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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Russian jets breaking down in harsh Syria conditions: US

Iran Press TV

Mon Oct 26, 2015 5:33AM

Most of Russian aircraft recently sent on a mission in Syria have been grounded due to the dust and desert conditions in the Arab country, says a senior US defense official.

According to the official who was not authorized to speak publicly about sensitive intelligence matters, a third of Russian fighter jets and half of its transport aircraft are assumed grounded at any time as the harsh, desert conditions take their toll on equipment and the crews in charge of operating them, the USA Today reported on Sunday.

The Russians are reportedly experiencing difficulty adapting to the severe environment, and the number of airstrikes they have conducted, seems to have dipped slightly, the official added.

Moscow has deployed dozens of warplanes, including its advanced Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback ground-attack jet, along with helicopters and crews to a base near the Syrian city of Latakia. A significant number of Russian transport warplanes are also stationed there as reports suggest.

Another unnamed US Air Force commander told USA Today that for American warplanes, a readiness rate of less than 80% would attract attention from the military top brass.

The officer who seemingly has multiple combat deployment records in the Middle East noted that jets break, especially in harsh conditions. He described the mission-readiness rates of less than 80% as a matter of concern, not alarm.

Meanwhile, David Deptula, a retired three-star Air Force general who led the planning for the aerial war against Iraq in Operation Desert Storm during the early 90s in the Persian Gulf, said the mission-readiness rate for Russian jets has been less than 70% which is not surprising.

The general argued that this is because the Russians lack experience in being deployed and flying their jets hard. He also claimed that the rates for Russian cargo planes are also 'pretty low.'

'If those rates are accurate, it indicates that their deployed logistics function requires some attention,' Deptula said.

Russia has been pounding the positions of the Daesh terrorists and other terror groups in Syria upon a request by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government since September 30.

According to Colonel General Andrei Kartapolov, the Russian air force made 669 "combat sorties" hitting over 450 Daesh positions, until October 16.

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