Post link 08 October 2015, 2:53
These are the cruise missiles Russia just sent into Syria

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff October 7 2015 at 11:29 AM washingtonpost.com

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Russian military fires cruise missiles into Syria

This video released by Russia's defense ministry shows Russian warships in the Caspian Sea launching cruise missiles on targets in Syria. (Russian Defense Ministry/YouTube)


Russian ships fired cruise missiles into Syria on Wednesday, intensifying the military’s campaign there, while Russian artillery and close air support backed a Syrian army ground offensive near the city of Hama.

The 26 cruise missiles, launched from ships in the Caspian Sea, traveled more than 900 miles over Iran and Iraq before hitting targets throughout Syria, according to a statement by the Russian Defense Ministry.

Syrian forces begin ground offensive backed by Russia air and sea power

The new Kalibr-NK cruise missiles all hit within nine feet of their intended targets, the statement said. The strikes landed in Raqqa, Idlib and Aleppo provinces, and Russian officials said they destroyed Islamic State positions, including training camps and ammunition depots.

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The Kalibr cruise missile is a relatively new addition to Russia’s arsenal, and according to IHS Jane’s analyst Jeremy Binnie, Wednesday’s launch was the first time the missile’s 900-plus-mile range had been made public.

While cruise missiles are traditionally used at the beginning of bombing campaigns to hit multiple high-value targets simultaneously while avoiding radar detection and maintaining the element of surprise, Russia’s strikes did none of those things. Instead, Binnie believes, everything that was targeted by the Russian cruise missiles could have easily been hit by other Russian assets within Syria (more than 50 aircraft) or possibly by Russian ships in the Mediterranean Sea.

“I think if you look at what cruise missiles are traditionally used for . . . this isn’t one of those scenarios,” Binnie said. “Russia has been striking the [Islamic State] for more than a week, and the U.S. has been for more than a year.”

Russia declares partial victory in bombing campaign in Syria

Binnie went on to say that the cruise missile strikes were probably a show of Russian military force and technology, noting that the ships that fired the missiles — mostly small missile corvettes — were intended to demonstrate that even the small ships in the Russian navy are stronger than they look.

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According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the smaller ships that participated in the strikes are approximately 230 feet long and their primary weapon is the Kalibr cruise missile. The flagship of the strike group, the Dagestan, is 650 feet long and displaces 2,000 tons.


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