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Aerial Missiles That Protect Russian Bombers in Syria Revealed (Photos)

© Sputnik / Alexandr Kryazhev / Go to the mediabankA Sukhoi 30 multi-purpose fighter jet
A Sukhoi 30 multi-purpose fighter jet - Sputnik International
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Su-30SM fighters, which are part of Russia’s anti-ISIL campaign in Syria, are armed with R-73 short-range and R-27R medium-to-long-range air-to-air missiles, representatives of the Russian Air Force told journalists at the Hmeymim airbase in Latakia.

The Russian airstrike group in Syria includes Sukhoi Su-24s, Su-25s and Su-34s, as well as several Su-30SM fighters. The main objective of these fighter jets is to protect Russian bombers, striking ISIL positions in the air, from possible enemy fighters.

© SputnikSu-30 Multirole fighter
Su-30 Multirole fighter - Sputnik International
Su-30 Multirole fighter

For this purpose the Sukhoi fighter jets are armed with R-73 and R-27R (and its modification R-27ER) air-to-air missiles. Each plane can carry 12 of these deadly missiles, but usually Russian fighters carry six of them for greater maneuverability.

The R-73 short-range air-to-air missiles are designed for close-range aerial combat, with a range of no more than 30 kilometers. The R-73 missile is equipped with an infrared-homing (heat-seeking) head that provides extreme precision when hitting targets. Pilots can fire R-73 missiles using a helmet-mounted sight (HMS) system of targeting.

© WikipediaR-73 missile
R-73 missile - Sputnik International
R-73 missile

In addition to the short-range missiles, Su-30SM flankers are equipped with R-27R and R-27ER medium-to-long-range missiles. The R-27R and R-27ER missiles can be used between 20 and 27,000 meters altitude and are equipped with an active-radar-homing head that allows the missile to find and track its targets autonomously. Active-radar-homing missiles are extremely accurate and have one of the best kill probabilities among all modern air-to-air missiles.

Russia launched an airstrike campaign aimed at assisting the Damascus-led forces in their fight against extremist groups in Syria, including Islamic State, following a request from the government of Bashar al-Assad.    

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