Russian Bombers Just Blasted Islamic State Again
Bears launched stealth cruise missiles
On July 5, 2017, Russian Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers launched Kh-101 radar-evading cruise missiles against Islamic States targets in Syria 600 miles away, according to the Russian defense ministry.
The Russian bombers took off at Engels, near Saratov in southwestern Russia. Supported by Il-76/78 tankers and Su-30SM fighters, the Bears attacked ISIS forces on the border of the provinces of Hama and Homs.
“As a result of the missile strike, three large warehouses of weapons and ammunition as well as a command post of terrorists near the town of Akerbat were destroyed,” the ministry stated. “This was confirmed by data of objective control.”
Aviation enthusiasts listening in on H.F. radio frequencies apparently picked up the bomber crews’ radio chatter.
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
The Kh-101 missile reportedly combines inertial guidance and satellite navigation with opto-electronic flight-correction. It can travel as far as 2,800 miles and is accurate within 30 feet.
This is not the first time Russian bombers have launched cruise missiles at ISIS. On Nov. 17, 2015, the Russian air force sortied 25 heavy bombers against militant ground forces in Syria, including five Tu-160 Blackjacks carrying the then-new Kh-101. It was the combat debut for the stealthy cruise missile.
Between Nov. 19 and 20, 2015, the Russians conducted a very-long-range strike mission against ISIS that involved two Tu-160s depart from the Kola Peninsula, skirt the airspace of Norway and the United Kingdom, fly over the Atlantic toward Gibraltar, enter the Mediterranean Sea and then head east toward Syria to launch Kh-101s.
On Nov. 17, 2016 and Feb. 17, 2017, Tu-95s fired Kh-101s at targets in Syria.