Russian Global Strike show of force in Syria.
On Jul. 5, Tu-95MS Bear strategic missile platforms conducted an air strike on ISIS targets the Russian MoD reported.
The Russia Air Force bombers, launched from Engels, near Saratov in the southwestern part of Russia and the base hosting Russian Long Range Aviation strategic bombers, and supported by Il-76/78 tankers and Su-30SM fighters, that provided air cover, attacked targets located on the border of the provinces of Hama and Homs, in Syria.
“As a result of the missile strike 3 large warehouses of weapons and ammunition, as well as a command post of terrorists near the town of Akerbat were destroyed. This was confirmed by data of objective control,” says the Russian MoD release, that also highlights the use, from 1,000 km, of the Kh-101 strategic air-launched LO (Low Observable) cruise missile.
The Raduga Kh-101 missile is believed to use a combination of inertial guidance and satellite navigation using the Russian GLONASS system, with opto-electronic flight correction system; it features a CEP (Circular Error Probable) of less than 30 feet.
This is not the first time the Russian bombers use the cruise missile (with a maximum range of 4,500 km) that can also be equipped with a nuclear warhead. On Nov. 17, 2015 the Russian Air Force launched 25 heavy bombers against ISIS ground targets in Syria, including 5 x Tu-160 Blackjack, carrying the then new Kh-101 cruise missiles. It was the combat debut for the Russian stealthy cruise missile.
Between Nov. 19 and 20, 2015 the Russian Air Force conducted a very long-range strike mission against IS targets in Syria that saw two Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers depart from the Kola Peninsula, skirt the airspace of Norway and the UK, fly over the Atlantic until Gibraltar, enter the Mediterranean sea and then eastbound towards Syria to launch the stealthy KH-101 cruise missiles. More recently, both on Nov. 17, 2016, and Feb. 17, 2017, Tu-95s (able to carry 8 Kh-101s) fired the LO cruise missiles against targets in Syria.
Interestingly, although not trackable online, the radio activity listened by radio hams and aviation enthusiasts on the HF frequencies used by the Russian strategic bombers could be a hint that some Bears (or Blackjacks) were airborne:
RuAF strategic AF sw net up with voice and W marker: Tu95/160 active?
— Latitude 67N SIGINT (@Sigint67n) July 5, 2017
At least two #RUAF bombers airborne
— Air Force Freak (@AlRFORCEFREAK) July 5, 2017
Image credit: Russia MoD