Eye-Catching AFB: T4 (Syria)

I believe it's time to talk about a very attractive Syrian AFB, especially after the great Apple maps revealed its latest and most recent aerial images...it's the T4.
T4 (or as named in GE "Tiyas" which is not known at all with this name in Syria) is located in the Syrian desert 80km to the east of Homs city.

T4, is one of the most important AFB's in Syria since it is STILL the main home base for the Syrian Su-24MK fleet, and WAS for the sadly phased-out most of the MiG-25PD's fleet.
This AFB witnessed the operation of Su-7, Su-22M, Su-24MK, MiG-25PD/PU/RB, MiG-29 in addition to the two Il-28 SyAAF used to have in 1960s.
Above is a key map for the views below:

View 1: This is the first aerial image which clearly confirms the phasing-out of MiG-25PD's, four airframes sadly towed into the desert.

View 2: The north-eastern HAS's shows another MiG-25s still parked outdoor, they look here more stored than phased-out.
Note the two fuselage of scrapped Su-7s to the upper right corner.

View 3: The south-eastern HAS's also shows few MiG-25s stored aside outside.

View 4: another four MiG-25s parked outside.

View 5: To the furthest west of this AFB, two yards received ten MiG-25s, the western HAS's used to be occupied by Su-22 squadrons.

View 6: Another four confirmed phased-out MiG-25s been towed also in the desert.
From these satellite images, T4 became a boneyard for the MiG-25 fleet in which we can count at least 27 airframes (stored/phased-out), but referring to the video of Tadmor airbase in which at least three MiG-25PD/PU appeared then we assume that only few units might be still operational till todate.


The SEEN is finally seen !!!

Finally, after years of the emergence of electronic maps (Google, Bing and Apple), Apple maps did it and revealed the never seen before, the SEEN AIR FORCE BASE !!
This base in known also as "Sayqal" as per the Google Earth, but it's not called like this in Syria at all.
The importance of this AFB comes from being the home base of the SyAAF MiG-29 fleet.

Seen is the only Syrian AFB which didn't have clear aerial view or satellite image in any map before, sadly it was provided in gray scale tones but it's better than nothing !!
Above is a key map for the partial views below (North is always to the top).

View 1: phased-out two MiG-21s.

View 2: another two MiG-21s phased-out.

View 3: the upper aircraft is a MiG-23, the below is MiG-29, since both are exposed in the yard then both should be training variants.

View 4: This look to be the maintenence and testing facility, two MiG-29s appears here.

View 5: again...another two MiG-21s phased-out.

View 6: a MiG-25RB had an accident in early 2000s, withdrawn immediately and been kept in its place.

View 7: the lower aircraft looks like a fin-less MiG-23, while the one to the north of the double HAS is a Su-24MK.

View 8: withdrawn MiG-21s are everywhere in this AFB !!, here are six airframes phased-out; Also note the two scraped wing-less Su-7s or Su-20s.

View 9: OK, here are the last two phased-out MiG-21s been towed into the desert.

Simultaneously, Bing maps revealed this AFB, I'm not sure of the time gap between Apple's and Bing's, but Bing's still blurry and in low definition.
Only two important partial views here, the eastern one shows a MiG-29 been parked behind the HAS, while the western one shows three MiG-23s side by side.


SyAAF L-39 Albatros - Updated II

While Syrian Air Force L-39s units continue hitting Aleppo city and its country and villages (Reef), the more videos and shots for these units come on web for public.
The above photo is for an L-39ZA reg. 2136 operated from Rasm Al Abboud air base the moment it releases two FAB-250.

Another shot for the same; Note the under-fuselage mounted gun pod.

And another shot for this 2136 L-39.

I may quote here from Mr. Rick Francona's article which is in my opinion the best explanation why the Syrian regime used to fly sorties of this trainer/light attack aircraft over Aleppo, as he explained "Actually, for the type of operations being conducted in the Aleppo area, as well as the rest of the country, the L-39ZA is the best fixed-wing asset in the Syrian air force inventory. It offers excellent visibility for the pilots, can carry an adequate amount of weaponry, and flies slow enough so the pilots can pick out their targets in the dense urban environment of Syria's large cities"

Nice shot for an L-39, but sadly it's hitting Aleppo.

SyAAF L-39ZA reg. 2145 armed with unguided rocket pods under wing pylons in addition to the gun pod.

Clear photo for a SyAAF L-39 over Aleppo.

Another clear one here too.

SyAAF L-39 reg. 2144, this shot was taken during the ceremony of Air Force Academy graduation.

This is one of the earliest photo for a SyAAF
L-39 published on web, the first airframe carries the serial 2092.
Finally, through photos, we can see that the L-39 fleet of SyAAF carries both serials 20XX and 21XX.


SyAAF Mil Mi-25 - Updated

While the Syrian uprising continues, more and more photos of SyAAF units appears on the web; The most important ones should be for those four Mi-25s spotted in Chkalovsk AFB in Kaliningrad; Two units can be seen in the above photo in the typical SyAAF camo, note that the roundel, flag, serial and "danger" Arabic word are all covered.
The story of these units started when Syria sent 20 Mi-25s back to Russia for overhaul and modernization in 2008; 16 airframes were overhauled and returned to Syria before the uprising began the last year.
Four units were supposed to be shipped to Syria on 2012 on Alaed, were truly uploaded and heading to Tartous port, while the vessel entered the Scottish waters it suffered its insurance agreement was terminated by the British insurance company itself due to the pressure from the U.S. and the U.K.
Thus, Alaed was obliged to cut its trip and ship back to Kaliningrad where it downloaded these four remaining Mi-25 which thought to be still there up to date.

