After the downing of the Russian Su-24 by a Turkish F-16, things in and around Syria have starting to heat up. The Russians are massing artillery, advanced rocket systems (S-300 and S-400), tanks and electronic disruption weapons, which stops any aircraft flying over Syria (and surrounding countries). The Turks answered the call with their equivalent of electronic disruption weapons. The Russians have started to target any Turkey’s resource in Syria by destroying it. Then the Russians increased the fleet along the coast of Syria (and near southern Turkey). The US response until now is increasing the presence of two aircraft carrier groups and the France with one aircraft carrier and it’s likely that the US will include their 5th generation of weapon systems to counter the S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft systems.The original focus of bombing ISIS is shifting towards closing off Syria against the NATO and US-led coalition.
The Russians are stopping the supply routes towards the ‘rebels’ supported by Turkey.
The Russians have effectively stopped the US-led coalition sorties in Syria. They deployed the Russian S-400 anti-air missiles at the Khmeimin base, Russia’s military enclave in Syria near Latakia, combined with Russia electronic jamming and other electronic warfare equipment, has effectively transformed most of Syria into a no-fly zone under Russian control. The Americans and their allies have 4th generation weapon systems in the region, which are no match against the S-400 systems if attacked. Only 5th generation weapon systems can match the S-400.
It’s clear that that the Turks is not the cause of the weapon race, but Russia saw this as the trigger to increase their military presence in the region, which were already prepared for months.
The S-400 is an anti-aircraft weapon system, which uses three different missiles to cover its entire performance envelope. These are the extremely long range 40N6, long range 48N6 and medium range 9M96 missile. The S-400 system started its development in the 1990s and was deployed in the Russian army in 2007 (originally 2001). It’s range varies. For ballistic targets, its range is 230 km, for targets with RCS of 4 square meters the range is 390 km and targeting of strategic bombers its range is 570 km. The most powerful features of the S-400 is its mobility and the ability of networking with other batteries of S-400 and other weapon systems.
- Types of targets:
- Strategic bombers such as the B-1, FB-111 and B-52H
- Electronic warfare airplanes such as the EF-111A and EA-6
- Reconnaissance airplanes such as the TR-1
- Early-warning radar airplanes such as the E-3A and E-2C
- Fighter airplanes such as the F-15, F-16, F-35 and F-22
- Stealth airplanes such as the B-2 and F-117A
- Strategic cruise missiles such as the Tomahawk
- Ballistic missiles (range up to 3,500 km).
Countering the S-400
The only way to counter the S-400 is for the F-22 Raptor, B-2 Spirit and the F-35, if that warplane was genuinely operational.
The way to destroy S-400 batteries is by applying a tactic called “kick down the door”, using the F-22 Raptor unique combination of stealth, high altitude and blistering speed to target the nodes of the integrated air defense system so that the B-2s can proceed to their targets unmolested.
The other option to take down an integrated air defense system is to use a combination of standoff weapons like the JASSM and JASSM-ER cruise missiles (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) together with electronic attacks from a platform like the EA-18G Growler.
The Growler can not only jam the enemy’s radar, but can generate an ellipse to target the missile site.
Moscow deployed the missiles last Wednesday, Nov. 25, the day after Turkish warplanes downed a Russian Su-24. Since then, the US and Turkey have suspended their air strikes over Syria, including bombardments of Islamic State targets. The attacks on ISIS in Iraq continue without interruption. Turkey is now extra-careful to avoid flights anywhere near the Syrian border.
Both the US and Turkey are obviously wary of risking their planes being shot down by the S-400, so long as Russian-Turkish tensions run high over the Su-24 incident.
Nov. 27, a US-led coalition spokesperson denied that the absence of anti-IS coalition air strikes had anything to do with the S-400 deployment in Syria. He said “The fluctuation or absence of strikes in Syria reflects the ebb and flow of battle.”
Since the downing of their warplane, the Russians have put in place additionally new electronic warfare multifunctional systems both airborne and on the ground to disrupt Turkish flights and forces, Lt. Gen. Evgeny Buzhinksy revealed the Nov. 27. Turkey has countered by installing the KORAL electronic jamming system along its southern border with Syria.
