Russia used 34 air launched cruise missiles during the strike on the terrorist targets in Syria, Russian General Staff chief Gen. Valery Gerasimov said Tuesday. The members of the US-led coalition were informed about the operation in advance, he added.
“During a massive airstrike today, 14 important ISIL targets were destroyed by 34 air-launched cruise missiles. The targets destroyed include command posts that were used to coordinate ISIL activities in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, munition and supply depots in the northwestern part of Syria,” Gerasimov said.
“The Russian General Staff has developed a new plan of the air campaign [in Syria] which envisions deployment of 25 strategic bombers, eight Su-34 Fullback attack aircraft, and four Su-27 Flanker fighter jets,” Army General Valery Gerasimov said.
Ten imagery and signals intelligence spacecraft were deployed in order to improve the space intelligence capabilities in Syria, Russian General Staff chief Gen. Gerasimov said.
“Ten satellites are deployed. By redirecting several spacecraft and adjusting their orbit we now can photograph Syrian territory at required intervals,” he said.
The Islamic State militant’s ability to illegally export energy resources was severely hampered by Russian airstrikes, chief of Russian General Staff General Valery Gerasimov said.
The Russian air force just pulled off one of the biggest and most complex heavy bomber missions in modern history—sending no fewer than 25 Backfire, Bear, and Blackjack bombers on a coordinated, long-range air raid against alleged ISIS forces in Syria.
The Tuesday mission, which launched under the cover of darkness from a base in Ossetia in southern Russia, signalled a significant escalation of Moscow’s air war in Syria—and heralded the rebirth of Russian heavy bombersquadrons that once had withered from a lack of funding.
The operation is the first ever combat mission for the massive Tu-160 Blackjack bomber. Similar in their basic configuration to the American B-1 “Bone,” the larger four-engine swing-wing bombers can fly twice as fast as the speed of sound and carry some 40 tons of bombs and missiles in two internal bomb bays.
The smaller, twin-engine Tu-22M3 Backfires can lug more than 50,000 pounds of weapons – similar to the B-1. The huge turboprop Tu-95MS Bears have the smallest maximum load – more than 30,000 pounds – of Moscow’s bomber fleet.
Already flying missions over Syria, the Su-34 Fullbacks are among Russia’s most advanced fighter jets, combining a highly maneuverable design with powerful radars and other gear. The Su-27SMs are the latest members of Moscow’s Flanker fleet and the most recent upgrades incorporate technology used on the Su-35 Super Flanker.