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Spreading Wings: Russian Air Force 'Recovers' From Post-Cold War Collapse

© Sputnik / Valery Melnikov / Go to the photo bankSu-30SM is a supermaneuverable multirole fighter
Su-30SM is a supermaneuverable multirole fighter - Sputnik International
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Russia's limited but highly-efficient campaign in Syria shows that Moscow's "once dilapidated military has recovered from its low-point" in the 1990s," defense analyst Dave Majumdar wrote for the National Interest.

As part of this trend, Russia is on the verge of introducing a homegrown innovative system that will significantly improve precision targeting capabilities of its attack aircraft, defense analyst Dave Majumdar wrote for the National Interest, referring to targeting pods.

"With the addition of the targeting pods, the Russian Air Force will more or less have matched all of the capabilities resident onboard US fourth-generation fighters like the F-15, F-16 or F/A-18," he added.

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Several Russian companies are working on developing targeting pods, but only one, the Precision Instrumentation Systems (PSS) corporation, has already produced a first prototype, an unnamed military source told the Izvestiya newspaper last week. They are expected to be tested later this year.

The Russian-made targeting pod can be compared to a sniper sight, the source added. The pilot will be able to follow a live video feed on a monitor installed into the aircraft cabin and target guided bombs or missiles accordingly.

"Targeting pods allow the pilot to eliminate targets with air-launched weapons equipped with television seekers or direct a laser light at the target and use laser-guided bombs to hit the mark," the source explained.

CC BY-SA 2.0 / Dmitry Terekhov / IMG_8624Su-35 super maneuverable multirole fighter
Su-35 super maneuverable multirole fighter - Sputnik International
Su-35 super maneuverable multirole fighter

The PSS targeting pods are meant to be fitted onto the Sukhoi Su-30SM Flanker-H, the Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E and the upgraded Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum. 

"Russia seems to have accelerated the development of the new pod after combat experience in Syria demonstrated that such capabilities are mandatory over the modern battlefield," Majumdar observed.

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