On 24 January 2022, the Russian Federation - Aerospace Forces (RF VKS) and the Al Quwwat al-Jawwiya al Arabiya as-Souriya (SyAAF, Syrian Arab Air Force) conducted their first first joint combat air patrol (CAP) mission.
The mission’s route ran along the Golan Heights to the southern Syrian border and then along the Euphrates river to northern Syria.
Taking part in the CAP mission were RF VKS Sukhoi Su-34 bomber/strike aircraft and Sukhoi Su-35S air-defence fighters, directed by a Beriev A-50 Mainstay airborne early warning and control aircraft (AEWA&C) and SyAAF MiG-23MLD and MiG-29SM fighters.
The Russian aircraft all took off from Hmeymim air base and the Syrian took off from the Seikal and Doumeyr airfields outside Damascus.
It was reported that during the CAP mission, Syrian pilots controlled airspace and provided fighter cover, while Russian crews practiced attacks on the ground at a training range in central Syria. According to the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD), these joint missions will now take place on a regular basis.
Scramble Magazine has analysed the provided footage and concluded that the following aircraft have taken part in the joint CAP:
Su-34 RF-95070/06 Red, 4x practice bombs, L265M10 ECM wingtip pods
Su-34 RF-81853/10 Red, 4x practice bombs, L265M10 ECM wingtip pods
Su-34 RF-81855/11 Red, 4x practice bombs, L265M10 ECM wingtip pods
Su-35S RF-91717/50 Red, 2x R-27ET, L265M10 ECM wingtip pods
Su-35S RF-93648/08 Red, 4x RVV-SD, 2x RVV-MD, L265M10 ECM wingtip pods
MiG-23ML (Izd. 23.12B) 2750, R-24/R-60MK missiles
MiG-23MLD (Izd. 23.22B) 2768, R-24/R-60MK missiles
MiG-29SM 3436?, serial not 100% confirmed
MiG-29 (Izd. 9.13) serial not read
Strikingly, the used SyAAF MiG-29s differ from each other in camouflage pattern and one of the aircraft is clearly a 9.13 humpback which indicates that it comes from the 2020 deliveries to both Libya and Syria.
In the meantine, a photo revealed presence of four MiG-29SMT fighters at T4 Air Force base in Homs Governorate, north of Tiyas. At this moment it is not known if these fighters are RF VKS MiG-29SMT which have been redeployed or that these MiG-29s have been transferred to the SyAAF.
Photos by TASS and RusVesna