Russian SIGINT Aircraft Shot Down by Syria, Apparently Accidentally
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — A Russian IL-20 (NATO codename: Coot) has been shot down over or near Syria, according to press reports.
The aircraft, with a crew of 15, apparently was shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile. Russian officials have blamed Israel for the incident because the Israeli Air Force F-16s were striking targets in Syria at the time, with the Russian aircraft being destroyed in a “friendly-fire” engagement.
The Israeli Ministry of Defense said the F-16s had returned to Israeli airspace by the time the Coot was shot down.
The IL-20 is a four-engine turboprop signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft similar in appearance and role to the U.S. Navy’s EP-3E Orion electronic reconnaissance aircraft.