We have heard a lot about near encounters between coalition and Russian aircraft over Syria in recent weeks, and that Russia has shadowed American unmanned aircraft operating over Syria on numerous occasions, yet this may be the first cockpit video of such an occurrence.
The video looks like it has been shot from the backseat of a Russian Su-30SM Flanker, of which we know at least four are deployed to Syria and have been mainly flying combat air patrols since Russia’s bombing operations began.
This video comes as the U.S. and Russia have come to an agreement on how to deal with sharing the airspace over Syria and keeping collisions, or even worse, from happening. This “memorandum” lays out protocols for pilots to follow when encountering a U.S. or Russian aircraft, including what radio frequencies will be used for communications and other standardized operating procedures. It also opens up a military-to-military hotline between Washington and Moscow that can be used to share information or deal with a potential crisis before it spins out of control.
This sounds like a very similar agreement that the U.S. and China have put in place for intercepts near the Chinese mainland. Now we will have to wait and see if Russia follows the agreement as it is laid out as they have not even been able to stay within the borders of Syria during combat operations.
Here is a Su-24 Fencer blasting out of and returning to Russia’s air base south of Latakia after a bombing sortie.
In the meantime, Russian air operations out of their air base south of Latakia have shown no sign of slowing. They are now actively supporting Syrian troops backed by Iranian fighters that have begun battling rebels in the war torn city of Aleppo in Northwest Syria. If Aleppo should fall to back under Assad’s control it could be the biggest victory in years for the embattled regime.
Contact the author at Tyler@jalopnik.com.