New satellite images released on October 20 revealed that Russian forces are building eighteen hardened aircraft shelters (HAS) in Hmeimim airbase in the coastal Syrian governorate of Lattakia. A local Syrian source said that the construction of these shelters began more than a month ago..
Russian Air Force at Hmeymim airbase in Latakia with 9 Su-24, 4 Su-34 and 4 Su-35 soon to be protected by new aircraft shelters that are under construction. an A-50, 4 Il-76, 2 An-26/30 and an Il-38 on the eastern apron (3 Oct 2018) pic.twitter.com/VhAK9qtqEg
— Samir (@obretix) October 20, 2018
The images also show that Hmeimim airbase is currently hosting nine Su-24, four Su-34, four Su-35 warplanes, an A-50 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) plane, an Il-38 maritime patrol and anti-submarine plane, four Il-76 cargo planes and two An-26 transport planes.
Since the beginning of this year, Syrian militants have attempted to attack Hmeimim airbase several times with Grad rockets and armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). While these attacks didn’t cause any real damage on the airbase, the militants view them as a way to deter the Russian Aerospace Forces.
In most cases, Russian air defense systems deployed in Hmeimim foiled the militants attacks by intercepting their rockets or shooting down their UAVs. Despite the success of this method, the hardened shelters will for sure provide an extra protection for Russian Aerospace Forces personnel and assets that are deployed in the airbase.