Russian Anti-Submarine Aircraft Arrive In Syria To Participate In Massive Naval Drills

On September 1, two Tu-142MK maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircrafts of the Russian Naval Aviation arrived in the Hmeimim airbase in western Syria, according to SouthFront, citing Syrian pro-government activists. The two aircrafts were reportedly escorted by Su-35 warplanes.

Russian Tu-142MK maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircrafts
Su-35 escorts

The Tu-142MK has a combat radius of 6,500km and can fly as high as 12km. The maritime reconnaissance and ASW aircraft can be also armed with different types of torpedoes, bombs and anti-ship missiles, such as the advance Kh-35.

The two aircrafts are expected to participate in the ongoing massive drills of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Syria, which will end on September 8. According to the Ministry of Defense of Russia, Russia has deployed its largest naval armada since the Syrian war amid mutual allegations of an imminent chemical attack, and includes 25 warships led by the Marshal Ustinov missile cruiser and 30 aircraft, including the strategic Tu-160 missile-carrying bombers are participating in the drills.

Currently, the following Russian military vessels are stationed in the Mediterranean near the Syrian coast according to Naval military observers:

  • CG Marshal Ustinov
  • DDG Severomorsk
  • DDG Yaroslav Mudryy
  • FFG Admiral Grigorovich
  • FFG Admiral Essen
  • FFL Pytlivyy
  • FSG Vyshniy Volochek
  • FSG Grad Sviyazhsk
  • FSG Velikiy Ustyug
  • LST Orsk
  • LST Nikolay Fil'chenkov
  • MS Turbinist
  • MS Valentin Pikul
  • SS Kolpino
  • SS Velikiy Novgorod

Local observers believe that the drills are a response to the U.S. and its allies, which threatened to carry out a new missile strikes on positions of the Damascus government. Russia had warned that the militants in northern Syria may stage a chemical attack to serve as a pretext for the new strike.

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