Dogfights Next? US Sends F-15 Jets To "Counter" Russian Air Force Over Syria

Tyler Durden's picture

When the Obama administration announced it would soon put 50 (er... 100 we guess, since soldiers generally have two feet) boots on the ground in Syria, the US media immediately asked the wrong set of questions. 

As we noted in “US Sends Troops To Syria: Here Are The Questions The Media Should Be Asking,” the Josh Earnest presser was nothing short of a joke, as the media peppered the Press Secretary with question after question about whether the President had gone back on his promise (made to the American people at least 16 times) to not put US ground troops into combat in Syria. 

Of course that completely misses the point. And here’s why: 

There have been boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq for years and indeed, the public seems to have forgotten that just five months ago, US commandos executed a raid in Syria that purportedly killed Islamic State’s “gas minister” (and yes, that’s just as absurd as it sounds).


Additionally, Washington has made no secret of the now defunct “train and equip” program for Syrian rebels - clearly, the American public hadn’t thought very hard about who was doing the on-the-ground “training.”


Finally, there’s no telling how many CIA operatives and black ops have been running around in Syria assisisting Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s proxy armies from the very beginning. 

Given that, there are two questions everyone should be asking: 1) how does Washington plan to explain to Ankara that the Pentagon is set to embed US ground troops with the YPG in Syria and fly sorties from Incirlik in support of those ground troops when Turkey is literally flying from the exact same airbase on the way to bombing the exact same YPG forces with whom the US is set to embed?, and 2) how does the US intend to make sure that Russia doesn't end up "accidentally" bombing US positions?

Well, one way to answer both of those questions is to send US dogfighters to Syria. The Daily Beast reports

The U.S. Air Force is deploying to Turkey up to a dozen jet fighters specializing in air-to-air combat—apparently to help protect other U.S. and allied jets from Russia’s own warplanes flying over Syria.


Officially, the deployment of F-15C Eagle twin-engine fighters to Incirlik, Turkey—which the Pentagon announced late last week—is meant to “ensure the safety” of America’s NATO allies, Laura Seal, a Defense Department spokesperson, told The Daily Beast.


That could mean that the single-seat F-15s and the eight air-to-air missiles they routinely carry will help the Turkish air force patrol Turkey’s border with Syria, intercepting Syrian planes and helicopters that periodically stray into Turkish territory.


But more likely, the F-15s will be escorting attack planes and bombers as they strike ISIS militants in close proximity to Syrian regime forces and the Russian warplanes that, since early October, have bombed ISIS and U.S.-backed rebels fighting the Syrian troops.

Well, kind of. We could always be wrong, but it seems unlikely that The Pentagon is going to send F-15s into battle against Russian fighter pilots in western Syria. What's pretty clearly going on here is that Washington is sending just enough air support to ensure that once the Russians and Iranians secure Syria's major cities in the west, the US has the capability to shoot down Russian jets should they threaten whatever the hell Washington's spec ops are trying to accomplish near Raqqa in conjunction with the YPG. Anyway, back to The Daily Beast:

Seal declined to discuss the deployment in detail, but hinted at its true purpose. “I didn’t say it wasn’t about Russia,” she said.


Russia’s air wing in western Syria is notable for including several Su-30 fighters that are primarily air-to-air fighters. The Su-30s’ arrival in Syria raised eyebrows, as Moscow insists its forces are only fighting ISIS, but ISIS has no aircraft of its own for the Su-30s to engage.


The F-15s the U.S. Air Force is sending to Turkey will be the first American warplanes in the region that are strictly aerial fighters. The other fighters, attack planes and bombers the Pentagon has deployed—including F-22s, F-16s, A-10s and B-1s—carry bombs and air-to-ground missiles and have focused on striking militants on the ground.


In stark contrast, the F-15s only carry air-to-air weaponry, and their pilots train exclusively for shooting down enemy warplanes. It’s worth noting that F-15Cs have never deployed to Afghanistan, nor did they participate in the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. The war in Syria is different.

And while that is indeed interesting, the following is nonsense: 

Incirlik and its growing contingent of warplanes is the key to a new northern strategy in the U.S. campaign against ISIS, an unnamed Pentagon official said on Oct. 30. “One of the principal things we will do to put pressure in the border area and into Syria is, quote, ‘thicken’ air operations in northern Syria.”


“That means we want a greater density of planes striking. We need a greater density of intelligence assets developing targets. You—the White House announced A-10s, which are already on the ground at Incirlik, and F-15s forthcoming on—in Incirlik, to help in the counter-ISIL campaign,” the official added, using another acronym for ISIS.

As we've said on too many occasions to count, if Washington and Ankara (both of which are flying from Incirlik) were that concerned about ISIS in the "border area", then they wouldn't have explicitly forbidden the YPG from advancing on ISIS west of the Euphrates. 

