Feb 7, 2016
Russia's New Su-35S Arrives in Syria
The move follows protests from Turkey that a Russian Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback bomber violated its airspace on Friday—a claim Moscow denies. In an earlier incident in November, Ankara shot down a Russia Su-24 Fencer that had crossed the Turkish border for about eighteen seconds. Following that incident, Moscow deployed the power S-400 air and missile defense system to Syria and started to arm its fighters with live air-to-air missiles.
“Starting from last week, super-maneuverable Su-35S fighter jets started performing combat missions at Khmeimim airbase," Russian defense ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov told the TASS news agency on February 1.
The addition of the Su-35 provides Russia with more fighter escorts for its fleet of Su-24 Fencer and Su-25 Frogfoot strike aircraft that are operating from the Khmeimim air base, which is located in Syria’s northwestern Latakia province. Those aircraft have minimal air-to-air self-defense capability and are reliant on the Sukhoi Su-30SM and Su-27SM3 Flankers currently in theatre for protection. Russia has also deployed fourteen Su-34 Fullback bombers to Syria, but those warplanes have a significant air-to-air self-defense capability.