Russia’s cutting edge Su-35 fighters to be on 24-hour alert at Latakia base

A Su-35 aircraft. © Mikhail Voskresenskiy
Russia’s new-generation Su-35 fighter jets will be on round-the-clock duty at the Latakia base in Syria, ready to take off at a minute's notice to provide cover for aerial operations in the area, a spokesman for the Russian forces in Syria said.

According to the Russian Air Space Forces group spokesman in Syria, there will always be two Su-35 jets ready to take off in just 60 seconds at Russia’s Khmeimim Air Base in Latakia. The fighter jets will provide cover for Russian aircraft and increase their total field of view.

In the air, two Su-35s can provide a 360-degree field of view with coverage ranging to 400 kilometers, the spokesman said. He also mentioned that the Su-35 is a multirole fighter jet capable of providing air cover for the strike aircraft and strike surface targets as well as subsurface ones.

The jets are capable of locating, tracking and hitting up to eight targets at once, the spokesman noted, adding that Su-35s are equipped with advanced active jamming stations rendering them ‘invisible’ to the enemy.

“Now, our task is to use [the capabilities of the Su-35 jets] to the maximum. We will use every weapon that [these fighter jets] are equipped with. They can be equipped with any type of air bombs with combat loads up to eight tons,” the spokesman said.

Su-35s were deployed to Syria and performed their first combat missions last week, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday, TASS reports.

Earlier, the Khmeimim Air Base had accommodated Russian Air Force squadrons of Su-27 and Su-30 fighter jets, Su-34 and Su-24 tactical bombers, and Su-25 attack aircraft. Additionally, in November 2015, Russia deployed a unit of its cutting-edge S-400 air defense systems to the base after a Russian Su-34M bomber was shot down by the Turkish Air Force in Syrian airspace.

S-400s are designed to ensure air defense using long and medium-range missiles that can hit aerial targets, including tactical and strategic aircraft as well as ballistic and cruise missiles, at ranges of up to 400 kilometers.

The Russian Navy has a maritime task force off the Syrian coast, including the Vice-Admiral Kulakov missile destroyer, to provide air defense and naval support.