The plant 150 in Kaliningrad received as above mentioned 20 Mi-25, in addition to unknown number of Kamov Ka-28s to be modernized and overhauled.
The approximate cost of overhauling each Mi-25 was about $700,000 , while for the Kamov's it was around $1,150,000.
Special thanks to TJ and Valen in this article.

Another photo for a SyAAF Mi-25 said to be spotted in Ukraine few years ago. 

One of the oldest photos of a SyAAF Mi-25, this one carries the serial 2843.

From the live fire maneuvers conducted this year, a pair of SyAAF Mi-25s dispensing flares while performing ascend/dive maneuvers; Serials are 2820 and 2830.

Another HD still extracted from the video of the live fire maneuvers shows a Mi-25 with serial 2837 firing a Swatter.


SyAAF MiG-21bis Shot Down (2012-08-29) & (2012-09-04)

As the appetite of Free Syrian Army (FSyA) for bringing down aircraft is increasing day by day, another two SyAAF aircraft were shot down by Shuhada' Souria battalions in less than a week in Abu DhHour town adjacent to Abu DhHour AFB.
The first one was a MiG-21bis with serial 2271 (shown above), brought down while climbing after taking off (as reported by rebels) on 29th August 2012.

Another photo for the fin of the MiG-21bis. Note that in the video, rebels used to define it a 'MiG-23' as they considered Abu DhHour is famous with its MiG-23 squadron more than its MiG-21's. 

Here is the video.

The second MiG-21, is also a bis, was brought down by the same mentioned battalion in the same area on 4th September 2012.

This 2280 MiG-21bis was also was shot shortly after taking off. Both aircraft's crew were KIA.


Soviet EW Mil Mi-8s in Syria

Mi-8PPA № 32, 100th Helicopter Detachment at Al Mazze airbase

After the invasion of Israelis to Lebanon in 1982 and got into direct contact with Syrian armed and air forces there, it maintained an air superiority never seen before in any of the Arab-Israeli wars due to the technological supremacy in modern equipments, weaponry and with no doubt to the most important role which was the electronic warfare.
For this reason, the Syrian former president Hafez Al Assad asked help from the Soviets whom in turn agreed and started in July 1982 to form a detachment of EW helicopters with their personnel to Syria.
In October the same year, a formation of EW Mi-8 helicopters of the 208th squadron based in Buyalyk air base (46°53'35.19"N 30°42'6.76"E currently in Ukraine, the pilots and technicians were gathered from different bases (Jelgava, Kobrin, Lutsk and Tskhinvali).

Mi-8PPA № 32, 100th Helicopter Detachment at Al Mazze airbase

The fleet consisted of four Mi-8PPA and four Mi-8SMV, each two were loaded in An-22 and delivered to Damascus international airport where they been assembled and flew to Mazze airbase as the 100th squadron.
Because of the special EW equipments mounted on the fuselage of these Mi's, the SyAAF roundel (which was exactly in the place of the X-shaped antenna) was printed on the engine cover over the cockpit, while the serial number was painted directly on the cover of "Azalia" antenna station.

Mi-8PPA № 35, 100th Helicopter Detachment at Al Mazze airbase

During the regular replacement of staff in 1983, an additional Mi-8MTP -received the number 30- was detached to Syria from Buyalyk air base, another replacement took place in 1985; In 1988 the fleet was sent back to Soviet Union and now is phased out in GORELOVO AFB.
Here, I would like to send special thanks for our anonymous friend who provided a link to the WEBSITE of the above info.


Eye-Catching AFB: GORELOVO (Russia)

Interesting air base in Russia, Gorelovo airport (also known as Annino) which is located around 20km southwest of Saint Petersburg.
Above, a 2009 dated GE shot for the eastern part of this air base which is actually a bone yard for more than -nowadays- 120 phased-out helicopters of various types.

This bone yard includes airframes from MIL and KAMOV as shown above.
From MIL, there was different variants from Mi-8, 17 and 24.

At least 3 to 4 variants of Hinds can be seen here, some are fitted with unusual external carriage (I'll dedicate some other post for them).

This base looks to have some facility (some big building started to be constructed beside this yard from 2008) to uninstall, demount, disassemble and even store the components of withdrawn helicopters either those can be reused for spares or some sensitive elements in these airframes.
The complete photos can be seen HERE

Actually, what made this airbase more and more attractive, is the existence of some EW (Electronic Warfare) Mi-8/17 variants with SyAAF roundel on the fuselage, as the above Mil Mi-8SMV with serial 32 in Arabic digits in white.
Note the over-painted-roundel on the motor cover, also note the camo colors which are similar to those SyAAF units operational these days.

Another shot for the same Mi-8SMV from the left side.

Another Mil Mi-8SMV with serial 35 also in Arabic digits.

The second from left is a Mil Mi-8SMV with SyAAF roundel and serial 30, the camo here is more greenish and not seen for any SyAAF Mi-8/17 units.

This one also should be a Mil Mi-17PP variant but over-painted serial and some sand / ocher camo.
The reason why these Mi's with SyAAF roundel are found here in Russia is that these units were strictly operated by Soviets themselves in 1980s and 90s.

It's good to know also that Soviets used to operate around eight EW variant Mil Mi-8/17s, four of them were for sure based in T4 AFB in Syria by Soviets themselves as shown in the above rare photo of a Mi-17SMV reg. 29. 

Another rare photo (belongs to late 1980s) for some Soviet specialists / instructors infront of an EW Mi-17 in some AFB in Syria.