Saturday, 4 March 2017

MiG 21 and MiG 23 SyAAF Syrian Air Force Hama airbase 679 Squadron - Murad Gazdiev report

Reporter Murad Gazdiev ; " .. almost half a decade of civil war has left the Syrian Air Force depleted, battered and bruised. Nonetheless they are still flying jets, some of which are older than my parents.."

While the MiG 21 may be a Vietnam-war era combat aircraft and in many parts of the world is a museum piece, it is still doing a job in Syria for Assad and must be relatively easy to fly and maintain although presumably features no modern avionics far less 'smart' weapons. The bombs seen slung under the wings of this MiG 21 are of Syrian manufacture.."it's a strong, tough plane and safe as well.." according to the pilot interviewed in the video.

Syrian pilots spend most of their flying time at low to medium altitude where battlefield threats are more potent. Based on the aircraft type, Syrian pilots use different attack techniques for unguided munitions. From the video footage here MiG 21s resort to low to medium altitude bombing runs at high speed. Su 22s come in low, firing thermal decoy flares against IR homing missiles and zooming after the attack.

" ..In five years of civil war, Al Assad’s air force has suffered a confirmed loss of at least 55 aircraft and 57 helicopters shot down or crashed and another 28 helicopters and 51 aircraft written-off on the ground — notably, most of the latter were in unserviceable condition. Included in these numbers are about a dozen of L-39s, seven MiG-23s of all variants, at least four Su-22s and four Su-24MK2s.
Also included are no fewer than 10 MiG-21bis from Hama-based No. 679 Squadron. Losses within this unit forced the SyAAF to send MiG-21UM two-seat conversion trainers into combat and also to re-deploy a squadron of MiG-23ML interceptors to Hama..."

 Tom Cooper in "What's left of the Syrian Air Force.." here

..and while preparing the above a No. 679 squadron MiG 21 bis operating from Hama AB and piloted by Col. Mohammad Sawfan was shot down by rebels following a suspected malfunction. The aircraft subsequently crashed in Turkish territory close to the border; the pilot ejected but was arrested and photos of him appeared on twitter showing him in hospital in Antakya..

Syrian Air Force feat of arms, commentary

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