Here’s Why, Russia Deploys Su-34 Near Ukrainian Border, But Used Su-24 Instead

The crews of the Su-34 fighter-bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces fly in Syria with Garmin GPS. Source JPost.

While the Russians have been under-performing, Ukraine’s military has been exceeding expectations so far.

Ukraine’s experience from the last eight years of fighting with Russian-backed separatist forces in the east was dominated by static World War One-style trench warfare.

“The Russians are discovering that coordinating multi-domain operations is not easy,” Deptula told Reuters. “And that they are not as good as they presumed they were.”

That leaves Russian soldiers vulnerable to attack from Ukrainian forces, including those newly equipped with Turkish drones and U.S. and British anti-tank missiles.

Military experts have seen evidence of a lack of Russian air force coordination with ground troop formations, with multiple Russian columns of troops sent forward beyond the reach of their own air defense cover.

Ka-52 shot down by Stinger missile

Ukrainian troops with surface-to-air rockets are able to threaten Russian aircraft and create a risk to Russian pilots trying to support ground forces.

Su-34 Fullback

Russian Sukhoi Su-34 ‘Fullback’ strike aircraft were seen operating over Ukraine for the first time on 28 February.

Russian Sukhoi Su-34 ‘Fullback’ strike aircraft were seen operating over Ukraine for the first time on 28 February. On the contrary, Su-24 remains in service with the Russian Air Force, Syrian Air Force, Ukrainian Air Force, Algerian Air Force and various other air forces to which it was exported.

Footage of at least one of the jets overflying the Kharkiv region was posted online, with the person taking the footage noting that at least seven such aircraft had already flown overhead by the time he began filming.

The Su-34 is a long-range strike aircraft, that was designed as a replacement for the Soviet-era Su-24 ‘Fencer’ in Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) service. The Su-34 is equipped with 12 hardpoints for the carriage of a range of air-to-surface and air-to-air weaponry.

Su-24 and Su-34 carry almost similar unguided, or ‘dumb’, weapons carried by the type comprise FAB-500T, BETAB-500ShP, ODAB-500PM, OFAB-250-270, ODAB-100-120, P-50T bombs, as well as S-8OM, S-8BM, S-13OF, S-8KOM, and S-25OFM-PU rockets. Guided, or ‘smart’, weapons comprise R-27R1 (ER1), R-27T1 (ET1), R-73E and RVV-AE air-to-air missiles; Kh-59ME, Kh-31A, Kh-31P, Kh-29T (TE), Kh-29L, and S-25LD air-to-surface missiles; KAB-500Kr, KAB-500L, KAB-1500KR, KAB-1500L LGBs; and RBK-500 SPBE-D cluster bombs. The Su-34 is also equipped with one 30 mm GSh-301 gun with 150 rounds.

Russian GLONASS has accuracy problem

The crews of the Su-34 fighter-bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) fly in Syria and carry out combat missions using the American GPS navigation system, additionally installed in the cockpits, learned GDC citing Israeli newspaper Israeli Defense.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is the oldest such constellation. It was developed by the US military and became operational in 1995. It’s called Global because you can receive the signals from this constellation anywhere in the world. The satellites broadcast signals to Earth, and by calculating the difference in timing of the received signals from various satellites, a receiver can figure out where it is located. The position of the satellites is known and provided in the signals that they broadcast.

Garmin GPS in Su-34’s Cockpit

Let’s compare GPS with the Russian GLONASS system. For GPS, the US has committed to maintaining at least 24 operational GPS satellites, 95% of the time. In the past few years, 31 satellites have been steadily operational. The GLONASS constellation was also completed in 1995, but at the end of the 1990s became incomplete with the loss of satellites.

Under Vladimir Putin’s presidency, the GLONASS project was made a priority and received a substantial increase in funding. By October 2011, the entire constellation of 24 satellites was restored, giving full coverage in far north or south where Russia needs GLONASS most. In terms of positional accuracy, GPS is slightly better than GLONASS overall. Still, due to the different positioning of the GLONASS satellites, GLONASS has less accuracy at lower latitudes.

Most of the 24 satellites that make up the Glonass constellation began broadcasting erroneous data about their locations. The ability of satellite positioning receivers to provide an accurate fix is tied to the accuracy of the signal from space, so the problem immediately affected users.

According to Reuters news agency, Russia dropped bombs on schools, universities and hospitals. Russia mostly used dumb bombs in Syria and Ukraine. For this reason, collateral damage is high in Ukraine and Syria.

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