In the final analysis, Washington has absolutely no idea what's going to happen now that i) the PKK has suffered a bitter electoral defeat at the hands of Erdogan in Turkey, and ii) it's just a matter of time before Hezbollah advances on Raqqa supported by Russian warplanes and so, the Pentagon is sending in the dogfighters to make sure that in case something goes horribly wrong, the US can shoot down whoever happens to be in the sky before the "50" spec ops get bombed. 

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JustObserving's picture

US founded and funded ISIS blows up a Russian airliner and now US planes with air-to-air combat capabilities are sent to Turkey to challenge Putin.

WW III gets closer everyday even as gold swoons.  Every new day shows how much the Nobel Prize Winner deserved his Peace Prize.

Slomotrainwreck's picture

I've got 10 US fiat that says Russia wins this one.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Boris is 100 ruble to you 10 petrol dollar that NO ONE is win this one.

Spitzer's picture

The Russian SU 30sm's have 3D thrust vectoring and a tighter turning radius even for a bigger plane. Russia wins this one.

knukles's picture

Not like this is escalating anything, is it?
Wait....  Wasn't there a Peace Prize in here somewhere?  Oh yeah, I forgot.  Nothing promised has been delivered .... of a constructive nature.

Lost My Shorts's picture

Oh cummon knuks, be a patriot.  Syria is totally worth it.

philipat's picture

It's fortunate that they didn't send those nice new F-35's because that would have been good target practise for the Russian jets. Old  F-15's won't fare much better but they can at least turn quickly.

post turtle saver's picture

those "old F-15's" have an air-to-air combat record in service to all nations of 104 kills to 0 losses... half of those kills with the Israelis...

every camel humper in the Middle East knows that you do not fuck with the F-15... not unless you're in a big hurry to meet Allah...

Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

I take it the news blackout on Aleppo means the offensive was successful? Otherwise the regime in dc would have their parrots chanting 'FAIL' 24 hours a day.

strannick's picture

With a twisted psycho Fuck up like Mcain, and a fat Fuck chickenshit weasel like Breedlove calling the shots, what coukd go wrong? and can WW3 be far behind??

Tarshatha's picture

What the fuck is wrong with you americans and israelis.

War at ANY cost.

Dominus Ludificatio's picture

You along with all Russians and dissatisfied angry Americans are being played by ZH. This site is created by Russians to instigate people,that is why the stories are always negative to make you question your government. Russian propoganda is not any better than the American one but it is in your face all the time,

Volkodav's picture

as far as I know about, main is not started...

but out of touch 20 hour, get back contact soon

                    any big news will post at top best

Ghordius's picture

breaking news: Russian transport plane crashed in Africa

JoeSexPack's picture

Dogfighting is obsolete, missile range way too long to use guns. Serb's shot down stealth fighter with 60's USSR SAM.


F15's near Syria are excellent targets, like carriers in Persian Gulf.


USS Maine, Lusitania, Gulf of Tonkin, etc.


Beat goes on...

Billy the Poet's picture



That's quite Sonny, so nice of you to Cher it.

valjoux7750's picture

Thats what they said in vietnam too. The first f4 had no guns and they quickly found out that was a bad idea. Missiles have a stand off capability but you only have 8 or so. And if you get close enough they are useles too. As long as there are planes dogfighting will never be obsolete 

Bumpo's picture

Sorry, US, where's your party invitation again? Oh, that's right, YOU DON"T HAVE ONE

JohninMK's picture

Spot on.

The Russians are there legally.

The US/NATO are trespassing and becoming an increasing problem. The only reason for the F-15s is to provide top cover for the A-10s.

This could force the Syrians to declare their airspace as 'controlled'. An internationally accepted declaration of a no-fly zone by a sovereign state. If they do this it will be another Washington example of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

MiTasol's picture

Mate, we're talking about this century.

Whalley World's picture

Since they have not fought the Russians I would be puttin my $ on Putins crew

Rogue Trooper's picture

Upvoted you because I think you are right on that point.  However, they have not faced those Russkie pilots and their tier 1 kit/training since Korea in the fifties and that was a somewhat of a more even match.  As the Saudis have proven no amount of money and high tech kit is a substitute for basic competance. Time wili tell no doubt.

Disclaimer: This was, in no way, an endorsement of the USSA mid-east foreign policy. I'm frankly perpetually quite confiused and understand nothing more than the basic operation of,  and need to keep close, my AR collection.


Johnny Horscaulk's picture
Johnny Horscaulk (not verified) post turtle saver Nov 4, 2015 2:25 AM

They are outmoded, Grampa.

