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Six Mig-29 aircraft and 2 SU-24 Fencers for Haftar

What changes in Libya with the new Russian fighters

In a verbal exchange that is constantly rising in tone, Turkey and General Haftar seem to want to make it clear that neither is willing to give up any of his chances to support the government led by Fayez al-Sarraj on the one hand or to bring it down completely on the other one. Politically, news of the arrival of 8 Soviet-made fighter jet aircraft from the Syrian base of Hmeimim, controlled by Russian Federation forces in Eastern Libya controlled by Haftar, caused a sensation. It is not clear whether these are modernized aircraft already in Haftar's possession or new units to be added to its fleet. What is certain is that they are not just any aircraft. They are in fact 6 Mig 29 and two SU-24 Fencers.

Airplanes -AVIONEWS writes- not very modern, but extremely powerful and capable of reversing the balance of forces on the ground, especially if operated by trained and experienced pilots and equipped with the air-ground armament they can embark.

The news, released by the Libyan Interior Minister, Fathi Bashaga, a member of the government led by Fayez al-Sarraj, did not appeal to Turkey which, as a practice in these cases, responded diplomatically that "Turkey is well prepared to defend the own bases and other sites under its protection and warships deployed near Tripoli" and that  "Any attack on Turkish personnel could lead to reprisals, even against Haftar headquarters".

The explicit reference to warships -AVIONEWS writes it- which support the Turkish engagement in Libya highlights the most serious concerns by Ankara.

The Su-24 became operational in 1975 to implement the doctrine in vogue in those years of the attack at transonic speeds and at very low altitude (60/40 meters from the ground). Fencer for NATO, "Suitcase" (for the square shape Ed) for the Russians and Tornadosky (for the similarity with the Tornado Editorial notice) in Europe, the Su-24 is able to transport and launch any Soviet missile, including anti-ship missiles, and the use of the two aircraft against Turkish ships would constitute a very serious and difficult threat to combat given that a typical attack by the SU-24 occurs at around 1100 km/h with the launch of 2/4 missiles per aircraft from considerable distances.

Without adequate air coverage, any warship would be in danger and the Turkish ships are no exception. Also for the support to the fighting on the ground, the Fencer has first-rate features, especially in the current Libyan scenario. The internal armament consists of a gun with a very high firing rate, the Gsh-23-6 which, classic of Soviet doctrine, favors the mass of the bullet compared to its speed and is able to support a firing volume of 8000 shots per minute. External weapons include everything Russian tactical aircraft can use from guided missiles to rockets, in-flight refuelling pods for other machines and AA-8 missiles for self-defense. All for a maximum of over 9000 kilos, divided between 7 pylons arranged as on the Tornado, but without space problems given the size of the Russian car which can take on over 17,000 liters of fuel. The Mig-29s are no less operationally capable.

AVIONEWS recalls that the Fulcrum, in NATO code, was publicly presented to the westerners, surprisingly, on July 1, 1986 in Finland and still has leading features. Cannon (the same as Fencer) and air-to-air missiles make it an excellent air defense aircraft, but which can also be used in support of ground operations. Once again the difference will make men: Fencer and Fulcrum are two very powerful machines, but they need ground staff and pilots who are particularly trained and with operational experience.

Are there in Libya?

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency