Naval Sukhoi Su-24M to get SVP-24 Gefest sighting system

Naval frontline Su-24M Fencer bombers are being equipped with SVP-24 Gefest system which was tested by Russian aircraft in Syria. Su-24Ms of the 43rd naval air regiment in Crimea were the first to receive the system which allows unguided weapons to hit small targets. Experts believe the pilots will be able to interact with the Ground Forces, commandos and Airborne Forces, the Izvestia daily writes.

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Naval Sukhoi Su 24M to get SVP 24 Gefest sighting system

Sukhoi Su-24M Fencer (Picture source: Wikimedia/Alex Beltyukov)

Russian Defense Ministry sources said the naval aviation is equipping its Su-24M with modern navigational sights. SVP-24 Gefest helps attack both ground and sea targets. The sight increases strike precision of unguided weapons several times. The Black Sea Fleet was the first to get the system early this year. The Baltic and Northern fleets will follow suit. Upgraded Su-24M of the Black Sea Fleet will participate in the Caucasus-2020 strategic exercise in September.

Gefest was initially installed on bombers and attack aircraft of the Aerospace Forces. Naval aviation Commander Major-General Igor Kozhin said three years ago that the Navy would receive close to a hundred upgraded airplanes and helicopters by 2020, including SM-24M with Gefest. "Su-24 is an old aircraft," former Commander of the 4th air force and defense army Hero of Russia Valery Gorbenko said. "The upgraded Su-24M had better sight than the basic option. Upgraded navigational equipment helps it rapidly approach the target," he said.

Bombers with SVP-24 excellently performed in Syria, he added. "Previously, Su-24M could considerably deviate from the target. The new equipment will increase bomb precision. The mission will be accomplished by fewer aircraft and smaller rounds of munitions. Another advantage is that air controllers can automatically provide guidance and computers will do the job without human interference," Gorbenko said.

SVP-24 computer system was accepted into service in 2008. Its successful performance in Syria accelerated its introduction in the Aerospace Forces. Most Su-24M bombers in Syria were equipped with the sight. The Russian military praised SVP-24. The Defense Ministry said the system increased strike precision to the level of guided weapons. Su-24M hit precision increased over three times. Bombs deviate dozens of meters from the target if released from an altitude of six kilometers.

The new system constantly monitors target and aircraft coordinates and calculates bomb release parameters. It automatically makes adjustments according to the wind, temperature and aircraft maneuvers. The command to fire is issued in exactly calculated time. There were cases when single unguided bombs destroyed pinpoint targets, such as buildings, tanks and vehicles.

Besides Su-24M, SVP-24 is installed on Su-25SM3, long-range Tu-22M3 bombers and other aircraft. Some naval Su-33 have been equipped with the sights. SVP-24 interacts with Strelets reconnaissance and communication system. Naval bombers with Gefest can directly interact with ground forces and commandos due to it.

"The naval aviation has four Mi-24M squadrons," expert Dmitry Boltenkov said. "One is in the 43rd naval assault regiment in Saki in Crimea and another one is in the 4th regiment in Chernyakhovsk in Kaliningrad region. Two other squadrons are subordinated to the 98th combined air regiment deployed in Monchegorsk in Murmansk region," he said.

The 43rd naval air regiment in Crimea was the first to receive Su-24M with Gefest. Until 2014, Ukraine prohibited modernization of the regiment and it remained the last unit armed with outdated Su-24. They were replaced by Su-24M. The regiment received a squadron of multirole Su-30SM fighter jets. They can down air targets and strike at warships with guided weapons.

The last Su-24 aircraft left the regiment in 2016. The rearmament with Su-24M with Gefest will increase combat effectiveness and firepower. It will be possible to integrate naval aircraft into modern control systems, the Izvestia said.

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