The Russian-Iranian breakthrough: cruise missiles and Hamadan airport

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The Russian-Iranian breakthrough: cruise missiles and Hamadan airport 18.08.2016 18:34

On Tuesday, August 16, 2016, in Russian-Iranian relations a historic event took place. The first time we have gone beyond the military-technical cooperation, and moved to the interaction in the wider - the military sphere.

That same day, the Russian long-range bombers Tu-22M3 bombers and fighter-bombers Su-34 took off from the military airfield of Hamadan in Iran and inflicted air strikes on militants of radical organization Islamic State and Jebhat al-Nusra (both banned in Russia - Ed .) in the Syrian provinces of Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor and Idlib.

As a result, five large warehouses with weapons, ammunition and fuel and lubricants were destroyed; three control points in the areas of Jafra and Deir ez-Zor and training camps of militants near the village of Serakab, Al-Bab, Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor.

In the skies of Syria Russian bombers were covered by multi-purpose fighters Su-30SM and Su-35 from a Syrian airfield Hmeymim. After successful completion of all combat missions Russian Military Space Forces (VKS) combat aircraft returned to their bases.

It was the first experience of using of Iranian military airfield by the Russian troops to fight Islamist radicals in the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR). Previously, long-range bombers Tu-22M3 bombers took off from airfields in the North Caucasus, and fighter-bombers Su-34 - from the airfield Hmeymim.


The reasons why Russia needs an airfield in Iran

Using Iranian airfield poses serious advantages for Russia. This can significantly reduce the time for the application of air strikes by the radicals in Syria (it will be harder rebels to avoid fire damage) and save fuel. But it required a minimum deployment of Russian engineering and technical personnel and ammunition.

One of the main causes of serious revitalization of Russian VKS activity in Syria has become a very difficult situation in Aleppo, where now the fate of the settlement of the Syrian crisis is actually being decided.

So, August 6, 2016 militants from the alliance Jaish al-Fatah, which, in particular, includes a radical organization Jebhat al-Nusra, broke from the south-west in the city of Aleppo, and blocked out surrounded previously groups of radical Islamists in the eastern neighborhoods of the city and seized some of the quarter Ramus and two military academies in the south of Aleppo. Furthermore, the part of the Syrian army in the western quarters of the city was blocked.

The Syrian army in Aleppo managed to partially restore by August 7 its position: it completely controls the territory of the Air Force Academy, 70% of the Artillery Academy and 30% of the Academy of the arms.

However, radical Islamists held a narrow corridor through Ramusu towards the eastern quarters of the city, Russian aircraft worked on it intensively on 8 August. In addition, during the regrouping of the Syrian National Army in the south-western part of the province of Aleppo additional units of special forces Syrian Tigers were deployed and the formation of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah.

By August 9 Syrian troops were able to recover the full blockade of the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, which continue to be under the control of Islamist radicals. But by this time the last managed to get a large batch of weapons and ammunition, which will contribute to the continuation of fierce fighting in Aleppo.

Given the complex situation in Syria, Russia was faced with a difficult choice. The sharp deterioration of the situation on the battlefield required a substantial increase in the Russian VKS groups in the country, but it prevented both inner Syrian dialogue and reconciliation within the SAR.

Therefore, Moscow did not immediately increase its presence in Syria, but actively used other possibilities for applying strikes in Syria on militants of radical organizations.


More - cruise missiles

Use of the Iranian military airfield Hamadan to host Russian military aviation - it's just one of those opportunities.

Among others it may be noted, firstly, strikes by sea based cruise missiles Calibre from the Caspian Sea. The corresponding resolution of Iran and Iraq in the span of their territories by the Russian cruise missiles has already been received.

Secondly, the use of air strikes from aircraft heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, which in early autumn is due to arrive in the Mediterranean Sea.

It is necessary to note that now Russia and Iran has accelerated the movement through a strategic dialogue towards a strategic partnership.

During the recent Baku meeting of Presidents Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani the principal decision on the development on military cooperation between the two countries was taken. This may be followed by the conduction of joint military exercises (and not only in the Caspian Sea), as well as, for example, the provision of assistance by Moscow to Tehran in restoring the National Air Force (NAF).

In particular, deliveries of spare parts for the national aviation, organization in Iranian territory of service centers of the Soviet (Russian) aircraft, as well as training of Iranian pilots in the relevant Russian centers. There is no doubt that this will significantly increase the combat readiness of the Iranian Air Force.

Thus, the rental by the Russian VKS of the Iranian Air Force Base will have serious implications. This will have a positive impact on the stabilization of the situation in Syria will lead to the establishment of military cooperation between Russia and Iran, which in the future will enable the Russian-Iranian strategic partnership.

It will also have a direct impact on the regional security as it will limit the US possibilities and its allies in the military intervention in armed conflicts in the Middle East.