Russian Su-30 combat aircraft used as ‘an aero lure’ in Ukraine

MOSCOW ($1=62.00 Russian Rubles) — The Russian Defense Ministry says two fighter jets shot down a Ukrainian warplane. The online information portal Izvestia quoted the ministry as saying that the two Russian fighters that took part in the battle were Su-35 and Su-30. Neither the Defense Ministry nor the reports said when the air battle took place and over which area in Ukraine.

Russian fighters into air defense range of Alaska and Canada - NORAD
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

However, the tactics used by the Russian air and space forces to shoot down the Ukrainian plane are of interest. “Package bait” or “an aero lure” is the definition given by some Asian media. According to the description of this tactic, one of the fighters flies at high altitude and the second at low altitude. The first is intended to provide radar coverage in a radius of 3 to 200 km [in the case of the Su-35], while the second [Su-30] is to eliminate the enemy’s ground-based air defense system.

The Russian Ministry of Defense claims that it was the Su-35 that shot down a Ukrainian military aircraft. The ministry did not want to reveal the model of the Ukrainian plane. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that just weeks ago, the Russian air and space forces shot down a Ukrainian Su-24. Then the tactics were completely analogous.

Su-35 today’s armament

In today’s commented case, the Su-35 took off with several key missiles. Footage released by the Russian Ministry of Defense, which is said to show the specific Su-35, showed the Russian pilot taking off with two RVV-MD short-range air-to-air missiles, two RVV-BD air-to-air missiles, and two Kh-31P anti-radiation missiles [ARM] start-up and a take-off.

Ukrainian MiG-29 shot down a Russian Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jet
Photo: Twitter

Su-30 – the ‘aero lure’

The Su-35 takes off before the Su-30 to “check the sky”. In this particular case, the Su-35 acts as an air dominance aircraft. Flying at high altitude and scanning the sky up to 200 km with its N135 Irbis-E radar, the Su The -35 should ensure that the skies remain clear of air threats.

Later, the Su-30 takes off, which should actually eliminate the enemy’s ground-based air defense system. Relying on radar cover from the Su-35, the Su-30 descends at low altitude to gain visual contact with the target. This is followed by the launch of the Kh-29 air-to-surface missile, which was developed to deal with ground targets, such as air defense systems, railway carriages and trains, bridges, etc.

The Kh-29 missile is often used by Russian pilots for radar lock-on. I.e. even when it is under the Su-30’s wing and not yet launched, the missile’s seekers detect the target and lock on to it by radar. After the launch of the missile, the Su-30 is released from the attack and makes a strong maneuver, changing the direction of its flight. No matter the distance of the fighter or its maneuverability, the missile has already locked on the target and a hit follows.

su-35 pesa radar
Photo credit: Military Watch Magazine

Here again the Su-35 comes on the scene. It is entirely possible that before the Su-30 fired its missile, the enemy air defense system detected the Su-30 through its radar. In this case, the powerful N135 Irbis-E radar mounted on board the Su-35 detects the radar emission from the ground-based air defense system and fires one of two Kh-31P anti-radar [anti-radiation] missiles.

Anti-radiation missiles role

The Ukrainian Air Force is well aware of the effectiveness of anti-radiation missiles. Thanks to US-donated HARM anti-radiation missiles, the Ukrainians silenced the radars of Russia’s Saki Air Base in Crimea and freely struck the base, causing severe damage and destroying several aircraft on the ground.

Most likely, the radar emission from the Ukrainian air defense system, before it was destroyed, detected the presence of the Su-30. For this reason, the Ukrainian Air Force has put its fighter into the air to fight Su-30. But the Su-35, operating at high altitude and scanning the sky with its radar, detected it, after which one of the two air-to-air missiles was fired, which also locked on the target and pursued it. There is no information on which of the two missiles the Su-35 used, but experts assume that it could be the RVV-BD missile, which has a range of 300 km.

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 21 February 2022, the Russian government claimed that Ukrainian shelling had destroyed an FSB border facility on the Russia Ukraine border. Moscow also claimed that it had killed 5 Ukrainian soldiers who tried to cross into Russian territory. Ukraine denied being involved in both incidents and called them a false flag.

Confirmed: US integrated AGM-88 HARM into Ukrainian MiG-29s
Photo credit: MoD Ukraine

On the same day, the Russian government formally recognized the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR as independent states. According to Putin not only in their de-facto controlled areas, but the Ukrainian Oblasts as a whole. Putin ordered Russian troops, including tanks, to enter the regions.

On 24 February 2022, Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine by Russian Armed Forces previously concentrated along the border. The invasion followed by targeted airstrikes of military buildings in the country. The invasion followed also by targeted tanks entering via Belarus border.

Russia has so far not recognized the invasion of Ukraine as a “war”, although that is exactly what it is, claiming that it is a “special military operation”. According to the UN, in which Russia has its permanent representation, for military action to be defined as a “special military operation”, it must have a resolution issued by the UN. There is no such resolution, which automatically defines the military actions of the Russians as an invasion and war against the citizens of Ukraine.

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