The Saker: Making Sense of the Russian 5th Generation Fighters in Syria

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Written by The Saker; Originally appeared at The Unz Review

When I got an email from a friend telling me that a pair of Su-57s was seen landing at the Russian Aerospace Forces base in Kheimim, Syria, I immediately dismissed it as a fake. The list of reasons why this could not be true would run for pages. I knew that, so I simply replied: “that’s a fake” and forgot about it. Over the next couple of days, however, this story was picked up by various websites and bloggers, but it still made no sense. Still, what kept me feeling really puzzled was that the Russian official sources did not dismiss the story, but chose to remain silent. Then another two Su-57s were reported. And then, suddenly, the Russian media was flooded with stories about how the Su-57s were sent to Syria as an act of “revenge” for the killing of Russian PMCs by the US; that the Su-57s had basically flattened eastern Ghouta while killing about “2000 Americans“. This was truly some crazy nonsense so I decided to find out what really happened and, so far, here is what I found out.

First, amazingly enough, the reports of the Su-57 in Syria are true. Some say 2 aircraft, some say 4 (out of a current total of 13). It doesn’t really matter, what matters is that the deployment of a few Su-57s in Syria is a fact and that this represents a dramatic departure from normal Russian (and Soviet) practice.

Introducing the Sukhoi 57 5th generation multi-role fighter

The Su-57 (aka “PAK-FA” aka “T-50”) is the first real 5th generation multi-role aircraft produced by Russia. All the other Russian multi-role and air superiority aircraft previously deployed in Syria (such as the Su-30SM and the Su-35S) are 4++ aircraft, not true 5th generation. One might be forgiven for thinking that 4++ is awfully close to 5, but it really is not. 4++ generation aircraft are really 4th generation aircraft upgraded with a number of systems and capabilities typically associated with a 5th generation, but they all lack several key components of a true 5th generation aircraft such as:

  • a low radar cross-section (“stealth”),
  • the capability to fly at supersonic speeds without using afterburners,
  • the ability to carry weapons inside a special weapons bay (as opposed to outside, under its wings or body)
  • an advanced “situational awareness” (network-centric) capability (sensor and external data fusion).

To make a long story short, the difference between 4th and 5th generation aircraft is really huge and requires not one, but several very complex “technological jumps” especially in the integrations of numerous complex systems.

The only country which currently has a deployed real 5th generation fighter is the USA with its F-22. In theory, the USA also has another 5th generation fighter, the F-35, but the latter is such a terrible design and has such immense problems that for our purposes we can pretty much dismiss it. As for now, the F-22 is the only “real deal”: thoroughly tested and fully deployed in substantial numbers. The Russian Su-57 is still years away from being able to make such a claim as it has not been thoroughly tested or deployed in substantial numbers. That is not to say that the Russians are not catching up really fast, they are, but as of right now, the Su-57 has only completed the first phase of testing. The normal Soviet/Russian procedure should have been at this time to send a few aircraft to the Russian Aerospace Forces (RAF) base in Lipetsk to familiarize the military crews with the aircraft and continue the testing while getting the feedback, not from test pilots but from actual air combat instructors. This second phase of testing could easily last 6 months or more and reveal a very large number of “minor” problems many of which could actually have very severe consequences in an actual combat deployment. In other words, the Su-57 is still very “raw” and probably needs a lot of tuning before it can be deployed in combat. How “raw”? Just one example: as of today, only one of the currently existing Su-57 flies with the new supercruise-capable engines, all the others use a 4th generation type engine. This is no big deal, but it goes to show that a lot of work still needs to be done on this aircraft before it becomes fully operational.

The notion that the Russians sent the Su-57 to Syria to somehow compete with the F-22s or otherwise participate in actual combat is ludicrous. While, on paper, the Su-57 is even more advanced and capable than the F-22, in reality, the Su-57 presents no credible threat to the US forces in Syria (if the Russians really wanted to freak out the Americans, they could have, for example, decided to keep a pair of MiG-31BMs on 24/7 combat air patrol over Syria). The Russian reports about these aircraft flattening Ghouta or killing thousands of Americans are nothing more than cheap and inflammatory propaganda from ignorant Russian nationalists who don’t seem to realize that flattening urban centers is not even the theoretical mission of the Su-57. In fact, as soon as these crazy reports surfaced, Russians analysts immediately dismissed them as nonsense.

