Defense Ministry Trolls US Over Comments on Russian ‘Recklessness’ in Syria

Russian tactical group seen at Hmeymim aerodrome in Syria

Responding to recent commentary by a US army spokesman that Russia has been “reckless” and “indiscriminate” in its campaign of airstrikes in Syria, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov countered by noting that Russia is using its most advanced munitions and targeting systems, and releasing the footage from missions for the public to see.

Last week, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman US Army Col. Steve Warren slammed the Russian operation, telling reporters via a teleconference from Baghdad that “the Russians have been indiscriminate” and “reckless in Syria…dropping cluster munitions around where civilians may be.”

Warren went so far as to suggest that Russia does “not appear to be interested in defeating [the Islamic State],” and that the Russian operation is “interested [only] in preserving the Assad regime.”

Responding to Warren’s comments Thursday in a statement issued on the Defense Ministry’s Facebook page, Konashenkov suggested that Col. Warren should pay closer attention to the ministry’s briefings.

“In the course of our briefings, I have repeatedly emphasized for representatives of the media that the targeting systems of our planes in Syria are state-the-art, allowing, figuratively speaking, to get a rock dropped from a great height to hit a shovel handle. And we use our special ammunition only for the relevant terrorist targets.”

“Furthermore,” Konashenkov noted, “unlike the Colonel, we do not just talk, but also provide the public with video materials of our airstrikes, since it’s better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.”

“As far as Col. Warren’s commentary about ISIL terrorists’ ‘maneuvering’, following our airstrikes, what is there to add, really? Apparently, after bombings by US planes, the terrorists just stand where they are, spellbound, applauding and shout ‘Encore!’…Perhaps this explains why, after a year of bombing by US aircraft, ISIL terrorists have managed to capture and maintain control over the good chunk of Syria.”

India to Upgrade Fleet of Russian-Made Ilyushin Aircraft

An Ilyushin 76 airplane during demo flights at the Russian stage of the Aviadarts-2015 Flight Skills Competition in Voronezh


The Indian Defense Ministry on Thursday cleared a proposal to upgrade the country’s fleet of Russian-made Ilyushin Il-76 transport planes and Il-78 aerial tankers, The Times of India said.

 The decision, adopted by the ministry’s Defense Acquisitions Council (DAC), comes shortly before Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar departs on visit to Russia on Friday, the newspaper said.

According to the Times of India, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has 14 IL-76 transport aircraft, three Israeli Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) mounted on IL-76s and six IL-78 mid-air refuellers.

“There are also three IL-76s deployed with the Aviation Research Centre, which are also operated by the IAF,” the paper said.

According to the deal worth of 42.5 billion of rupees ($650 million at current exchange rates), the Indian Ilyushin aircraft would be equipped with new engines and avionics. The Indian side expects this contract would extend the service life of the aircraft for another 20 years.

Russia and India have for decades been close partners in military and technical cooperation. The countries collaborate in science and medicine, as well as infrastructure construction and nuclear energy.

In 2014, the total value of weapons and military hardware delivered by Russia to India reached $4.7 billion, according to Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation estimates.

Indian Military to Procure 149 Russia-Licensed BMP-2 Combat Vehicles

The Suvorov Onslaught competition of BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles. Day Two


The Indian Defense Ministry on Thursday approved the acquisition of 149 BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles to be built in the country under license from Russia, The Times of India reported.

   The decision, adopted by the ministry’s Defense Acquisitions Council (DAC), comes shortly before Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar departs on visit to Russia on Friday, the newspaper said.

India is set to spend over $140 million to acquire new army vehicles, according to the newspaper.
A potential contract for 149 BMP-2 stipulates the licensed assembly of military vehicles directly in India at the facilities of one of the plants of the Ordnance Factory Board, a state holding company for the production of ammunition, weapons and vehicles.

The details of the contract are due to be discussed during Parrikar’s visit to Moscow, the media outlet reported, citing an Indian military source.

According to the IHS Jane’s defense journal, the Indian Army operates 1,000-1,200 license-built BMP-2/2K infantry combat vehicles.s

Venezuela to Spend $480Mln on Russian Sukhoi Jet Upgrade

Su-34 strike fighter


Venezuela will allocate $480 million to upgrade its Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jets, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said.

