November 29 – Last week, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said that Tehran could allow Russia’s use of the Noje Airbase in Hamadan for the aerial campaign against terrorists in Syria if the situation demanded it.
If the situation and conditions [in Syria] demand to provide the support, we will do this job,” Dehghan said.
In an interview with Sputnik Persian, Hossein Sheikholeslam, an advi…ser to the Iranian foreign minister, commented on the possible option for the Russian Aerospace Forces at the Hamadan airfield. “I’d like to emphasize that Iran never gave to Russia full control over the Noje base in Hamadan. This airbase belongs to Iran and all activities at the base are controlled by Tehran,” Sheikholeslam said. In mid-August, Iran already allowed Russian jets to operate from a base in the Hamadan province. The jets returned to Russia a week later, after completing their counterterrorism mission, which targeted jihadists in Syria. According to Sheikholeslam, all operations by Russian aviation in Hamadan were controlled by Tehran. “Tehran never gave full control over the airfield to any foreign country. This would contradict the country’s constitution,” the adviser added.
The use of the Hamadan airfield by the Russian aviation in August was the first time when Iranian territory had been used by foreign military forces since 1946.
As for the possible use of the Hamadan airbase by Russia again, Sheikholeslam underscored that “if needed the issue will be agreed with Moscow.” “If the situation demands it, like it was in August, we’re ready to allow Russian warplanes to take off and refuel at this airfield,” he pointed out. The Russian Aerospace Forces may need to use the Hamadan airbase if the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft-carrying cruiser deployed to the Mediterranean is far from the Syrian coast and cannot be used for airstrikes, said Viktor Ozerov, head of the Defense and Security Committee of the upper house of the Russian parliament.
TEHRAN, November 14. /TASS/. The Russian air task force’s operation in Syria requires no use of Iranian airfields now, Head of the Defense and Security Committee in the Federation Council (the upper house of Russia’s parliament) Viktor Ozerov said on Monday.
“After we have ratified the agreement on our military air base in Syria, there is no need today to use in any degree Iranian air harbors,” the senator said.
It is possible, however, to return to the issue of using Iranian aerodromes, if the situation changes, he noted.
“Today, there is no such need,” the senator said.
August 30 – Iranian presidential adviser called for Russia using the Iranian air base of Hamadan to fight terrorism in Syria. Senior Iranian presidential adviser Ali Younesi called Tuesday for Russia using the Iranian air base of Hamadan to fight terrorism in Syria. “I consider this military cooperation which is carried out to counter the threat of terrorism important, strategic and essential… I am a I am a staunch advocate of this cooperation and hope that this cooperation is correct,” Younesi said answering a question on Russia using the base to fight terrorism.
Russia deployed Tupolev Tu-22M3 supersonic long-range strategic bombers to the Hamadan airfield in Iran to cut flight times, increase bomb capacity and improve response capabilities of its aircraft taking part in the operation to liberate Aleppo since the outcome of this battle could well determine the future of Syria.
The Tu-22M3 deployment “does not merely help to save time and fuel,” Svobodnaya Pressa reported. “Missions launched from the Hamadan airfield allow Russian aircraft to significantly increase bomb capacity of each plane.” They are estimated to be capable of carrying three times greater payload.
On August 15, an undisclosed number of the Tupolev Tu-22M3s and the Sukhoi Su-34s left the airfield in the Russian town of Mozdok located in the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania and landed at the Hamadan airfield in Iran.
Some have questioned why the Tu-22M3s bombers were not deployed to Hmeymim since the Russian airbase in Syria is closer to Aleppo then Hamadan. The reason is simple. The Tu-22M3s are too heavy to use the airstrip in Hmeymim. But the base played a major part in the latest counterterrorism offensive. The Su-30SM and Su-35S aircraft that provided cover for the Russian bombers deployed to Iran took off from the base in Syria.This tactic paid off. On August 16, Russian airstrikes destroyed five large ammunition depots with weapons, munitions and fuel, as well as militant training camps near the cities of Serakab, Al-Ghab, Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor cities. In addition, Russian bombers razed to the ground three command and control centers near the cities of Jafra and Deir ez-Zor. A “significant number of militants” were killed in what the Russian Defense Ministry described as a “concentrated airstrike.”
These facilities, the ministry added, were used to support and assist radical groups fighting near Aleppo.
“The Russian Armed Forces have never carried out such a major and well-coordinated operation in terms of timing, multiple fronts and targets,” the media outlet observed.
Defense analyst Anatoly Nesmiyan told Svobodnaya Pressa that the decision to deploy bombers to the Hamadan air base could have been made “in response to Iran’s discontent with the situation around Aleppo.”
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah, he added, were not happy that air cover did not arrive as fast as they needed it. “Perhaps, Iran allowed Russia to use its air base under condition that Russian aircraft will focus more on bombing rebel-held areas in Aleppo.”
Nesmiyan emphasized that Russian planes have long been active in the region, but they could not respond fast to militant offensives.The analyst mentioned several challenges that the Russian-led counterterrorism coalition has faced. For instance, cooperation between Russian, Syrian and Iranian troops has not been fully established. “In addition, there are not enough planes at Hmeymim to strike all targets,” he added.
Defense analyst Andrey Frolov, the editor-in-chief of Arms Export magazine, also pointed to time as the main issue behind the decision to send Russian bombers to Iran. He also mentioned several reasons behind the Tu-22M3 deployment.
Firstly, it helps “to drastically cut flight time and response time to militant activities,” he said. “Using Hamadan also helps to increase bomb capacity. In addition, the Tu-22M3s could be used in the same way as the US employed the B-1B Lancers in their recent campaigns, for direct fire support operations.”
Svobodnaya Pressa also pointed out that the Tu-22M3 deployment was part of a larger change in the strategic landscape with regard to the Syrian battlefield.On August 12, the Zelenyy Dol and Serpukhov corvettes carrying eight Kalibr-NK cruise missiles left Sevastopol heading for Syrian shores. Meanwhile, a surface action group, comprising the Tatarstan and Dagestan frigates, as well as the Grad Sviyazhsk and Velikiy Ustyug corvettes, was deployed to the Caspian Sea. These ships were carrying a total of 24 Kalibr-NK cruise missiles.
On August 16, 2016, Tu-22M3 long-range bombers and Su-34 tactical bombers took off from the “Hamedan” airbase (the Islamic Republic of Iran) and carried out a concentrated airstrike on objects of the ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groupings in the provinces of Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor and Idlib.
As a result, the strikes have eliminated 5 large ammunition depots with armament, munitions and fuel, training camps of militants near Serakab, Al-Ghab, Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor cities, 3 control centres of militants near the cities Jafra and Deir ez-Zor as well as a significant number of militants.
Ammunition depots, training camps and control centres destroyed by the bombing had been used for support of militant groupings near Aleppo.
Su-30SM and Su-35S, which had taken off from the Hmeymim airbase, covered the long-range bombers.
All Russian aircraft have returned to the airfield after accomplishing the combat task.