Utter nonsense is hardly the monopoly of Russian nationalists, however. The folks at the National Interest reposted an article (initially posted on the blog The War is Boring) which basically dismissed the Su-57 as a failed and dead project and its deployment in Syria as a “farce” (I should tip my hat off to the commentators at the National Interest who immediately saw through the total ridiculous nature of this article and wondered if Lockheed had paid for it). On the other hand, in the western insanity spectrum, we have the UK’s Daily Express which wrote about Vladimir Putin sending his “fearsome new state-of-the-art Su-57” into the Syrian war zone. Just like with the Kuznetsov, the Ziomedia can’t decide if the Russian hardware is an antiquated, useless pile of scrap metal or a terrifying threat which ought to keep the entire world up at night. Maybe both at the same time? With paranoid narcissists, you can’t tell. Finally, the notion that Putin (personally?) sent these 4 aircraft to Syria to help him in his re-election campaign (peddled by the Russophobes at Ha’aretz) is also devoid of all truth and makes me wonder if those who write that kind of crap are even aware of Putin’s popularity numbers.

So what is really going on?

Well, frankly, that is hard to say, and Russian officials are being tight-lipped about it. Still, various well informed Russian analysts have offered some educated guesses as to what is taking place. The short version is this: the Su-57s were only sent to Syria to test their avionics in a rich combat-like electromagnetic environment. The more detailed version would be something like this:

The Su-57 features an extremely complex and fully integrated avionics suite which will include three X band active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar (one main, two side-looking), another two L band active electronically scanned array radars in the wing’s leading edge extensions, plus an integrated electro-optical system location system (working in infra-red, visible and ultra-violet frequencies). All these sensors are fused (5 radars, 2 bands, plus passive optics) and they are then combined with the data received by the Su-57’s advanced electronic warfare suite and a high-speed encrypted datalink, connecting the aircraft to other airborne, space, as well as ground-based sensors. This is not unlike what the USA is trying to achieve with the F-35, but on an even more complex level (even in theory, the F-35 is a comparatively simpler, and much less capable, aircraft). One could see how it would be interesting to test all this gear in a radiation-rich environment like the Syrian skies where the Russians have advanced systems (S-400, A-50U, etc.) and where the USA and Israel also provide a lot of very interesting signals (including US and Israeli AWACS, F-22s and F-35s, etc.). To re-create such a radiation-rich environment in Russia would be very hard and maybe even impossible. The question whether this is worth the risk?

The risks of this deployment in Syria are very real and very serious. As far as I know, there are still no bombproof shelters built (yet) and Russia recently lost a number of aircraft (some not totally, some totally) when the “good terrorists” used mortars against the Khmeimim base. So now we have FOUR Su-57s (out of how many total, maybe 12 or 13?!), each worth 50-100 million dollars under an open sky in a war zone?! What about operational security? What about base security?

There is also a political risk. It is well known that the USA has been putting an immense political pressure on India to withdraw from the joint development between Russia and India of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) or Perspective Multi-role Fighter (PMF) program. To make things worse, India currently has too many parallel aircraft programs and there are, reportedly, disagreements between the Russians and the Indians on design features. With the apparently never-ending disaster of the F-35, the very last thing the USA needs is a successful Russian 5th generation competitor showing up anywhere on the planet (especially one which has the clear potential to far outclass both the successful F-22 and the disastrous F-35). One can easily imagine what the AngloZionist propaganda machine will do should even a minor problem happen to the Su-57 while in Syria (just read the National Interest article quoted above to see what the mindset is in the West)!

The Su-57 also has formidable competitors inside Russia: the 4++ generation aircraft mentioned above, especially the Su-35S. Here we have a similar dynamic as with the F-22: while on paper the Su-57 is clearly superior to the Su-35S, in the real world the Su-35S is a well tested and deployed system which, unlike the F-22, also happens to be much cheaper than the Su-57 (the F-22 being at least twice as expensive than the Su-57). This issue is especially relevant for the internal, Russian market. So the real question for the RAF is simple: does Russia really need the Su-57 and, if yes, in what numbers?

