In recent days, news – derived from fresh picture evidence – has begun to circulate that some of Syria’s rarely-seen MiG-29 fighters have received a major combat systems upgrade.
The upgrade is a specifically a defensive one of Belarusian origin – an electronic countermeasure package designated ‘Talisman ADS’.
The system brings the defensive capabilities of Syria’s MiG-29s into the 21st Century of electronic countermeasures in regards to defeating hostile air-launched (AAM) and surface-launched (SAM) air interception missiles that use either radar or infrared homing as the basis of their guidance.
Furthermore, the Talisman ADS system has a data-link suite built into the defensive package to help considerably reduce the chance of a friendly-fire incident occurring in a beyond visual range (BVR) engagement using radar-guided missiles and also to help in confirming unknown aircraft as either hostile, neutral (civilian) or friendly as soon as the radar detects it – allowing maximum response time for a pilot.
Given that Syria’s MiG-29s are known to possess Fox-3 (active radar guided) missiles (namely, the Russian-made R-77), this granting them a modern offensive capability, the Talisman as a modern defensive package completes the overall set-up.
Despite the critical modernization upgrades acquired for Syria’s MiG-29s, the reality remains that the country’s MiG-29 fleet (the only 4th Generation aircraft it has in service) is still numerically inferior (considerably so too – with the greatest prewar estimate placed at just over 60 aircraft) compared to the modern air forces of neighboring rivals such as Israel and Turkey.