Turkey downs Russia's fighter jet
Russia's premier SU-24 jet fighter was downed by Turkey
The downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey is going to further increase an already tense situation in the region. (view the plane in flames in our video section).
The Russian defense ministry has stated in the most emphatic terms, that they are sure the plane was in Syrian airspace. If true, this constitutes an act of war.
Currently, the primary focus of the Russian Federation is on the two pilots, both ejected from the jet. Some reports coming in say that both pilots have been handed over to Turkish authorities.
Although the first images show one of the two pilots, captured by opponents of the Syrian government, in very bad condition, probably dead.
Betting on what hit the Russian SU-24 and what an F-16 is equipped with It is most likely that the Russian plane was downed by an AIM-9 Sidewinder fired from a Turkish F-16.
The AIM-9 Sidewinder is an air-to-air missile, short-range based on heat-seeking and actually considered one of the best missiles in the world.
The Russian plane, an SU-24 is a strike aircraft with a radius of operation of 300 kilometers and must not of been much of a task to bring down, given the different capabilities of the F-16 Turkish and the AIM-9 heat-seeking missile.
It should be noted that Russia brought the SU-34 and SU-30 into Syria for the purpose to give its airplanes cover in attack missions on the ground.
There is little information so far about what actually happened in the air.
Russia says that the plane was flying in Syrian territory. Turkey claims that the SU-24 was flying over Turkish airspace. Ankara says it warned 10 times in five minutes the Russian jet to leave their airspace.
Yet this makes little or no sense. If indeed the SU-24 had erroneously gone into Turkish territory, which has already happened, why would they not respond to the warnings sent from the Turks? Since Russian airplanes are not operating in Turkey and consider it hostile enemy territory, their response to the Turkish warning would have easily cleared up the misunderstanding and avoided the downing.
Another mystery: what were the SU-30 and SU-34 planes doing while the SU-24 was being targeted and hit. Why didn't they fire back and destroy the F-16? Perhaps in order to avoid an even bigger disaster?
If so this would show once again the steel nerves of those in Moscow, despite this enormous provocation.
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