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Russian Air Campaign Over Syria - ORBAT

Mi-17 Hip 2+transport
Mi-24 Hind 12+gunship
Su-2412precision strike
Su-27 4air-to-air
Su-27SM3 squadronprecision strike
Su-344-8precision strike
Tu-22M ?strike
Tu-95 ?strike
Tu-160 ?strike
28 as of 21 September 2015
50 as of 01 October 2015
87 as of 17 November 2015
Russia sent aircraft and other military equipment into Syria in an apparent effort to support President Bashar al-Assad's regime. By 22 September 2015 Moscow has already deployed 28 planes, and planned to send 2,000 military personnel for bases in Latakia. By one early report, Russia sent 12 SU-24 attack aircraft, 12 SU-25 ground attack aircraft and four Flanker fighter jets. In addition to the Su-24, Russia also operated Su-34s and Su-30SMs in Syrian airspace.

Russias Air Force fleet in Syria included over 50 warplanes and helicopters, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry said 01 October 2015. USA Today reported 25 October 2015 that Russian warplanes sent to Syria to back the regime of Bashar Assad were breaking down at a rapid rate that appears to be affecting their ability to strike targets, according to a senior Defense official. Nearly one-third of Russian attack planes and half of its transport aircraft were grounded at any time as the harsh, desert conditions take a toll on equipment and crews.

David Deptula, a retired three-star Air Force general who led planning for the air war in Operation Desert Storm, said the rates for American fighters in combat zones has been above 90%. The readiness rate of 70% for Russian fighters isn't surprising, he said, because they lack experience being deployed and have been flying their jets hard.

Russia deployed 37 new aircraft to carry out airstrikes after security officials said the passenger plane that crashed over Egypts Sinai on 31 October 2015 was caused by a bomb. Russian forces in Syria will be strengthened with advanced 37 aircraft, including eight Su-34 (Fullback) strike fighters and four Su-27 fighter jets.

Russian news footage from October 2015 showed a Sukhoi Su-34 strike fighter (NATO reporting name: Fullback) carrying what appeared to be a KAB-500S precision guided munition (PGM). Despite fielding quantities of other KAB-500 series PGMs (including the KAB-500Kr, KAB-500-OD, and KAB-500L), the Russian Ministry of Defence was believed to have rejected the purchase of the KAB-500S due to its high cost, and the adoption of modernised targeting systems which increase the accuracy of unguided munitions.

The KAB-500S bomb is homed automatically in accordance with coordinates appointed before the drop. A pilot marks a target with a kind of a black spot, and after dropping the bomb moves toward it. The bombs CEP is 5-10 meters, dropping range (except for an engine-propelled variant) is 6-8 km.

Today, for the first time Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber aircraft went on a mission carrying not only aerial bombs OFAB-500 and guided aerial bombs KAB-500, but with short and medium range air-to-air missiles, Russian air force spokesman Col. Igor Klimov told the Russian state-owned media outlet Sputnik on 30 November 2015.

As of 08 December 2015 only six Su-34 jets were stationed at the Russian airbase in Latakia in Syria, while the overall number of other Sukhoi strike airplanes had increased up to 24.

Major General Alexei Maksimtsev, Commander of the Russia Air Force Unit at the Hmeymim air base, reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a 20 November 2015 Defense Ministry briefing " ... the air force unit was augmented with eight Su-34 bombers and a squadron of Su-27SM3 jet fighters which were involved in destroying targets in the provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor".

Russias air group involved in the anti-terrorist operation in Syria has been reinforced by eight Su-34 warplanes and a flight of Su-27SM3 aircraft, Alexey Maksimtsev, the commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces group based at the Hmeymim aerodrome in Syria, reported to President Vladimir Putin 30 November 2015.

The head of the State Duma Foreign Relations Committee believed the capabilities of the Russian Air Force demonstrated in the anti-terrorist operation in Syria have come as a shock to the US and NATO. It is one thing when you are informed in advance about a planned military operation, and its a completely different thing when you see the operation as it is unfolding. I am convinced that the combat and operational abilities demonstrated by Russia have come as a shock to the United States, Aleksey Pushkov said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta 24 December 2015. They used to think that only the United States and NATO could wage such a large-scale airstrike war, he added.

The Russian armed forces began to withdraw their troops from Syria following the surprise announcement by President Vladimir Putin on 14 March 2016 that Moscow was to pull out the majority of its forces involved in the Syrian campaign. The group of Russian aerospace forces in the region would be greatly reduced, but the operation that Moscow claims is directed against militants from Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front will continue. Of the 60 fighters and bombers, more than half will be withdrawn, maybe two thirds. At the same time, the number of troops in Syria will be reduced only slightly; this is necessary to ensure the safety of the permanent Russian military bases at the Khmeimim airfield and the port of Tartus.

