a single AIM-9 Sidewinder missile.

The ‘Fencer’ was one of the detached aircraft operating inside Syria. On September 20, 12 Su-24Ms arrived at Latakia, Syria, coming from the 6980th Guards Air Base at Chelyabinsk-Shagol.

A full report on Russian Air Force involvement in Syria appears in the December 2015 issue of Combat Aircraft.

Su-24 upgrades

Russian ‘Fencer’ upgrades have been modest to say the least, with the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association (NAPO) upgrading capabilities for flying in poor weather/night conditions new head up display and GLONASS global positioning.

Around 32 ‘Fencers’ upgraded to Su-24M2 standard and can be identified by the large chaff/flare dispensers located on the rear fuselage either side of the tailfin. Regiment at Verino-Pereyaslavka airfield in the Khabarovsk Far East Military District was the first to receive upgraded Su-24M2s, from late 2007.

The 43rd Independent Naval Assault Aviation Squadron at Gvardeskoye in Crimea received overhauled Su-24Ms from the Pushkin aircraft facility, near St Petersburg, in 2013 and the Russian AF has continued to push ‘Fencers’ through depot maintenance despite the arrival of the Su-34 ‘Fullback’ replacement.

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