The Russian Ministry of Defense today, August 16, 2016, announced that Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bombers and Su-34 fighter bombers had taken off from Iran’s Hamadan airbase in order to strike the Islamic State (ISIS) and Jabhat Fath Al-Sham (formerly Jabhat Al-Nusra) in Syria. This is the first time Russia openly acknowledges it has deployed strategic bombers in Iran.
According to Russia 24, the aim of deploying the bombers in Iran is to shorten the flight time to targets by 60%. The Russia Today channel reported, citing Russian diplomatic sources, that Russia has asked Iran and Iraq to allow Kaliber missiles to pass through their airspace. The Russia Today website added that on August 15, 2016 the Russian Defense Ministry announced the launch of tactical exercises in the Caspian Sea, involving warships bearing cruise Kaliber missiles. According to the ministry, the goal of the exercises is to test the Caspian Sea fleet’s ability to respond to sudden crises, including terror-related crises. Continue reading