This is a very complex question, both technically and politically and to even attempt to answer it, a lot of very debatable assumptions have to be made about what kind of threats the RAF will face in the future and what kind of missions it will be given. The biggest problem for the Russians is that they already have an array of extremely successful combat aircraft, especially the Su-35S and the formidable Su-34. Should Russia deploy more of these or should she place huge resources into a new very complex and advanced aircraft? Most Russian analysts would probably agree that Russia needs to be able to deploy some minimal number of real 5th generation combat aircraft, but they would probably disagree on what exactly that minimal number ought to be. The current 4++ generation aircraft are very successful and more than a match for their western counterparts, with the possible exception of the F-22. But how likely is it that Russians and US Americans will really start a shooting war?

Furthermore, the real outcome from a theoretical Su-35S vs F-22 (which so many bloggers love to speculate about) would most likely depend much more on tactics and engagement scenarios than on the actual capabilities of these aircraft. Besides, should the Su-35s and F-22s even be used in anger against each other, a lot would also depend on what else is actually happening around them and where exactly this engagement would take place. Furthermore, to even look at this issue theoretically, we would need to compare not only the actual aircraft but also their weapons. I submit that the outcome of any Su-35S vs F-22 engagement would be impossible to predict (unless you are a flag-waving patriot, in which case you will, of course, be absolutely certain that “your” side will win). If I am correct, then this means that there is no compelling case to be made that Russia needs to deploy Su-57s in large numbers and that the Su-30SM+Su-35S air superiority combo is more than enough to deter the Americans.

[Sidebar: this is a recurrent problem for Russian weapons and weapon systems: being so good that there is little incentive to produce something new. The best example of that is the famous AK-47 Kalashnikov which was modernized a few times, such as the AKM-74, but which has yet to be replaced with a fundamentally new and truly different assault rifle. There are plenty of good candidates out there, but each time one has to wonder if the difference in price is worth the effort. The original Su-27 (introduced in 1985) was such an immense success that it served as a basis for a long series of immensely successful variants including the ones we now see in Syria, the Su-30SM, the Su-35S and even the amazing Su-34 (which still has no equivalent anywhere in the world). Sometimes a weapon, or weapon system, can be even “too successful” and create a problem for future modernization efforts.]

Whatever may be the case, the future of the Su-57 is far from being secured and this might also, in part, explain the decision to send a few of them to Syria: not only to test its avionics suite, but also to score a PR success by raising the visibility and, especially, the symbolical role of the aircraft. Russian officials admitted that the deployment to Syria was scheduled to coincide with the celebration of the “Defender of the Fatherland” day. This kind of move breaks with normal Soviet/Russian procedures and I have to admit that I am most uncomfortable with this development and while I would not go as far as to call it a “farce” (like the article in the National Interest did), it does look like a PR stunt to me. And I wonder: if the Russians are taking such a risk, what is it that drives such a sense of urgency? I don’t believe that anybody in Russia seriously thinks that the US will be deterred, or even be impressed by this, frankly, hasty deployment. So I suspect that this development is linked to the uncertainty of the future of the Su-57 procurement program. Hopefully, the risks will pay-off and the Su-57 will get all the avionics testing it requires and all the funding and export contracts it needs.

Addendum:

Just as I was writing these words, the Russians have announced (see here and here) that the Israeli satellite images were fakes, that the the Su-57 stayed only two days in Syria and that they have been flown back to Russia. Two days? Frankly, I don’t buy it. What this looks like to me is that what looks like a PR stunt has now backfired, including in the Russian social media, and that Russia decided to bring these aircraft back home. Now *that* sounds like a good idea to me.

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  • James

    Like the rest of the Syrian war has been, testing weapons and showing off to potential customers worldwide, the SU-57 I think is no different. Noting that India is unsure about taking part in this new project, I think this will impress them seeing a fully functional aircraft that is reliable…..in comparison to say….an F-35. Not to mention all the other potential customers watching on, that similarly have just recently purchased the S-400 or are strongly considering it.

    • John Whitehot

      “the SU-57 I think is no different”

      The short length and basic lack of any video or photo documentation about its employment says otherwise.

      This was a technical kind of mission, more or less as stated in the article, to acquire information on the aircraft systems in this particular situation.

