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Su-24/Mig-27 in the 1970s /80s and escort fighters

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  • nastle
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Feb 2005
    • 542

    Su-24/Mig-27 in the 1970s /80s and escort fighters

    As we all know Su-24/Mig-27 were the primary strike assets of VVS from the mid-80s to 1990

    They would have been deployed in a variety of roles but given they carried large external tanks and later had inflight refuelling their targets must have well outside the range of most if not all VVS Mig-23/29 fighters.

    And the Su-27 did not enter service with VVS in substantial numbers until 1988

    SO my question is were the Su-24s /Mig-27 from 1976-88 expected to perform most of their missions unescorted ? if so was this not suicidal considering NATO had F-15s in place and hundreds of F-16s not to mention F-4s

    What was the primary means of survival for these su-24s and also for the Mig-27 which also in the same time frame had generally similar roles ? it surely cannot be their self defence cannons and 2 x R-60

    What kind of attrition rates were they expected to sustain ?
    Last edited by nastle; 11th July 2019, 03:47.
  • totoro
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Apr 2006
    • 1025

    #2
    Were those two types really the primary strike assets? Mig-23B and other strike variants, including the MiG-27 were produced from 1971 onwards. Su-17 was produced from 1969 onwards, until 1988. Mig-27 was produced, for Russian needs, until 1985 or so. According to take off magazine lists.

    There were in total some 1200 Su-24 produced (including those for export)
    1644 Mig-23 (strike variants) and MiG-27 produced (including export ones but without the ones for India/built in India)
    1705 su-17 produced. That's russian variants as su-20/22 were for export. Another 1150 Su-20/22s were produced for export.

    As far as I know, MiG-27 never had IFR in Russian service. Iraqis added IFR on their airframes on their own. Not sure about Indians. IFR on Su-24 was also a fairly late feature, on M variant. Certainly not entering service before 1982/83 and were in minority (of total Su-24 fleet) until late 1980s.

    Primary means of survival in my opinion was, as with any air force of the time, mission planning, route planning, the fact enemy fighters can't be in the air 24/7 everywhere and terrain masking. Basically, I don't believe most of their missions were meant to go much beyond the frontline. Flying low meant they wouldn't have been detected (in most situations) until 20-ish km away from the frontline. That's by various tactical AD radars. The big radars would have likely been neutralized in numbers. AWACS wasn't much of a factor. We had instances in 1999, by modernized variants compared to Cold War, where they detected Serbian low flying planes against the clutter just several tens of km away. They couldn't have been much of an asset for detecting low fliers in mid 1980s either. Even if NATO did plan to use them for 24/7 defensive surveillance.

    Their defense was primarily not being detected and when detected, getting the hell out before any interceptors managed to arrive to the area. I'm sure SOME missions (bombing NATO airfields in western germany?) did require longer range, but we're still talking about depth of some 300 km (western germany width) plus whatever they had to cross from their bases in Poland and Czech Republic. Fighter MiG-23s, for all their short range, should still have been able to accompany them on such missions as they basically had the same range with their a2a loads as MiG-27s with their a2g loads. Su-24s had some more range, but not much. Perhaps 15%.

    I don't believe Soviet doctrine prescribed deep strikes at all. Even NATO didn't really believe they could pull it off. Fighter escort or no fighter escort. The reason NATO planes had greater range and IFRs was so they could operate from bases farther away from the front. From UK, Italy, France, etc.

    Comment

    • nastle
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Feb 2005
      • 542

      #3
      Originally posted by totoro View Post
      Were those two types really the primary strike assets? Mig-23B and other strike variants, including the MiG-27 were produced from 1971 onwards. Su-17 was produced from 1969 onwards, until 1988. Mig-27 was produced, for Russian needs, until 1985 or so. According to take off magazine lists.

      There were in total some 1200 Su-24 produced (including those for export)
      1644 Mig-23 (strike variants) and MiG-27 produced (including export ones but without the ones for India/built in India)
      1705 su-17 produced. That's russian variants as su-20/22 were for export. Another 1150 Su-20/22s were produced for export.

      As far as I know, MiG-27 never had IFR in Russian service. Iraqis added IFR on their airframes on their own. Not sure about Indians. IFR on Su-24 was also a fairly late feature, on M variant. Certainly not entering service before 1982/83 and were in minority (of total Su-24 fleet) until late 1980s.

