02:29 GMT28 February 2021
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    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)

    Russia has used its successful aerial campaign in Syria to showcase the best weapons the country has in its arsenal. Some of them, including the Tupolev Tu-160 (Blackjack) strategic bombers and the Raduga Kh-101 cruise missiles, were combat tested for the first time.

    We offer you a detailed list of the headline-grabbing military hardware Russia unleashed on ISIL.

    A Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber planes at the military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War.
    © Sputnik / Host photo agency
    A Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber planes at the military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War.

    Tu-160 Strategic Bomber

    The Tupolev Tu-160 (Blackjack) strategic bomber, whom Russian pilots lovingly call the White Swan, was sent on its first mission earlier this week. The warplane is said to be the heaviest combat aircraft ever built.

    The Tu-160 can accelerate to a maximum speed of 1,380 mph, climb to a maximum altitude of 49,235 feet and has a range of 7,643 miles. It is capable of carrying up to 12 Kh-55 cruise missiles and Kh-15 short range missiles. It can also be armed with nuclear and regular bombs.

    The heavy strategic bomber is scheduled for a major upgrade, which will see 60 percent of its equipment replaced with top-end gear, including hypersonic missiles, improved avionics and electronics. The aircraft will retain its trademark variable-sweep wings, three-point landing gear, all-flying tailplane and tail fin.

    The Tu-160, designed by the Tupolev aerospace and defense company, has been in service since 1987.

    Kh-101 Cruise Missile

    Although there has been no official confirmation, experts spotted the stealthy airborne Kh-101 cruise missile in footage released by the Russian Ministry of Defense which shows the Tu-160 conducting airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria.

    The Kh-101, in development until recently, has a maximum range of 5500 kilometers (over 3,400 miles) and is capable of travelling at a maximum speed of 270 m/s. Its accuracy is reported to be around five to six meters.

    The missile, outfitted with a conventional payload, is meant to replace the Kh-555. A variation, known as the Kh-102, carries a nuclear warhead.

    A diesel-powered Varshavyanka-class submarine during the celebrations of the Russian Navy Day in Vladivostok
    © Sputnik / Vitaliy Ankov
    A diesel-powered Varshavyanka-class submarine during the celebrations of the Russian Navy Day in Vladivostok

    Project 636 Subs, Kalibr Cruise Missiles, Buyan-Class Warships

    On November 17, a diesel-electric submarine, known as the Rostov-on-Don, launched cruise missiles against ISIL targets near the Syrian city of Raqqa, the unofficial capital of the caliphate, Russia's RBC news agency reported, citing an anonymous source close to the Ministry of Defense.

    Military expert Viktor Murakhovsky told the media outlet that Kalibr-class cruise missile debris could be seen in photos published by militants this week. If the Kalibr was fired from the Mediterranean, it could have only been launched from a submarine, he added. The Kremlin has not confirmed or denied this information.

    The Rostov-on-Don, commissioned in late December 2014, is a Project 636 Varshavyanka sub deemed to be one of the quietest in the world. NATO refers to the improved Kilo-class as a 'black hole.' The Kilo was designed to carry out anti-shipping and anti-submarine missions in littoral waters.

    The Kalibr itself went through a baptism by fire earlier this year. On October 7, four Buyan-M class warships of Russia's Caspian Fleet launched a barrage of 26 cruise missiles which hit all intended ISIL targets located more than 930 miles away. Each Buyan-class corvette carries eight Kalibr cruise missiles.

    Sukhoi Su-34 in flight
    © Flickr / poter.simon
    Sukhoi Su-34 in flight

    Su-34 Strike Fighter, drones

    The Sukhoi Su-34 (Fullback) strike fighter is another cutting-edge piece of Russian-made military hardware that carried out its first combat mission in Syria. A total of six Su-34s have reportedly been deployed to Syria and are currently based in Latakia. 

    Based on the Sukhoi Su-27, the Su-34 is a 4++ generation jet, which can accelerate to a maximum speed of 1,200 mph and has a maximum range of 2,500 miles without refueling. The twin-engine, twin-seat strike fighter, costing nearly $40 million apiece, has entered service in March 2014.

    The counterterrorism campaign in Syria has also marked the first time Russia is extensively using drones. The UAVs, including the Orlan-10 and the Eleron-3SV, are said to be conducting 24/7 surveillance missions.

    On September 29, Russia's defense agency announced that it planned to train more than 1,100 experts capable of operating drones, RBC reported. Approximately, 700 completed courses in early October.

    The Su-34 Strike Fighter
    © Sputnik
    The Su-34 Strike Fighter
    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)


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    cruise missile, Russian aerial campaign, strategic bomber, fighter jet, Kh-101, SSN-30A Kalibr, Buyan-M, Varshavyanka-class (Project 636.3) submarine, Tu-160 Blackjack, Sukhoi Su-34, Syria, Russia
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