Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Air Force Drills Launched in Southern Russia - Message to Turkey? (Video)

The drills may also be training for future deployments to the Syrian theater

MORE: Military

Russia’s Southern Military District have launched planned tactical flight drills involving more than 40 aircraft stationed in south Russia.

“All in all, the exercise involves about 40 various aircraft, including the Sukhoi Su-24MR (NATO reporting name: Fencer-E) reconnaissance planes, Su-34 (Fullback) frontline bombers and Su-27 (Flanker) fighters,” the report says.

Russian Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback

Russian Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback

Russian Sukhoi Su-24MR

Russian Sukhoi Su-24MR

Pilots will conduct aerial reconnaissance, air cover missions (escorting) and attacks on enemy ground targets. The Su-24MR pilots will send data to the Su-34 bombers so they can perform surgical strikes against full-scale targets at the Kopanskoi aviation range in the Krasnodar region.

“The pilots will get the target data in the air from the Su-24MR reconnaissance planes’ crews that conducted airborne reconnaissance to identify camouflaged command posts and areas of the simulated enemy troops’ concentration immediately prior to tactical employment,” the Southern Military District sources said.

Meanwhile, Su-27 fighter aircraft pilots will “conduct an air targets’ acquisition, search and track operation and drill pursuit-course air-to-air missile launches on the targets.”

The Southern Military District includes the territory of former North Caucasus Military District, the Black Sea Fleet and Caspian Flotilla.

Drills aimed at Turkey and training for Syrian operations?

Having the Southern Military District conducting these types of drills seems logical. Due to the proximity of Turkey and Georgia—currently eyeing a membership with NATO—Russia has to maintain a high level of readiness in the region. An influx of terrorists in the North Caucasus seems to be worrying Russian authorities as well.

The joint effort of the Su-24MR and Su-34 enables Russia to hit with pinpoint accuracy ground targets; a procedure currently used in Syria against terrorist organizations. Adding to that, the Su-27 drills most likely aims to flying escort missions along the Su-34s. Is it possible the drills have been planned in accordance with current needs in Syria. Since the Southern Military District is the closest to Syrian airspace, its aircraft have to be ready to quickly intervene if called upon.

Russian Sukhoi Su-27SKM

Russian Sukhoi Su-27SKM

Although Russia will keep bombing terrorist organizations in Syria, drills such as these prepares Russian pilots to deal with another country’s air force and ground units. Still very unlikely, these drills might be aimed at Turkey and its rather aggressive behavior toward Russia. That said, since Turkey is a member of NATO, Russian drills are indirectly aimed at countering possible NATO operations; a very unlikely but still possible situation.

Of course these are all assumptions, but the situation in Syria has been quickly deteriorating Russia-NATO relations. Add Crimea to the equation and we are looking at a second Cold War (Cold War 2.0). That said, both sides have fueled the tensions, resulting in more military drills such as the Southern Military District’s tactical flight exercises.

Here’s a video of Su-34 performances:



Source: The Sentinel
Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!
MORE: Military

Our commenting rules: You can say pretty much anything except the F word. If you are abusive, obscene, or a paid troll, we will ban you. Full statement from the Editor, Charles Bausman.