      Primary means of survival in my opinion was, as with any air force of the time, mission planning, route planning, the fact enemy fighters can't be in the air 24/7 everywhere and terrain masking. Basically, I don't believe most of their missions were meant to go much beyond the frontline. Flying low meant they wouldn't have been detected (in most situations) until 20-ish km away from the frontline. That's by various tactical AD radars. The big radars would have likely been neutralized in numbers. AWACS wasn't much of a factor. We had instances in 1999, by modernized variants compared to Cold War, where they detected Serbian low flying planes against the clutter just several tens of km away. They couldn't have been much of an asset for detecting low fliers in mid 1980s either. Even if NATO did plan to use them for 24/7 defensive surveillance.

      Their defense was primarily not being detected and when detected, getting the hell out before any interceptors managed to arrive to the area. I'm sure SOME missions (bombing NATO airfields in western germany?) did require longer range, but we're still talking about depth of some 300 km (western germany width) plus whatever they had to cross from their bases in Poland and Czech Republic. Fighter MiG-23s, for all their short range, should still have been able to accompany them on such missions as they basically had the same range with their a2a loads as MiG-27s with their a2g loads. Su-24s had some more range, but not much. Perhaps 15%.

      I don't believe Soviet doctrine prescribed deep strikes at all. Even NATO didn't really believe they could pull it off. Fighter escort or no fighter escort. The reason NATO planes had greater range and IFRs was so they could operate from bases farther away from the front. From UK, Italy, France, etc.
      thanks
      did the su-24/mig-27 have any onboard jamming equipment ? and or chaff/flares?

      Also would the su-24 be able to beat the performance of an F-4 at low level in clean configration ? as su24 could maintain mach 1.2 i think at low level for prolonged periods

      Comment

      • totoro
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Apr 2006
        • 1025

        #4
        Yeah, the later variants, from 1980s onwards had both jammers and chaff /flares. Earlier ones just had decoys.

        As for F-4, who's to say. If F-4 actually had to fly just as low to engage (which probably would not have been the case) then they both have similar top speed at around mach 1.3 when absolutely clean. Su-24 is probably a bit faster, if it jettisons the payload, vs a f-4 which has to have some missiles to pursue.

        Comment

        • nastle
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Feb 2005
          • 542

          #5
          Originally posted by totoro View Post
          Yeah, the later variants, from 1980s onwards had both jammers and chaff /flares. Earlier ones just had decoys.

          As for F-4, who's to say. If F-4 actually had to fly just as low to engage (which probably would not have been the case) then they both have similar top speed at around mach 1.3 when absolutely clean. Su-24 is probably a bit faster, if it jettisons the payload, vs a f-4 which has to have some missiles to pursue.
          the AIM-7F carried by most F-4 then would be
          1-limited in range at low level vs at high level
          2- would be less effective as F-4 radar not at good as F14/15 radar against ground clutter

          so I'm thinking su-24 has a better chance vs teen series fighters

          Comment

          • djcross
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Jan 2000
            • 5436

            #6
            I don't think MiG-27 or SU-24 were intended to be used outside the protective umbrella of the Tank Army's SAMs. The MiG/SU combat radius allowed them to cover wide swaths of the front from distant bases, to blast gaps in NATO defenses for the Tank Army to exploit.

            Comment

            • nastle
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Feb 2005
              • 542

              #7
              Originally posted by djcross View Post
              I don't think MiG-27 or SU-24 were intended to be used outside the protective umbrella of the Tank Army's SAMs. The MiG/SU combat radius allowed them to cover wide swaths of the front from distant bases, to blast gaps in NATO defenses for the Tank Army to exploit.
              You mean su24 was meant to operate under SAM umbrella of static defences ? That means a very short combat radius of 100km

              Comment

              • djcross
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Jan 2000
                • 5436

                #8
                The SAM umbrella moved with the tank armies as they advanced. Su-24s could be flown from bases beyond the range of NATO fighter bombers and cover the entirety of the front from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. SU-24 is a very flexible weapon system due to its range.

                Comment

                • nastle
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Feb 2005
                  • 542

                  #9
                  Originally posted by djcross View Post
                  The SAM umbrella moved with the tank armies as they advanced. Su-24s could be flown from bases beyond the range of NATO fighter bombers and cover the entirety of the front from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. SU-24 is a very flexible weapon system due to its range.
                  So assuming the front is static , then how deep can su24 penetrate for strikes ? Because going any further than 100km would put them outside the range of SAM and most enemy airbases ( fencers main targets ) may be much farther and deeper

                  Comment

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