The Syrian Air Force has received 10 Sukhoi Su-24M2 ‘Fencer-D’ attack aircraft from Russia, the Arabian Aerospace news website reported on April 13.
“A contract to upgrade all 21 bomber versions to the latest Russian air forces Su-24M2 standard was signed in 2009 and work at the 514th ARZ (aircraft repair plant) at Rzhev began in 2010. The contract also covered the training of Syrian pilots and maintenance personnel on the new variant and its systems.
The upgrade will bring the aircraft up to the same standard as Russian ‘Fencers’ that have been modernised under the ‘Gefest’ and ‘Sukhoi’ programmes, which began in 1999 and 2000, and completed in 2009.
The upgrade will significantly enhance the capabilities of the Syrian Su-24s, and promises to improve availability and maintainability, as well as combat effectiveness.
Highlights of the upgrade include a new weapons control system, allowing the carriage of a greater range of weapons, including modern precision-guided missiles, a new SVP-24 navigation and weapons aiming system incorporating both GPS and global navigation satellite systems (GLONASS), and a new ILS-31 head-up display (HUD).
Though the upgrade allows a significant improvement in bombing precision and accuracy, in practice, the Syrian Su-24M2s continue to rely most heavily on unguided freefall FAB, OFAB and RBK series bombs.
It has been reported that most of the upgrades were completed in 2013 and that “more than half of the 21 upgraded Su-24s made it back to Syria”, though it has also been reported that up to 10 aircraft were not re-delivered, thanks to international embargos against Syria.
Satellite photos showed between five and eight aircraft in Syrian camouflage parked on the flightline at Rzhev, swathed in tarpaulins, late last year.
It remains unknown as to whether the ‘new’ deliveries are actually additional aircraft, or whether they are simply the balance of the aircraft upgraded under the 2009 contract,” the artice reads.
Rumors about possible supplies of attack aircraft to the Syrian Air Force have been circulating since the start of the week.
— Partisangirl 🇸🇾 (@Partisangirl) April 13, 2017
SF has not been able to confirm these rumors independently.
UPDATE (14:50 CET): Moscow denied reports about the delivered of Su-24 attack aircraft to Syria, Russian media outlets reported citing Mariya Vorobieva, a representative of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.