      India decided not to participate in the development of this aircraft, and it will probably not be able to buy it, as they insist on technology transfer. They will have to develop a “5th gen” aircraft on their own, which is far beyond their capabilities (which is why they want the tech transfer, since that tech will serve them to build a domestic aircraft and then sell it internationally).

      • velociraptor

        India decided not to participate in the development of this aircraft,

        and wha?! because ruskies betrayed the, as usually. the development was common and ruskie thiefs will not give technical clues, advances.

        without indian money there was no pak. and without indiam money there will be no pak.

        remember, ruskies had to decrease military budget by 30%. so, they have not enough money for kerosine.

        • John Whitehot

          you’re blathering as usual

          read my previous comment again.

          india wanted tech transfer, the reason is to make an aircraft of their own.

          “without indiam money there will be no pak”

          You are getting worse than Don Qiscotte and the millwinds.
          The SU-57 already has done advanced testing in a combat scenario.

          “remember, ruskies had to decrease military budget by 30%. so, they have not enough money for kerosine.”

          Lol, they aren’t ww2 germany, they don’t even need money for kerosene they can produce unlimited quantities of it.

          Besides, the reduction was 3%, not 30%.

        • Feudalism Victory

          Wut? Lol

        • Bob

          Kerosene? Seriously? Anti-Russianites love to parrot US politicians like McCain and claim the Russian economy is just a giant petrol station – but err, where do you think kerosene actually comes from? Lol

          • velociraptor

            us army pays for fuek 100 billion dollars yearly. that means, their army is continuously trained, exercised. russia has no chance.

          • Bob

            You write utterly random comments. Massive US military fuel expenditure can mean many things – over priced supply contractors, shunting and rotating vehicles and aircraft around from one distant foriegn deployment to another, etc.

        • Paul

          veloCRAPtor

  • Mikronos

    Sending the Su57 for a good sniff of a modern airwar wartime environment seemed like the most sensible reason for this. The move would best have been done planned and not drummed up as some kind of threat response (another squadron of current types or a cruise missile bombardment would have done that better). The mini ‘armada’ of escort/support aircraft, arriving at the same time, speaks to a ‘a plan’ rather than a reflex.

    The Elint spectrum should have lit-up looking for them. Hope they ‘learned’ something.

    Like the Kuznetzov the message for the Moscow mockers was ‘hey, look, it may not be pretty, yet, but it could be more effective than you think. It came, and went back’.

    • John Whitehot

      Mocking really isn’t taken into account when it comes to these things.

      It’s something that it’s done purely for propaganda reasons, because when you have terrorized entire peoples into submission, sarcasm is one tool in the box of keeping them at chain.

      In the real world the technical and operational reasons for deployments like the su-57 one are not divulged.

    • velociraptor

      kuznetyov was less effective. am mig-29 … catastrophy … pilots …. more mess

  • Ken Wiltshire

    Just a little side point about Stealth. Like with the incident between the F22 and the SU25 in Syria a little while ago. The Raptor was annoying the SU25 with flare bursts and aggressive maneuvers. Than the Flanker showed up. Once they could see each other,

    • John Whitehot

      older generations MiG-29 had “smokey” engines, although it was at low altitudes, hence nothing particularly flashy, especially if you looked at it from above with the earth in background. At high altitudes, there would be condensation streaks like every other air breathing aircraft.

      • jerrydrakejr

        Yeah, smokey engines. I’m looking almost every day this birds in flight. This smoke is part of their image. After all, if you can see that smoke you are about 5 km from Mig-29 and this means only one – melee!!!

        • velociraptor

          optimal distance for manpads

          • John Whitehot

            manpads are for helicopters and slow flying subsonic airplanes.

            fighters like these are able to evade them by sheer kinematics. Of course there is the need to realize that a sam launch has occurred, but with MAWS and wingmen watching, the probability of manpads are close to 0%. the only effect would be to expose themselves to retaliatory strikes, as they would be priority targets in any condition.

        • John Whitehot

          nice. if you’d be looking them from above, you’d hardly notice the smoke.