By March 18, 2016 Russia had removed most of its strike aircraft from Syria and curtailed airstrikes there this week, according to a U.S. military official. "The majority, if not all, of their strike aircraft have left," Colonel Pat Ryder, a spokesman for the U.S. military's Central Command that oversees operations in the Middle East, told Pentagon reporters. Ryder said the Russian military still had helicopters and transport aircraft in Syria, along with ground forces.

In early June 2016 Russia increased dramatically both the rate and breadth of its airstrikes in Syria, tripling the number of air raids within a few days and demonstrating its freedom of action in the war-torn country, according to an analysis by a US-based think tank. The escalation marks a dangerous shift in the Russian airstrike pattern to levels only seen prior to the brokering of the cessation of hostilities agreement in late February, said Genevieve Casagrande, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War said 07 June 2016.

Russia's March 206 announcement that it was withdrawing most of its air force from Syria proved deceptive. The war planes that were sent home were quickly replaced by assault helicopters. Since the collapse of the Syrian cease-fire in September 2016, an increasing number of jets were sent to Khmeimim, Russia's air base near besieged Aleppo -- and they were capable of carrying a greater payload and of flying more sorties.

Nearly 5,000 Russians voted in the countrys parliamentary election from the territory of Syria, a large part of whom are suspected to be Russian military personnel in the country. The Ministry of Defence has let on that Russias presence in Syria is both long term and extensive, however, after placing an order for over 10,000 medals to honor potential veterans from the conflict in March 2016.

On 07 October 2016 the Federation Council ratified at the plenary session of the agreement on the indefinite deployment of the Russian air base in Syria. Over 158 senators voted in favor, with one abstention. The document was signed on 26 August 2015 in Damascus, and almost a year later - August 9, 2016 - President of the Russian Federation submitted to the Duma. Agreement stipulates that the Russian aviation group located on the territory of the country at the request of the Syrian side and stationed at the airport in the province of Latakia Hmeymim indefinitely and free of charge.

According to the document, the use of Russian air group carried out in accordance with the decision of its commander in consultation with representatives of the Syrian authorities. The composition of the air group is determined by the Russian side. "Weapons, ammunition, equipment and materials necessary for the implementation of the Russian aviation group tasks as intended, to ensure the safety and life of its personnel, are imported into the Syrian territory without paying any duties and taxes. The personnel of the Russian aviation group to freely cross the border and it is not subject to inspection by border and customs authorities CAP ", - stated in the accompanying documents.

The agreement also guarantees the immunity of the personnel of the Russian air group, including family members, by analogy with the representatives of the diplomatic corps, as well as the inviolability of property, archives and the release from detention and transport inspection. According to first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, Franz Klintsevich agreement "most favored by Russia and its military contingent, at the same time does not prejudice the interests of Syria." He also noted that the value of the document "goes beyond the Syrian perspective, and even the fight against international terrorism." "I think that it should be considered in the context of global issues and to talk about a new quality of positioning Russia not only in Syria and the Middle East, but also the world in general placement at the airbase Hmeymim Russian military aircraft on an indefinite basis -. It is the first, but is not the last step in this direction ", - he stressed.

Member of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, Olga Kovitidi confident that the implementation of the agreement would also "be a significant and concrete contribution of Russia in the international community's efforts to stabilize the situation in Syria and the fight against international terrorism."

Russia sent an additional S-300V4 Antei-2500 anti-aircraft system to Syria, which according to NATO classification is known as the SA-23 Gladiator. This is a "crawler" modification of the air defense system that works to cover units in combat positions. "It is used to cross rough terrain in a convoy of armored vehicles: tanks, armored personnel carriers and so on. Its objective is to cover ground troops from missiles and air attacks in combat zones," said Viktor Litovkin, a military expert at the TASS news agency.

Russian air defense and anti-missile systems in Syria are ready to shoot down "any unidentified flying object" if air strikes are carried out on Syrian government positions, according to Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov. The motivation for Konashenkovs statement, made on Oct. 6, was a series of leaks in foreign mass media sources about discussion by the U.S. government of the possibility of launching air strikes on Syrian army positions. Konashenkov said that most Russian officers involved in Syria work on the ground, bringing humanitarian aid to neighborhoods under the control of the current government. Russian servicemen are also playing a role in negotiations with the heads of various settlements and armed groups in most of Syria's provinces.

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Page last modified: 19-10-2016 18:05:42 ZULU