The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) announced on May 30 that the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) had received a new batch of Mig-29 fighter jets from Russia.
A military source told the state-run agency that the new fighter jets were handed over to the SyAAF during an official ceremony in the Russian Hmeimim Air Base in southern Lattakia. The source said the fighter jets were “advanced” and “upgraded.”
“These warplanes, which are more effective than their previous generation, flew from the Hmeimim Air Base to their deployment areas in Syrian air bases,” the source said.
According to the source, the new Mig-29s will enter service with the SyAAF on June 1. The fighter jets will patrol Syria’s airspace.
The military source didn’t provide the exact number of Mig-29s which were delivered to the SyAAF or share any details on their specifications.
Recently, a number of Mig-29 fighter jets were spotted in the Hmeimim Air Base. While the U.S. claimed that they were later deployed in Libya, they could be the ones handed over to the SyAAF.
At least 20 Mig-29s were in service with the SyAAF prior to the new delivery. The Syrian jets were upgraded to special standard, known as SM. This allowed them to fire beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAMs) and precision-guided air-to-surface munitions. Furthermore, the Mig-29SMs were equipped with active jamming systems.
The military source claimed that the newly delivered Mig-29s are more advanced than the ones which were in service with the SyAAF, which mean they could be Mig-29SMTs or Mig-29Ms.
The new Mig-29s will boost the capabilities of the SyAAF, which failed to impose a no-fly zone over the northwestern region of Greater Idlib during the last confrontation with Turkey.
The delivery of these fighter jets is an example of the ever growing partnership between Syria and Russia. A day earlier, Moscow announced that it will initiate talks with Damascus to secure new bases for its troops on the Syrian coast.