  • Ken Wiltshire

    I believe you are spot on Saker. Since the avionics suite in this aircraft is such a HUGH part of the package, there would be no more complex and saturated airspace on the planet, right now, than Syrian airspace. I would wager that as soon as the coalition learned that the planes were there, they sent more AWACS , Centuries and others to thicken the soup even more. I just hope that the results were really successful. If so they can say “Thank You gentlemen, that helped out a lot” to the coalition forces.

  • John Whitehot

    “Furthermore, the real outcome from a theoretical Su-35S vs F-22 (which so many bloggers love to speculate about) would most likely depend much more on tactics and engagement scenarios than on the actual capabilities of these aircraft”

    It’s the whole point of this subject.

    Western analysis seems to have lost its bearings attributing massive importance to technology. This happened mostly since desert storm, in which people were hypnotized by watching cnn videos on “smart bombs” usage for example, ignoring that they are weapons that were deployed in Vietnam and Afghanistan (by soviets) already. Also ignoring that the “coalition” was facing an adversary with armaments from the earlier 2 or 3 generations, and mostly in their export versions (for ex. iraqi t-72 were armed with AP shells designed to be unable to penetrate soviet domestic T-72 models, something that gave the M1 Abrams its fake invincibility myth).

    The lithany “Quality is better than quantity” has been pushed into people’s mind to saturation; with not a single analyst, specialized or generic, even raising the simple doubt that “Quantity” is actually a sub-category of “Quality” – something that should be blatantly logical even for the most naive observer.

    Sadly, the military instrument has been transformed from a mean to defend countries and national interests to one apt only at sucking unlimited amounts of tax money.

    Today’s US and western national debts, which the next 2 or 3 generations will have to pay accepting enslavement from “international banksters” (translate: zionists) is owed in large part to the unresponsible, foolish policies dating back to JFK (whose killing showed with no doubt who’s actually in charge in the US).

    Today we are witnessing a serious attempt in throwing a wrench in such diabolical device – it’s a matter of sake of the entire humanity’s freedom and serenity that this murderous beast is finally pushed into hell, never to raise its head again.

    • RichardD
    • RichardD
    • RichardD
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    • Alpha&Omega

      Couldn’t write it better.

      • John Whitehot

        thank you

        • Langaniso Mhlobo

          I My samphaty is those ugly guys your forefathers their really look like instigators and war mongers.No wonder you are just like them.Father to son.

          • John Whitehot

            my forefathers were hard working people, who had to fight in wars decided by someone else.

            The only thing that they were about was to break their backs working to bring home some change to feed their sons and daughters.

            Fuck you Mhlobo, keep your fucking trap shut when you don’t know wtf you’re talking about.

          • Langaniso Mhlobo

            Spoil imperialist kids just brought up in such away to be racist.All wars were plan by your forefathers to exploit,kill and steal display our dead grandparents in glass cages.Learn to tell the truth Mr.Super Whitehot stop lying.I feel so piti for you.

  • John

    Whatever the reasoning, I will take the Russian MoD at their word. It had a mission, ran it and returned. History will or will not tell us what really went on at some point. Great article Saker! I wish well to all.

  • Manuel Flores Escobar

    Russia has deployed SU 57 to avoid a B2/F-22 surgeon airstrike vs SAA in East Ghouta- Damascus ..Now these stealth aircraft should fly with all their system turn on( without the cover of AWACS) as they know that Russian stealth jets are flying…which lead the interception by Russian air defense( S-400+NEBO-M) and electronic warfare….thats all.!

    • velociraptor

      sue not, because are removed

      • Manuel Flores Escobar

        wait problems in East Ghouta with “chemical attacks”..and you can see SU 57 coming back…anyway I dont think USA will go to attack since SU 57 can be deployed in Syria..

        • velociraptor

          no way. pak is not combat ready. it is at least 1 more year in test phase.

          btw., 2 pieces against 200+ f-22 … HAHAHA!

          • Manuel Flores Escobar

            ha ha ha USA are going to deploy all its raptor in Turkey?….more year in test phase?..you are Sukhoi advisor?….

          • velociraptor

            if russia will all, usaf will do the same. symmetric answer :P

          • Manuel Flores Escobar

            USA deploy 3 air carriers, B2, F-22…to attack North Korea…and what happen?…nothing!..all smoke!

