While several Russian SU-34 Fullback bombers in Syria are attention-grabbing, Most of long-range striking power in the area comes courtesy of SU-24 Fencer. Twelve wing jets with variable geometry and distinctive twin-engine, have been deployed in Latakia by Russian.
Though Fencer design can be traced back to the 1960s, Russian current fleet of SU-20s is heavily upgraded with contemporary systems. The modern type is equipped with upgraded glass cockpit, upgraded air-to-air defense, GLONASS satellite navigation systems, R-73 high off-boresight missiles and a modern head-up display.
Su-24 Fencer is capable of carrying many precision-guided munitions. However, according to U.S Forces official, Russian is not using those weapons. Instead, it is using unguided munitions. In fact, U.S Air Force was recorded saying: ‘Those aren’t precision weapons.”
According to Sukhoi, though the Fencer can carry as many as 17,600ibs of ordinance, it only carries 6,600lbs. The jet was designed to penetrate adversary airspace at low attitude. Without aerial refueling, it can hit a target that is located as far as 400 miles away. According to U.S Navy official, the aircraft can be used for survey and other support missions.
With twelve jets at their disposal, the Russian air force require between 8 and 10 Fencers available to them. If Russian has enough resources in Latakia, the ten SU-24 could make thirty raids per day. However, it is unclear if Russian Air Force brought with them enough pilots and maintenance crews. U.S Navy and Air Force Official doubt on whether Russian has enough support equipment
The Russian air force will finally replace jet with modern the SU-34. However, the SU-24 Fencer will continue to be in operation for some time to come. The Fencer gives the Russian forces in Syria a good long-range capability, making it to be among the most dangerous war jet used. It enables Russian to strike targets that are very far away from Latakia.