War-Torn Syria Became The Russia Military's Proving Ground (Lots Of Weapons Tests)

August 26, 2020 Topic: Security Region: Middle East Blog Brand: The Reboot Tags: RussiaMilitaryTechnologySyriaWarHistoryAir Force

War-Torn Syria Became The Russia Military's Proving Ground (Lots Of Weapons Tests)

Pre-planned strikes at high altitude against static targets could not ensure battlefield successes of Syrian ground forces.

Frogfoots were then briefly withdrawn, but in 2017 improved Su-25SM-3 model aircraft returned, equipped with the improved SOLT-25 electro-optical sensor in the nose, including an infrared imager and a modern laser targeter, as well as Metronome communications systems. 

New Vitebsk self-defense systems and L-370-3S jamming pods also allowed the Su-25 pilots to take greater risks, though a Su-25 was shot down by a missile early in 2018. Su-25s were also involved in a tense confrontation with U.S. F-22 stealth fighters in December 2017.

Overall, Russian aviation demonstrated improved technical and operational sophistication by 2018, including increasing adoption of some elements of Western-style network-centric warfare.  However, high-altitude unguided bombing methods leaning on the SVP-24 system would be of limited applicability in a conflict against a foe with serious air defenses and satellite-spoofing capability.

Sébastien Roblin holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. This article first appeared last year.

Image: Reuters.