Russia successfully tests new cruise missile launch system for strategic bombers

The first batch of new launchers will soon be delivered to Russia’s Defense Ministry

YEKATERINBURG, December 4. /TASS/. Russia has successfully tested a system to launch long-range cruise missiles directly from strategic aircraft’s weapons bays, the defense contractor Start, part of state hi-tech corporation Rostec, told TASS on Friday.

“The 9A-829K3 multi-position launcher is designed for suspending, transporting and launching long-range cruise missiles directly from a plane’s weapons bays,” the defense contractor said.

The tests were held for a month and a half in an environment close to real combat conditions. The first batch of these launchers will soon be delivered to Russia’s Defense Ministry.

The defense contractor Start is actively modernizing its testing and production facilities to successfully fulfil a large volume of contracts under the state defense procurement program, the company’s press office said.

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Russian aviation destroys three major oil facilities in Syria — General Staff

MOSCOW, November 19 /TASS/. Russian bombers on Thursday destroyed the headquarters of the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria; three major oil facilities and an oil pumping station, General Andrey Kartapolov, the head of the main operations directorate of the Russian Army General Staff, said on Thursday.

“The air strikes destroyed the headquarters, three depots with oil, lubricants and ammunition; a plant for the production of explosive devices; a command center, a workshop for the production and repairs of mortar launchers, three major oil facilities and an oil pumping station,” General Kartapolov said.

Russian aircraft on Thursday morning delivered the third massive strike at terrorists in Syria.  Tu-95MS strategic bombers made sorties on Thursday morning while long-range Tu-22M3 aircraft made sorties in daytime.

“Today at 09:00 Moscow Time, Russia’s Air Force delivered the third massive air strike at illegal armed formations on Syrian territory,” Kartapolov said.

“The air strikes have destroyed the headquarters, three depots with oil, lubricants and ammunition; a plant for the production of explosive devices; a command center, a workshop for the production and repairs of mortar launchers and an oil pumping station,” General Kartapolov said.

He said the attack at the facilities in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib took place between 09:00 and 09:20 Moscow Standard Time (06:00 and 06:20 GMT).

“The strikes were aimed at the depots with fuels and lubricants, a factory for manufacturing explosives, a command point and the Islamic State’s headquarters in the city of Idlib,” Gen Kartapolov said.

Besides, Tupolev Tu-160 and Tu-22M3 long-range aircraft destroyed 12 IS targets in the Syrian provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor. A squadron of Tu-22M3 bombers attacked six targets. The attack lasted from 16:40 to 17:30 Moscow time.

“The bombers hit the terrorists’ oil refineries, a munitions depot and a mortar repair and manufacturing facility in the Islamic State-controlled territories,” Kartapolov said.

The first two massive strikes of Russia’s aircraft at terrorists were delivered on November 17 and 18.

‘ISIL Killer’: Russia’s Tu-22M3 to Wipe Out Terrorist Targets in Syria

A Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber of the Russian Aerospace Forces during a combat flight to strike the Islamic State infrastructure facilities in Syria by OFAB-25-270 fragmentation high explosive bombs

The Tupolev Tu-95 (Bear) and Tupolev Tu-160 (Blackjack) strategic bombers might have grabbed the headlines following Russia’s massive airstrikes against ISIL in Syria, but it is actually the supersonic Tu-22M3 (Backfire C) that has been largely doing the work.

Just look at the numbers. On November 17, airstrike operations were conducted by 24 Tu-22M3s, as well as five Tu-160 and Tu-95MS.

Cruise missiles hit ISIS targets in Syria
Cruise missiles hit ISIS targets in Syria

A squadron of the Tu-22M3 bombers, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, targeted six facilities in the provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor destroying ISIL headquarters, ammunition depots, a plant where militants were making explosive devices, as well as well as a command center and three oil production sites.

The supersonic, variable-sweep wing Tu-22M3 is a long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber. The aircraft is the latest modification of the Backfire family in service with the Russian Armed Forces since 1989.

The bomb-door of the Tu-22 M3 missile-carrying bomber, the Russian aerospace forces, on its operational mission to deliver air strikes at ISIS targets in Syria
The bomb-door of the Tu-22 M3 missile-carrying bomber, the Russian aerospace forces, on its operational mission to deliver air strikes at ISIS targets in Syria

“When the Backfire was introduced into service, it caused a lot of concern within the US Navy because it is designed to carry a massive load of long-range anti-ship cruise missiles. The jet is fast – it has a top speed of Mach 1.88 and will easily sustain Mach 1.6 for extended periods – and carries 53,000lbs of weapons. Typically, that meant the Tu-22M3 could be carrying ten Raduga Kh-15 anti-ship missiles or three massive Raduga Kh-22 missiles – both of which can hit speeds of around Mach 5.0,” Defense analyst Dave Majumdar wrote for the National Interest.

The Tu-22M3 strategic bomber, designed by the Tupolev aerospace and defense company, is expected to be replaced by Russia’s stealthy fifth generation long-range bomber, dubbed the PAK DA, and the newest modification of the Tu-160.

“But that might not be the end of the road for the Backfire. There have been persistent rumors that China wants to buy the aircraft as part of its anti-access/area denial strategy,” the analyst observed.