          • velociraptor

            this was military exercise. and kim understood the message.

            if yanjs will destroy NK within 1 day. for them will be uninteresting the number of dead north and south koreans.

            the russian base in syria can be destroyed within 2 hours. putin knows this.

          • Manuel Flores Escobar

            US bases in North Syria can be destroyed within one hour…Al Tanf in 20 minutes..(it is the time that Kalibr “arrive” there)!….Jordan US base in 30 minutes…Turkey US base in less that 15 minutes( Iskander M)…US base in latvia…5 minutes…US base in Romania( antimissile shield)…7 minutes….US base in Qatar…10 minutes ( fatheed 110 Iranian missile)….

          • velociraptor

            boy, you really thimk, yanks have any defense sytems?

          • Manuel Flores Escobar

            they dont have mobile system like Pantsir…only Patriot but in case of saturation cruise missile attack are ineffective the same case with Iskander!…

          • velociraptor

            they dont need. they have in jordan

          • Manuel Flores Escobar

            Patriot cannot do anything vs 300mm Mrls smerch rockets!

          • Manuel Flores Escobar

            “Kim understood the message”…yeah surely …he tested nuclear bomb..and 2 ICBM and 2 short range missile….and was invited to olimpic games in South Korea….

          • velociraptor

            no, he sent hos sister to secret negotiations in south korea.

          • Manuel Flores Escobar

            no before that President of South Korea visited China in order to reach an agreement to avoid a war which would lead the destruction of South korea or to repeat Vietnam scenario!

          • velociraptor

            south korean president gave ultimatum to chanes apes

          • Manuel Flores Escobar

            none president give an ultimatum to a country with nukes…

  • Xanatos

    As far as I understand, you can’t have actively scanning radars and be stealthy. I thought all scanners had to be passive.

    • John Whitehot

      of course.

      but this plane has an IRST with an estimated range of 150Kms, possibly more (The F-22 DOES NOT even have a IRST).

      IRSTs are totally passive sensors, and they are becoming useful at ranges similar to those of radars.

      A F-22 isn’t stealthy at all in IR/UV/Visible light bands.

      Knowing this, F-22s will have to turn on their radars if they want a chance to shoot first when operating against aircrafts with these sensors (this includes SU-35 and 30).

      So there goes “stealth”. With “stealth” negated, endgame is resolved by better kinematics, longer range missiles and number of missiles on board. F-22 loses 2 out of 3 fights, f-35 loses 9 out of 10.

    • Hrky75

      You can have passive sensors on a stealth fighter. But also com links are very important – if a stealth plane can be fed data from airborne and terrestrial radars as well as other other fighters using active radars – a stealth fighter can “borrow” their eyes without compromising it’s stealth…

  • Starlight

    More dribble from Team Saker. The ONLY fact you need to take from this shill is, as always, he was WRONG in his personal ‘analysis’ when he denied the initial reports of the deployment of the SU-57 in Syria, and gave FAKE NEWS ‘facts’ of why it couldn’t be so.

    Indeed the entire basis of the zionist shills ‘blog’ is his constant whining of how he was right when he was wrong. Every single ‘prediction’ of this zionist horror has proven incorrect. Going to ‘The Saker’ to be informed is like taking the time from a long smashed clock.

    Here’s a clue for the clueless. Every conman uses verbal torrents of a certain form to make the hard of thinking conclude that the person is ‘clever’. Many fakes have worked as doctors or surgeons in hospitals for years undetected, because they simply learnt to speak a particular way.

    So how do you tell the liars from the truth-tellers? Hold their INITIAL predictions to the harshest analysis.

    Like all rabble-rousing loudmouths, Saker makes hard predictions all the time. And 100% of these predictions FAILED. His method is to then seemlessly accept the emerging truth, and then state that he was right all along- knowing his hard-of-thinking followers will never go back and read what he wrote in the first place. When his lies and mistakes are too close to the emerging TRUTH, he will use the method of ‘owning’ his ‘mistake’- as in the article above. Psy-ops 101, I’m afraid.

    What Saker and other (disguised) zionist outlets want you to ignore is how PUTIN allowed Syria to be destroyed for years, just as Israel and KSA wanted, without any Russian intervention. Only when all the damage was done did Putin send in the Russian military.

    Then Putin used the ruined Syria as a live-fire training ground for the Russian military. He’s even boasted about this FACT publicly.

