“The plane’s radar is unable to register an attack by handheld anti-aircraft missiles like Stinger or Igla because their missiles are armed with passive self-homing warheads. The Igla has a maximum range of 3 kilometers (1.8 miles), which means that the Su-25’s pilot was flying low, apparently thinking that since he was over a de-escalation zone, he would not be attacked,” Sivkov said.
He hopes that the incident will make the Air Force command ramp up flight security over the de-escalation zones in Syria. Sivkov believes that the terrorists could have obtained MANPADs either on the black market or at seized arms depots in Syria or Iraq.
He added that the militants’ decision to kill the pilot instead of taking him prisoner after he bailed out will not go unanswered and that a series of retaliatory strikes by Russian and Syrian forces will follow.
The incident took place on territory controlled by the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham terror group amid an ongoing military operation conducted by Syrian forces.