Country Risk

Russian Black Sea Fleet fires more cruise missiles at Syrian targets

23 August 2016
A still from a video released by the Russian MoD on 19 August shows a Kalibr cruise missile being launched from one of the Black Sea Fleet's Buyan-M corvettes. The MoD said two Buyan-Ms fired three Kalibr missiles at targets in Syria on that day. Source: Russian Ministry of Defence

Two Buyan-M corvettes of Russia's Black Sea Fleet fired three Kalibr cruise missiles from the Mediterranean at targets in Syria on 19 August, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on the same day.

The MoD identified the vessels involved as Zeleni Dol and Sepukhov, both of which have were commissioned into service by the Black Sea Fleet in December 2015. It said the missiles destroyed facilities used by Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate that now calls itself Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, including a command centre and base near Dar-Taaza (possibly a reference to Dar Taizzah in Aleppo province) and a mortar bomb manufacturing plant in Aleppo province.

The MoD released videos showing the missiles being launched from Buyan-M corvettes and aerial footage purportedly showing them hitting their targets in Syria. It is unclear if this footage was recorded by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or targeting pods carried by strike aircraft.

The cruise missile strikes came after Russian Tu-22M3 long-range bombers and Su-34 tactical bombers carried out a series of strikes against targets in Syria using Iran's Shahid Nojeh Tactical Air Base north of the city of Hamadan.

The MoD announced on 22 August that the aircraft using the Iranian airfield had completed their mission and returned to Russia.

The Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla attacked targets in Syria using Kalibr missiles launched from Buyan-Ms and a Gepard-class frigate for the first time on 6/7 October 2015. The naval cruise missile attack was co-ordinated with airstrikes by Russian long-range bombers.

This was the first known operational use of a ship-launched cruise missile that is believed to be designated the 3M-14T Kalibr NK. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the missiles engaged targets nearly 1,500 km away.

This was followed by the first known operational use of the submarine-launched 3M-14 variant of the Kalibr, several of which were launched at targets in Syria from the Kilo-class boat Rostov na Donu when it was in the eastern Mediterranean on 8 December 2015.

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