This open source deduction is based upon the simultaneity of two reports:
While there is little value in a “scoop” of a few hours, it offers the open sourcer an opportunity to study the reactions of Russia and Turkey, as the fact of the encounter wends its way through the complicated apparatus of
- escalation or de-escalation
On October 6, Turkey reported that a group of F-16 fighters were subject to fire-control radar lockons. See also The Aviationist. This means that Turkish fighters, designated as targets by Russian computers, were “painted” with radar beams, the last step before firing antiaircraft missiles with passive radar trackers that home on the reflections. According to The Aviationist, this was not the first time.
The Ukraine incursion marked a new Russian policy of active intimidation, intended to impede NATO members, and friendly countries such as Sweden, from formation of a coherent alliance response. The Russians may have judged that effort successful. And if it worked against the heavyweights of the Western Alliance, why wouldn’t it work against a marginal power such as Turkey?
Turkish foreign policy has been notable for regional passivity. The radar lockons were intended to prevent the emergence of an active principle in Turkish foreign policy towards Syria. As jets have a large turning radius, the Russians thought the lockons would also provide a few more miles of airspace for maneuver.
The Russians were wrong. But the open source prediction is that little more will come from this, other than the possible loss of a few more jets on each side, and redeployment of Patriot batteries to Turkey.