According to the report, unlike the previous sea-launched strikes, the latest attacks demonstrated Russia’s long-range aviation capabilities.
The move follows the confirmation that a bomb brought down the Russian Metrojet airliner on October 31 over Sinai that killed 224 people, and after the November 13 attacks in Paris that killed 129 people. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for both attacks.
A first wave of Tupolev Tu-22M3 ‘Backfire’ bomber aircraft struck targets in Syria’s Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor provinces, after which a second wave of Tu-95MS ‘Bear’ and Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’ strategic bombers struck targets in Aleppo and Idlib provinces, the MoD stated. In total the MoD claims to have fired 34 air-launched cruise missiles at 14 Islamic State targets in Syria on November 17.
Combined with Russia’s locally deployed air contingent, the MoD stated it was planning to fly 127 sorties and strike 206 targets within Syria on November 17.
Footage released by the Russian MoD indicates that the Tu-95MS aircraft dropped Kh-555 (AS-15 ‘Kent’) air-launched cruise missiles against their targets, while the Tu-160s dropped Kh-101 stealthy cruise missiles — a first combat outing for the missile. In addition the Tu-22M3 bombers were seen being fitted with OFAB-250-270 unguided bombs within their internal weapons bays. Meanwhile, footage appearing on social media from Syria indicates that at least one of the Kh-555 missiles exploded in mid-air over Syria.
In the same Russian MoD footage, the Russia’s locally deployed Su-25 ‘Frogfoot,’ Su-24 ‘Fencer,’ and Su-34 ‘Fullback’ were all filmed taking off for sorties.