Russia sends Hypersonic-Armed fighter jets to Syria for drills
Feb 15, 2022: According to a report by Reuters, Russia has deployed MiG-31K fighter jets with hypersonic Kinzhal missiles and long-range Tupolev Tu-22M strategic bombers to its air base in Syria for naval exercises, as per reports from Interfax, citing the defence ministry.
The plane, to be sent to Russia’s Hmeimim airbase, will take part in exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean, as part of an increase in Russian military activity amid a standoff with the West over Ukraine and security in Europe. Moscow announced on January 20 that its navy would launch a series of exercises involving all its navies from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, involving 10,000 troops, 140 warships and dozens of aircraft.
Kinzhal hypersonic missile can hit targets up to 2,000 km away. It is one of several strategic weapons unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in March 2018.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Damascus has been a staunch ally of Moscow since Russia launched an air strike campaign in Syria in 2015. Apart from the Hmeimim air base, Russia also controls the Tartus naval facility.
Russia sent fighter jets with Kinzhal missiles for the first time last year after expanding the runway at the base to handle such aircraft, said Rob Lee, a military analyst at the US-based Foreign Policy Research Institute.
He said the deployments pointed to Russia’s growing military presence in the Middle East and its ability to operate in different regions and to project power.
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