Russia’s armed forces have transported 28 aircraft on large landing vessels to the port of Tartus and the Hmemeem airbase in Latakia. Very swiftly, the Nikolai Filchenkov, Novocherkassk, Minsk and Peresvet (New Light) moved these planes to the required destinations.. They are continuing combat duty in the Mediterranean alongside landing vessels Admiral Nevelsky, Alexander Shabalin and the destroyer Admiral Panteleev and the patrol ship Neustrashimy (Fearless). The group also includes the Moskva missile cruiser and the patrol ship Smetlivy (Sharpwitted). Three fast attack craft from Russia’s Caspian Sea Fleet; Uglich, Svijazhsk, and Veliky Ustyug; were used to successfully launch cruise missiles on terrorist positions from the Caspian Sea. The attack vessels launched 26 ‘Kalibr’-NK cruise missiles (still called the Russian Tomahawk), in almost a baptism by fire for the high-precision weapons and its first long-distance usage, with a range of over 1,500 kms. This will allow Russia to conduct military operations in remote theaters. More than 10 Russian naval vessels are patrolling the Caspian Sea. The Vasily Tatischev from the Baltic Fleet is gathering intelligence.
Aviation and high precision weapons
Russia has several different aircraft, from the older Su-24M bombers and Su-25 attack plans to the latest models. There are 28 military aircraft in the theatre, and two An-124 transporters.
Su-25. Source: AP
The Su-24M is among the most popular fighter aircraft, adopted in the USSR in 1975. It is still used by the Russian military and other countries. 12 of these aircraft are operating in Syria and 12 Su-25 attack planes have also been sent there. Four Su-30 fighters have also been sent to Syria. This is a 4+ generation fighter plane, capable of destroying land based equipment at night, during bad weather, and also carry out reconnaissance.
The latest tactical fighter-bomber is the Su-34, which has made its debut in the Syrian conflict. According to the Ministry of Defence, the Su-34 in Syria is equipped with the TKS-2M integrated communications system for “network centric operations”. The new systems enable the exchange of target coordinates between aircraft without ground command support. The Su-34 bomber can inform the attack group about the target coordinates with automatic output on electronic maps for other aircraft crews, without ground based command posts, so all group aircraft “know” the coordinates of the objective even if one aircraft finds the location. The system makes aviation operations more covert, as only one aircraft in the group needs to turn on radar to track a target.
A total of 15 helicopters are also being used in the Syria theatre. These include the Mi-17, for transportation and electromagnetic warfare, and the Mi-24 attack helicopter, which was used in Afghanistan.
Russia is using high precision weaponry during its attacks on Syrian territory. The airplanes are armed with the KAB-250 and KAB-500 bombs, which after being dropped from the aircraft, guided by military satellites. The radius of deviation from the target is no more than 5 metres. Ammunition has been found for guided anti-tank missiles the RBK-500-SPBE in Aleppo.
The Russian military has deployed the Krasukha-4 electronic warfare system, to suppress aircraft radar and combat drones in Syria. These are capable of sheltering the protected object from radar detection at distances of 150 to 300 kilometres, and also suppress AWACS aircraft and enemy electronic warfare devices. Krasukha-4 systems were adopted into service in 2012, and provided to troops from 2013.
Source: Vitaly Kuzmin/Wikipedia.org
Comparison of military characteristics of the ship based Caliber-NK and the Tomahawk:
|Tomahawk TLAM-E Block IV|
|Year accepted into service||2012||2002|
|Length (inc. launcher), m||8.1||6.25|
|Body diameter, mm||533||533|
|Wing size, m||3.3||2.67|
|Mass in flight (initial), kg||1320||1315|
|Size of warhead, kg||450||450|
|Nuclear warhead, kT||100-200||–|
|Flight speed, Mach||0.7||0.7|
|Range with warhead (conventional), km||Greater than 1500||1600|
|Range with warhead (nuclear), km||2600||–|