  Last month, Maduro announced that Venezuela would purchase at least 12 Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia.

“The president [Nicolas Maduro] just authorized [the payment] of $480 million so that the service life of our Sukhoi planes… so they could continue to fulfill or give protection to the Venezuelan airspace,” the minister said on Thursday.

Russia’s military cooperation with Latin American nations, including Venezuela, started to take off in 2014 with deals on high-tech arms sales and the construction of naval facilities.

Venezuela is expected to become the second largest importer of Russian weapons and military equipment between 2012 and 2015, with purchasing contracts worth $3.2 billion, according to the Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade.

Russia’s MIG corporation warns it may suspend servicing Bulgarian fighters

SOFIA, October 28. /TASS/. Russian aircraft manufacturing corporation MIG has warned Bulgaria it may suspend the servicing of Bulgarian MIG-29 fighter jets, as follows from a letter the MIG Director General, Yuri Korotkov, has sent to the Russian ambassador in Sofia, Yuri Issakov.

The warning follows a long dispute over Bulgaria’s plans to do repairs and technology upgrades of the MIGs of Russian manufacture at enterprises in Poland that were formalized in an agreement the Bulgarian and Polish Defense Ministers signed Nikolay Nenchev and Tomasz Siemoniak signed on October 22.

“This is Bulgaria’s bid for closer integration within the EU and NATO,” the Bulgarian minister remarked,” Nenchev said after the signing ceremony in Warsaw.

“To Bulgaria, this is a geo-strategic choice, not just a selection of a partner,” Siemoniak said on his part. “Our joint cooperation within the EU and NATO acquires new quality. We evaluate highly the bold decision and the brave approach of Minister Nikolay Nenchev; a bold decision of the government, which is highly important.”

In his letter, Sergey Korotkov warned that repairs of engines installed on the Bulgarian jets at Polish plans would lay grounds for a termination of contract obligations by MIG corporation, the developer and manufacturer of the MIG-29 fighter jets, in what concerns their maintenance and servicing in Bulgaria.

“The terms offered by MIG are quite lucrative for Bulgaria economically,” Korotkov said. “While Poland is ready to extend the service life of the engines for 1.023 million euro, our corporation would do this for 1.050 million euro.”

“Along with it, Russia will issue a warranty for 500 flight hours versus the 350 hours warrantied by Poland,” the letter said. “That means by Bulgarian Air Force will have to make payments to Poland twice as often.”

“Although this incident (the signing of the Bulgarian-Polish agreement TASS) causes deep regret, we proceed from the centuries-old friendship between Russia and Bulgaria and continue hoping that cooperation based on the norms of international law will continue,” Korotkov said.

Bulgarian parliament is expected to ratify the agreement on the MIG-29’s in the coming few days.

Iran to withdraw lawsuit against Russia when missile system contract is signed — exporter

© TASS/Vitaliy Nevar

“The Iranian side will withdraw its lawsuit as soon as the contact takes effect and we are in full compliance with our liabilities,” Isaikin told a news briefing in reply to media questions.

US to Intensify Anti-ISIL Campaign to Counterbalance Russia, Iran

Russian aircraft at Hmeymim Air Base in Syria

The United States has decided to intensify military efforts against the Islamic State in response to Russia’s air campaign and to counter Russian and Iranian influence in the Middle East, former Pentagon official Steven Bucci told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the United States was bolstering efforts to fight the Islamic State a day after reports surfaced that the Pentagon was considering embedding US Special Forces with local units in Iraq and Syria.

“There is concern that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s support of Iranian policy objectives will destabilize the region, and therefore needs to be counterbalanced,” Bucci said on Tuesday.

Russia’s more robust military action, which is primarily intended to support Syrian President Bashar Assad, Bucci claimed, has nevertheless left President Obama’s anti-Islamic State policy looking less than effective.

“There is no doubt that the Russian actions have influenced this decision.”

The fact the United States, Bucci added, has spent a lot of time and effort replacing the Soviet Union, which is now Russia, as the major influencer in the Middle East is another contributing factor.

On September 30, Russia began an air campaign against Islamic State terrorists in Syria at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq have established the Baghdad Information Center in the Iraqi capital to coordinate intelligence and security cooperation against the Islamic State.