Satellite images prove Russian combat planes have eventually deployed to Syria.
The deployment, anticipated by an air bridge from Russia that involved several An-124 Condor airlifter flights (that we were able to track thanks to their Mode-S transponders) saw the aircraft arrive at al-Assad International Airport, near Latakia, the main Syrian port city, on Sept. 18.
As the satellite imagery shows, the aircraft were parked next to the threshold of runway 17L, on the northern side of the airport: this is quite interesting as the airbase has no hardened shelters and the aircraft are in the open air, exposing them to satellites and spyplanes, and making them a possible target to attacks from outside the airfield.
No Su-25s have been spotted yet, but the current inventory of Russian jets in Syria includes Su-30s, Mi-24 gunships, and Mi-17 Hip cargo helicopters.
Last I heard, ISIS doesn’t have an air force of its own. So it’s curious, isn’t it, that the only Russian jets deployed so far are air-superiority fighters rather than ground-pounders?