As Russia and France bombs Islamic State (IS) positions in Syria, both have been touting the prowess of their respective fighter aircraft- the Sukhoi Su-34 and the Dassault Rafale.
While Russia has launched air strikes on the side of the Syrian government and France on the side of the anti-Assad rebels, but against one common enemy, the Islamic State terrorist group, both seem keen to highlight the precision bombing capabilities of their respective aircraft.
The sales success of the Rafale in Egypt and Qatar is credited in no small part to its successful participation in the Libyan war four years ago. The Rafale was seen as a ‘battle-proven’ aircraft, a fact Dassault executives were quick to stress in various air shows.
Egyptian air force officials have stated that the Rafale was chosen to carry forward Egypt’s fight against Al-Qaida and IS rebels in its Sinai peninsula due to Rafale’s ability to hit ground targets conclusively.
At the Paris Air Show earlier this year, a Rafale simulator had Islamic State targets in the background with potential customers invited to knock out imaginary IS targets based in Syria and Iraq from the cockpit.
Russia has been handicapped to the extent that its front-line aircraft such as the Su-30, Su-27 and Su-34 have not been involved in a well-publicized conflict such as the fight against the IS. Though Syria possesses older generation MiG planes, they have been reported more for causing civilian deaths than any real hard damage to IS positions.
However, all this is about to change.
As Russia begins its air campaign against the IS, the jet leading the firepower was the Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback. The pro-government Sputnik News devoted space on its website to sing the aircraft’s praise.
“Equipped with short-range R-73 dogfighting missiles, the Su-34 also features long-range R-77 air-to-air radar-guided projectiles. In addition, the fighter carries a wide range of air-to-ground missiles. Including the Kh-59ME, Kh-31A, Kh-31P, Kh-29T, Kh-29L, and the S-25LD, it reported”
These weapons can hit both ground and maritime targets. The fighter also features the Leninets B-004 array radar, the report added.
The recent sales success of the Su-35 in Algeria has opened up the prospect of additional sales in the Middle East. “When the dust settles down on the IS operations and wartime activity winds down in Syria and Iraq, countries will be evaluating military equipment and that which makes the maximum kills has the best chance of being sold”, said a Russian source.
Russia might have possibly deployed S-300 anti-aircraft missiles in Syria. According to Debkafile, a news website close to Israeli defense forces in a report earlier this week said, “Troops at the Russian base outside the coastal Syrian city of Latakia were seen preparing to deploy batteries of advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles
Russia has flown in additional 24 fighter aircraft to Syria that include 12 Su-24 and 12 Su-25 fighters over the weekend. Four Su-30 fighters were flown last Friday
Russia is sending Pantsir-S1 advanced anti-aircraft missile system to Syria. "This system is the advanced version used by Russia and it's meant to be operated by Russians in Syria," a Western diplomat was quoted as saying by Israeli mediaA
By deploying Navy cruiser Moskva armed with S-300 ship-to-air missiles opposite the Syrian coastal town of Latakia, Moscow has effectively enforced a no-fly zone over most of Syria. Israeli website Debkafile quoting intelligence sources said that all US and European aircraft currently deployed over Syria besides Israeli warplanes would be exposed to the S-300 anti-aircraft system
Russia has developed a new drone system that enhances network centric warfare capability allowing direct control from command points. “Rostec's United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation (OPK) has developed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with a new system adapted to hybrid warfare”, Sergie Soko, OPKs general director was quoted as saying by Ria Novosti Monday
France is increasing its defense budget for 2016 by $671 million to $32 billion that will include orders of three A400M transporters, nine Rafale fighters, five Tiger helicopters, a Barracuda Submarine and a new frigate. The French governments 2016 budget has also allocated $4
A joint anti-IS information center is being established on the basis of the information center in Baghdad involving Russia, Syria and Iran. The joint information center will be based in Baghdad and will gather, process and analyze information about the situation in the Middle East to fight IS
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