Russian fighter jets and attack aircraft are to be armed with air-to-air missiles for their missions over Syria.

Su-34 'Fullback' bombers, en route to the conflict zone have for the first time been given additional weaponry according to a Russian Air Force spokesman.

Igor Klimov told Russia Today that: "Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers have made their first sortie equipped not only with high explosive aviation bombs and hollow charge bombs, but also with short and medium range air-to-air missiles," 

"The planes are equipped with missiles for defensive purposes," he added. The target seeking and acquiring weapons systems are capable of hitting targets 60 kilometres away.
 
 
It follows the downing of a Su-24 Fencer jet belonging to Russia by two Turkish F-16s after an alleged airspace violation. One of the two aircrew was shot by rebel fighters after ejecting from the stricken jet, the second was rescued in a Special Forces mission.
 
Turkish officials insist the Su-24 pilot and navigator were warned 10 times over the space of 5 minutes that they were violating the country's airspace. US defence sources say however that the incursion lasted a matter of seconds.
 
The Su-34 is a recent addition to the Russian Air Force, coming into service in 2014. A two-seat tactical fighter/bomber they have been used in the Syrian bombing campaign since October.
 
It's understood 14 of them are now based at Russia's Khmeimim Air Base in the Assad stronghold of Latakia.