Russia’s military assets in Syria
April 19, 2018 -
Russia has combat-tested more than 200 new advanced weapons systems in Syria since September 2015. Weapons deployed include long-range air- and sea-based Kalibr and Kh-101 cruise missiles.
Russia’s advanced weaponry will be demonstrated for the first time at Moscow’s Red Square military parade on May 9.
The Russian Navy Kalibr-PL or Kalibr-NK, also known as SS-N-30, is a long-range cruise developed as part of the Kalibr ship-borne missile system. This weapon is intended to hit targets with pinpoint accuracy at ranges of up to 2,500 kilometres, equipped with a conventional warhead and flying at altitudes of 50 to 150 metres from the ground.
The Kalibr-NK cruise missile was combat-tested in October 2015, when four Russian ships launched 26 rockets against targets in Syria from the Caspian Sea, travelling 1,500km. Western intelligence was unaware of the existence of the Kalibr-NK missile at that time.
The Kh-101 and Kh-102 are advanced stealthy cruise missiles deployed by Russian strategic bombers such as Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95 Bear. Crews from both bomber types have repeatedly used the Kh-101 against so-called Islamic State (IS) targets in the Syrian provinces of Deir al-Zour and Idlib.
The weapon was first tested in combat in November 2015 in a long-range mission that involved two Tu-160s flying from the Kola Peninsula inside the Arctic Circle, over the Atlantic toward Gibraltar and then east over the Mediterranean toward Syria to launch Kh-101s.
Paired with upgraded Tu-160 Blackjacks -- which have a range of 12,300km before needing in-flight refuelling -- the Kh-101 boasts an additional range of 5,000km and can deliver a 400kg high-explosive (HE) or 450 kiloton-nuclear warhead (102-version).
The missile now gives the Kremlin a global—and stealthy—aerial strike capability.
The new Kh-35, designated by NATO as Kayak, is a subsonic, sea-skimming anti-ship missile designed to engage amphibious assault ships and cargo vessels. Both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft can release the weapon.
The Kh-35UE features an improved propulsion system which doubles the effective range from 130km to up to 260km. It is fitted with a 145kg HE fragmentation, penetration warhead. The guidance system is resistant to electronic warfare jamming.
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