The KORAL transportable radar jammer system is the Turkish military’s latest addition to its electronic warfare capabilities. Designed by Turkey’s state-owned Aselsan Corporation, this electronic defense/electronic attack system is designed to jam and deceive conventional and complex types of hostile radar, and analyzes multiple target signals in a wide frequency range, automatically generating appropriate response thanks to its digital radio frequency memory (DRFM) capability. With an effective range in excess of ninety miles (about 150 kilometers), KORAL reportedly could jam and deceive any land, sea and airborne radar systems. This new system could deny situational awareness to the Russians, thicken their fog of war and blind their weapons systems that would otherwise pose a threat to the Turkish military.
An electronic battlefield has spread over northern Syria and southern Turkey, with the Russian and Turks endeavoring to jam each others radar and disrupt their missiles. In this, the Russians have the advantage.
Weapon Race in and around Syria
Russia has transferred two types of heavy weapons systems by sea and by air to the front near Latakia.
First, a body of three battalions of 2S19 Msta-S self-propelled howitzers was deployed at Khmeimin and has already started pounding rebel lines and command centers in the area. This heavy artillery system, capable of firing 152mm bombs at a rapid pace, is a veteran of Russia’s former campaigns against Islamic terrorist groups, especially in the Russian war against Islamic rebels in Chechnya in the 1990s.
The 2S19 Msta-S has a modified chassis of a T-80 tank and a diesel motor of a T-72. It is effective against fortifications as well as military and terrorist targets in wooded mountain areas, exactly the kind of geographical environment in which the rebels around Latakia area are operating.
This self-propelled howitzer is also expected to be effective in battles being fought in the Qalamoun mountains, in order to break the stalemate in which the combined Iranian, Syrian, Iraqi and Hizballah forces have been bogged down for months in their efforts to knock over rebel strongholds.
Another heavy weapons system that Russia brought to Syria in recent days is the TOS-1 220mm multiple rocket launcher. This system, which is mounted on the chassis of a T-72 tank, has been deployed near the embattled Syrian cities of Hama and Homs.
The France aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, is arriving soon to the eastern Mediterranean for ‘operations against Isis in both Syria and Iraq’. The aircraft carriers CVN-71 Theodore Roosevelt and CVN-75, Harry Truman are steaming towards the region as well. Those carriers will be likely arrive near the Syrian coast at New Year 2015.
Navy Times reported the following:
ISIS is not the only challenge that awaits the flotilla, which includes the cruiser Anzio, Carrier Wing Air 7, and destroyers Bulkeley, Gravely and Gonzalez. Russian, Chinese and Iranian marines have established their presence in Syria, and Russian warships from the Black Sea have relocated to the eastern Mediterranean to protect fighter jets conducting airstrikes in support of Syria’s Assad regime. In preparation, the strike group’s Composite Training Unit Exercise focused on adversaries that more closely resembled those of the Cold War
Intense Bombing in Syria
Since Wednesday night, Nov. 25, Russian heavy bombers and warplanes have been hitting every Turkish vehicle moving or stationary inside Syria. The Russians bombed the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, located on the Turkey-Syria frontier, as well trailers and tractors parked in an area belonging to the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, on the Syrian side of the border.
Furthermore, Russia has launched a merciless blanket air campaign, backed by Kalibr cruise missiles fired from the Caspian and Mediterranean Seas, for the object of wiping the Islamic State’s Syrian center of Raqqa off the map.
Western and Middle East sources tracking the campaign since Friday, Nov. 20, report that at least 75 air sorties have been conducted and are systematically razing the town of 200,000 inhabitants 160km east of Aleppo, district by district, irrespective of civilian town dwellers.
The Russians are really not interested in the ISIS at the moment, they are more interested in fighting the ‘rebel’ forces, which are fighting Assad. Lately they are also more interested in Turkish military assets in Syria and attacking it.
Russia answer against potential inclusion of the potential American F-22 Raptor, B-2 Spirit
Russia announced on Dec. 1 that by the end of this month it will deploy the latest version of its giant command and control aircraft designated for use during nuclear war or national disasters. The flying command center will be able to coordinate the worldwide operations of its ground, naval, air and missile forces, including nuclear weapons, as well as the country’s satellites.
Russian military sources said that the Ilyushin-80 jet would be used when the command infrastructure is disrupted due to a nuclear war, or when ground communication systems are absent. The sources said the plane will be permanently staffed with senior generals, operational commanders and technicians.