    Putin didn’t save Syria- he destroyed it- for Russia was Syria’s formal ally, and that ally sat back and did nothing as the West executed a long planned operation to set back Syria THREE DECADES+.

    Let’s say you go on holiday and give your friend, the neighbour, your house keys. While away, that ‘friend’ hands over the keys to a burglar and watches as he ransacks your home and steals everything. Then, a day before you return, your ‘friend’ calls the police and helps eject squatters who have settled in your ruined home. Who is to blame? The burglars and/or squatters? Or PUTIN the ‘friendly’ neighbour?

    • XRGRSF

      First you attack Saker for his positions which may or may not be accurate, and for his style which even I sometimes consider overly verbose, and academic. Then you attack Putin for not coming to Syria’s aid before the situation in Syria had fully developed. So who’s the troll here ?

    • I don’t know you or Saker, but it seems that you have invested a lot of time and energy in writing an attack piece. So you have some agenda to push. I agree that Saker’s style is pedantic but the same could be said for any number of commentators. So my question is, why the vendetta against Saker?

    • Paul

      Putin allowed Syria to be destroyed? Risk the future of Russia’s sovereignty and possible existence by going in all guns blazing against the West? You don’t understand the complexities involved.

  • Jerry Bode

    Nobody believes Putin, he’s a total fabrication expert. And MAD still exists today. If he wants to destroy Russia, he knows it waiting for him.

    • velociraptor

      Gorbachev …. lost cold war, warsaw pact, economical partners, allied countries.
      Yeltsin … lost ussr, vital soil for russian economy
      Putin …. lost …until today the eurasian project, in the next years will come to a head of his jackassery

      • Langaniso Mhlobo

        You are write Thumbs up.Not that whitehot or hotdog foolish fake Putin KGB agent.

      • jerrydrakejr

        I am neither from the US nor from Russia. I am not from Western countries or from the former bloc. Looking back through history, I would be glad that Putin will be my president. On the other hand, I will be willing to take up arms and not allow any Western President to be my superiors.

  • gustavo

    Too much words to way nothing.

  • Hide Behind

    Both Russian and US advanced avionics is trying to one up the other, all of their designs are to be able to decimate rest of world’s aircraft, Russia would wipe out NATO AIR WITHIN DAYS, Ukraine hours.
    Human indoctrination, flying actual combat makes both pilot and plane one killing machine.
    Next. All aircraft based upon Russian soil are mainly defensive, as they fall shooter than a monkeys dick on overseas bases compared to US NATO, ; yet they may need to Wuickly react in far from homeland, in order tooto directly punish their enemies who think they are safe, on their plush doorsteps.
    In their face, so to speak.
    KILLING IS ALWAYS EASIER AFTER THAT FIRST KILL, AND IT MAKES NO DIFF IF IT IS A CIVILIAN, MILITARY GRUNT, ALL THE SAME.

    • velociraptor

      Russia would wipe out NATO AIR WITHIN DAYS

      do not dream

      • Hide Behind

        Not talking US air, NATO AIR.

        • velociraptor

          This is US+can+ european countries.

          btw., the european part of NATO has overwhelming amount of planes compared to russia. mainly if i count 400 modern russian planes with ours.

  • Feudalism Victory

    Yup drumming up sales sounds right. A good chunk of the syria mission is for weapons sales(not fighting a holy nuclear war to the death for the syrian arab republic)

  • AM Hants

    The F35, has so many problems, including the problems that the F22 had, with regards the oxygen supply for the pilot.

    The Saker, might not have much faith in Russian, 5th generation planes, but, when you compare Russian planes with American planes, then you see one works and one is loaded with problems. Will let you decide.

    At the end of the day, the Russians have no doubt sent the planes over, whilst they are going through operational tests, to get some frontline experience. Find out the strengths and weaknesses, in a combat scenario. Especially, if she is loaded with Russian technology, that seriously needs some frontline experience and intelligence. No doubt there will be many US drones sniffing around her hangers.

    • velociraptor

      the F22 had, with regards the oxygen supply for the pilot.

      are you telling, that the yankee pilots are zombies?

  • NeoLeo

    To be honest this was the worst Saker’s article so far, basically a waste of time.