Nexus789's picture

Maybe so but russian pilots flying their own jets will not be such a pushover.

dicksburnt's picture

Mike Tyson had a perfect record and a plan..... then Buster Douglas punched him in the face

flapdoodle's picture

Remind me again, 104 kills against what?

valjoux7750's picture

Worth reapeating 104 -0.   The F-15 is the best proven dog fighter in the world. With the best trained pilots in the world.  And im in the red corner on this one. This changes things on the control of the skies deal. Should it come to that. 

TxExPat's picture

Unlike the pork barrel F-35's, the F-15's were designed during the cold war when there was an actual expection that they might have to fight some day, they may not be as "state of the art" as they once were, but they are pretty lethal... 

Kinda telling that we keep sending "older" planes (F-15/F-16's, Warthogs, B-52's, ac-130's etal) into combat zones rather than relying on our "newer" stuff...

lrdrvrZH's picture

There's more to dogfighting than a few statistics.


But heck, what do I know? I'm only flying planes for a living...

nscholten's picture

So are you flying as a fighter pilot or a bus driver?  So what is it that you know because you fly planes for a living?  Flying planes is surely not that difficult - I mean you can get a pilot license at what... 14?

DeadFred's picture

The F22s are clearly superior to the SU30s, the F-15s not so much. If they want to be sure to win they will need to send the F22s out on CAP instead of on bombing raids. But maybe being sure they win isn't their highest priority.

Johnny Horscaulk's picture
Johnny Horscaulk (not verified) DeadFred Nov 4, 2015 2:25 AM

Except for durability, firepower, and manueverability - youre right.

HenryHall's picture

The question though is not so much F-15 or F-22 versus SU-30. The question is more F-15 or F-22 versus S350 or S400.

duo's picture

Didn't you mean the F-22 vs the A321 or A350

mkkby's picture

No, he means the quality of the planes is not what's important.  The winner goes to the best avionics, missiles, electronic detection and counter measures.

Dog fighting IS OBSOLETE.  It's all electronics now.

jerry_theking_lawler's picture

It think this is the stratagy.  Send in your old fighters and if they are downed by Su30s or S300+ sams than  you have an 'excuse' for what happened and still retain faith that the F22 will be superior. If you send in F22 and it is downed....then there is no will show the weakness and more reason for others to jump on the Russian side.

valjoux7750's picture

Durability? A israeli f15  was hit by a SAM in one of their many conlicts. After recovery the plane from a death spin the pilot managed to fly it back safely to base. On inspection they could not believe the f15 made it back missing the entire left wing!! Seems durable to me

slammin_dude's picture

BFD, UPS pilot landed in Bagdad after a SAM strike missing it's wing too(was a 767 or 737 can't remember)....most of these planes are over built and can fly enough to land while missing big chunks

And i love the f15, but good luck evading the s400, or dogfighting once the russians have jammed all your radar....Russians figured out that missile tech is the future...USSA has been circle jerking on F35 for last 20 years....

OpTwoMistic's picture

 If they want to be sure to win they will need to send the F22s.


Win??  Win what?  There is no win.

DeadFred's picture

The F22s are clearly superior to the SU30s, the F-15s not so much. If they want to be sure to win they will need to send the F22s out on CAP instead of on bombing raids. But maybe being sure they win isn't their highest priority.

lakecity55's picture

Maybe Bath House wishes to sacrifice a few pilots to get it on with the Russians.

Hey, fighter jocks! You are being SET UP by your colorful Gay Commander.

If I was you, I'd call in sick.

BeansMcGreens's picture

Or get Dan Rather to type up some "please excuse little georgie w from flying today" notes.

Dan Rather, the man is like a little god of journalist. and his word counts.

Arnold's picture

If I had to go out, I'd love to be driving a hot rod .

Johnny Horscaulk's picture
Johnny Horscaulk (not verified) Spitzer Nov 4, 2015 3:23 AM

Ah but sending f15Cs is gonna be good for GDP.

moneylover3's picture

But,but,but Uncle Sam has F-35....!/S

flapdoodle's picture

What is more interesting than the Su30's are the MiG31s (likely MiG31BMs) hat Putin sent a couple of weeks ago.

These are not ground pounders, but rather are designed for air superiority. Multiple MiG31BMs network their sensors and work together as an distributed mini-AWACs against any threat - which is the same technique that will be used someday on the F35, ha ha.

Sounds like this was done to anticipate the move of the F15s into Incirlik.

Sound like Putin is a still a couple of moves ahead.

Dick Gazinia's picture

Those are interceptors. Not so good in a dogfight. 

flapdoodle's picture

They are basically all purpose AWACs assets meant to control an airspace, either handling things themselves if standoff missiles will work (supposedly 6 targets at a time) or coordinating other RuAF planes. These are not meant to dogfight, rather than to sit above the fray and detect anything that flies. They are *really* fast so they are not easy to get a jump on.