Original published at warfiles.ru; translated from Russian by J.Hawk
Information recently appeared in expert media on the possibility of Russia attacking IS positions in Syria using Tu-22M3 bombers.
The Tu-22M3 is a heavy missile carrier with a large flight radius and a heavy payload. A single Tu-22M3 sortie could deliver ordnance against dozens of positions. A flight of Tu-22M3 has been deployed to Mozdok in North Ossetia. Numerous bloggers have reported Tu-22M3 presence at Mozdok. A writer who has contacts in the Russian armed forces wrote the following:
“No missions have been assigned to the Tu-22M3 yet. Given the power of this type of aircraft, a single flight of four Tu-22M3 could level targets in half of Syria from an altitude that makes it invulnerable to any air defenses in the region.”
With Tu-22M3 cruising speed of 930km/hr, it would cover the 2500km to Syria in 2 hours and 44 minutes
What are we to draw from this?
Russia is prepared to use long-range aviation to destroy IS militants if such a need arises. Tu-22M3 bombers are ready to depart for Syria at any moment, with only 2 hours and approximately 44 minutes of flight separating them from utterly destroying any terrorist target.
J.Hawk’s Comment: No doubt such preparations are being made. Tu-22M3 exercises have been noted in SouthFront’s weekly Russia Military Map reports, and likewise Mozdok has become something of a forward operating base for airlift flights between Russia and Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
These reports also appear to be part of a “war of nerves” between Russia and the Islamists (as well as their sponsors). The “war” began with Qatar making noises about supplying shoulder-launched SAMs and even engaging in a military intervention in Syria. Russia responded with reports of preparing to up its air campaign to 200 sorties a day, using long-range bombers to strike IS targets, and preparations of a small ground force contingent to bolster the Syrian Army. The message is that should IS sponsors wish to up the ante, Russia is willing to see them and raise them.