Al Masdar, a media outlet with close ties to the Syrian security apparatus which is widely considered to be pro-Assad, reports that Russian bombers are now operating out of the Hamedan Air Base in western Iran. The outlet says that they have received exclusive pictures from the base. Al Masdar reports:
Currently, the strategic TU-22M3 bombers take flight from southern Russia at Modzok airfield; however, this newly signed military agreement with Iran will allow Russia to reduce flight time by 60%, saving the Kremlin both money and improving airstrike effectiveness.
The distance of these flights equal roughly 2,150km to reach a target near Palmyra. From Hamedan Air Base in Iran the distance to reach a target near Palmyra equals roughly 900km.
The Khmeimim Airbase in Latakia province – which Russia was granted access to in late 2015 – is not suitable for the massive TU-22M3, the largest bomber jet in the world.
Russia deploys jets at Iranian Airbase to combat insurgents in Syria (Pictures)
Al-Masdar News has obtained exclusive photos of Russian warplanes being deployed to the Hamedan Air Base in western Iran. Currently, the strategic TU-22M3 bombers take flight from southern Russia at Modzok airfield; however, this newly signed military agreement with Iran will allow Russia to reduce flight time by 60%, saving the Kremlin both money and improving airstrike effectiveness.
The report has been circulated by several pro-Kremlin propagandists, adding credibility to the claims.
Just hours ago we reported that, according to Interfax, Russia has sought permission from Iran and Iraq to fire cruise missiles over their airspace.
“Our presence there [in Syria], if you recall, a year ago, and even better, a year and a half ago has step by step gradually changed the situation as a whole. The situation has changed regarding Syria, and when you ask yourself the question: but what would have happened if our president had not been able to be convinced and implemented the idea to surrender and destroy chemical weapons? This was literally ready there within 24 hours, if we speak only of the cruise missiles — 624, if I recall, cruise missiles, were prepared to strike a massive blow on Syria.”
Shoigu’s remarks came as Russia has asked permission of Iraq and Iran to allow cruise missiles to be launched through their territories.
Today, August 15, massive bilateral scoring tactical training exercises began with the Caspian Fleet group of forces, Interfax reported. The exercises involve some 20 ships including the Tatarstan and Dagestan missile ships, the Grad Sviyazhsk and Velikiy Ustyug small missile ships, the Kalibr, equipped with sea-based long-range cruise missiles and also artillery ships, minesweepers and support ships.
The purpose is to test the capacity of the Caspian Fleet to respond to crisis situations which threaten the military security of Russia, including those of a terrorist nature, said the Defense Ministry.
Simultaneously, there are exercises in the Mediterranean Sea with a group including the Serpukhov and Zelyoniy Dol small missile ships and ships regularly maintaining the links of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean.
The Serpukhov and Zelyoniy Dol are ships in the modernized Buyan-M series equipped with the latest sea-based Kalibr cruise missiles.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick