New Russian missiles used in Syria said to stun U.S. observers

Friday, October 16, 2015 by

( In recent days, the Russian navy launched long-range cruise missiles at scores of targets in Syria, stunning Pentagon planners and Western military experts alike.

It wasn’t that Russia was demonstrating some unknown capability; Moscow’s military has long fielded cruise missiles.

What was noteworthy about the launches is that they originated aboard warships deployed in the Caspian Sea and successfully struck targets an astounding 1,000 miles away.

As reported by The Daily Beast (DB), on Oct. 7 Russia launched 26 high-tech SS-N-30s, missiles that were largely unknown to most of the outside world. The new missiles even surprised experts who closely monitor Russian military developments.

Another thing, the DB noted: The attack was highly visible, as if Moscow was sending a message to the U.S., the West and its own allies that Russia is back in the game and that the country’s missile developers are capable of producing some of the world’s most advanced systems.

Officials said that Russia began planning for the attack Oct. 5, six days after Moscow ordered its warplanes in Syria to conduct their first bombing runs largely against U.S.-backed rebels in the country’s western regions. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he deployed his forces to conduct operations against ISIS, but U.S. officials are confident that he’s there to prop up embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime ally. Syria has also long hosted a Russian naval facility with port access to the Mediterranean Sea.

“Russian reconnaissance had discovered a number of important objects of militants, which were to be destroyed immediately,” said Russian Defense Ministry in a statement, as cited by the DB.

Reconnaissance was conducted by drones, satellites, radio interception and human intelligence on the group, the ministry added.

“The strikes engaged plants producing ammunition and explosives, command centers, storages of munitions, armament, and [oil], as well as a training camp of terrorists on the territory of Raqqa, Idlib, and Aleppo,” according to the ministry. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu added that the missiles struck all 11 planned targets.

As noted above, the Russian government highlighted its raid with a press release and an officially sanctioned video. Shoigu also appeared on Russian television to praise the operation.

The U.S. military also apparently tracked the SS-N-30s, later claiming that several of them malfunctioned and crashed in Iran. However, there has been no confirmation of that from independent sources.

Nevertheless, U.S. defense officials told the DB that the show of force was vitally important.

“This is Russia demonstrating on a global stage that it has a lot of reach,” one official said.

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