In the wake of the shooting down of a Russian fighter plane by Turkey on 24 November, Russia has now for the first time, ordered its Su-34 fighter-bombers operating in Syria to be additionally equipped with air-to-air missiles.
The Su-34 is known as Fallback in NATO terminology and derives from the Su-27 Flanker. It is a versatile, multi-purpose, all-weather strike aircraft fitted with electronic warfare gear and useful of reconnaisance too.
Accoring to Igor Klimov, a spokesman for the Russian Air Force, "Today, Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers have made their first sortie equipped not only with high explosive aviation bombs and hollow charge bombs, but also with short- and medium-range air-to-air missiles." "The planes are equipped with missiles for defensive purposes," he added, as reported by RT.com.
The missiles have target-seeking devices and are "capable of hitting air targets within a 60km radius," Klimov said.
On Monday, a defiant Turkey's prime minister said that Ankara will not apologize for the incident at an important NATO meeting. "No Turkish prime minister or president will apologize ... for doing our duty," Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters after meeting NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, Reuters reported.
On Saturday last, President Vladimir Putin on Saturday had signed a decree imposing a package of economic sanctions against Turkey in retaliation for the downing of the Russian fighter plane. The measures include banning several Turkish organizations and the import of certain goods.