Al-Masdar News has obtained exclusive photos of Russian warplanes being deployed to the Hamedan Air Base in western Iran.

Currently, the strategic TU-22M3 bombers take flight from southern Russia at Modzok airfield; however, this newly signed military agreement with Iran will allow Russia to reduce flight time by 60%, saving the Kremlin both money and improving airstrike effectiveness.

The distance of these flights equal roughly 2,150km to reach a target near Palmyra. In comparison, the Hamedan Air Base in Iran is roughly 900km from Palmyra.

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The Khmeimim Airbase in Latakia province – which Russia was granted access to in late 2015 – is not suitable for the massive TU-22M3, one of the largest bomber jets in the world.

The Russian military is yet to announce how many TU-22M3 will be operating from the Iranian airbase.

This developement indicates significantly improved political relations between Iran and Russia, two priceless allies for Damascus.

Moments ago, Russia also requested Iraq and Iran airspace allowance to transport cruise missiles into Syria.

Russian jets in Iran 3

Russian jets in Iran 4

Russian jets in Iran

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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23 COMMENTS

  1. This flightpath of a RuAF Tu-154 on Flightradar24.com shows the transfer of personal and/or leading of a ferryflight to Hamedan Air Base, Iran. In the last week there have been similiar flights to Latakia, likely they’ve replaced a group of jets there, likely for maintenance.

    Currently Tu-22M3 bombers do fly from Mozdok in southern Russia via the Caspian Sea, Iran, Iraq to Syria. The distance of these flights equals roughly 2.150km to reach a target near Palmyra. From Hamedan Air Base in Iran the distance to reach a target near Palmyra equals roughly 900km. This means about 60% less distance to cover, 60% less fuel, which means more weight left for bombs. Currently the Tu-22M3 bombers fly with a minimum bombload of either 12 x OFAB 250-270 fragmentation bombs or with 6 x FAB-500M-62 bombs due to the long distance. To put this into perspective, with its maximum load configuration — external racks etc. — the Tu-22M3 would be capable of carrying up to 69 x OFAB 250-270 bombs. In the Afghanistan war Tu-22M3 often used FAB-3000 bombs. So far the bombers which used to bomb from Mozdok have been equipped with the SVP-24 upgrade, which increases the accuracy of free fall bomb strikes, hopefully those examples will be too.
    Also the deployment of bombers to Iran would probably result in an increase of regularity in strikes. Currently the RuAF flies about one attack of six bombers each per week. If they get a base in Iran going we could expect daily or bi-daily strikes.

    • If it’s just to carry 12 x OFAB 250-270 = 3240kg or 6 x FAB-500M-62, I’m sorry to say this but it’s not due to long distance : it’s a 4300km travel, Tu-22M3 range is about 7000km, they can do such missions with full load of 24 tons, including underwing racks, without problem and even without the full load of kerosene!
      Even worst : a 40y old Mig-23 can carry 3 tons payload, a Su-25 about 4 tons, a Su-24 about 8 tons and the Su-34 up to 12 tons…
      In other terms, I simply see no other purposes to send the Tu-22M3 with such lame payloads BUT advertising the SVP-24 upgrade and getting contracts for Rosoboronexport. Well, they’re right to advert their products, Tupolev is looking for foreign sales+upgrade packages sales and showing you’ve got a very accurate targeting system that make dumb-bombs as accurate as ‘smart bombs’ is more than interesting for clients. I feel there were heaviest loads in the last days as they seemed to do a Syria-tour (like rock-stars could do), thus, having two Su-34 “on-site” seems to me much more interesting from the tactical POV.

  2. There’s no shortage of Tu-22M3s either. They’re already rather old, while an upgrade of a limited amount of planes to the new Tu-22M3Ms version is underway the system itself is nearing the end of its service time. Not only does the Tu-22M3 carry symbolic value — it is also a feared maritime strike aircraft — flying Su-24s from Iran might not be the most efficient matter due to range limitations. Looks like Russia is going to set up the ante this autumn, bombers flying from Iran, cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean and soon the Admiral Kuznetsov is going to arrive near Syria where the MiG-29K is going to be its first combat.

    • There are much much older Mig-21 still in service and I’m not talking of Tu-95 or An-12 and bombers or cargos get much less “pressure” on their airframes than jet-fighters/strike aircrafts : no aerobatics are made…
      The last Tu-22M3 made are only 20 years old, Tupolev can resume production any day, consider they’re likely to still in service for a good 25/30 years…
      Using Mig-29K from Kutzenov will not be really interesting : using the sky-jump from a STOBAR carrier causes two problems : either you don’t carry the full payload of weapons or you fly with very low fuel…
      In fact, I’m surprised that both Russia or India who use STOBARs don’t consider adding racks under their planes then fixing JATO rockets like it was often the case under lotsa 50’s or 60’s airplanes…
      In fact, there were even ZLL (zero length launch) systems fo Mig-19, F-100, F-104…
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oImq1glnOds
      Anyway, and I’ve got the same advice for the two brit one a-coming too or the chinese or indian ones, having a huge STOBAR or C-VTOL carrier is the worst of bothworlds!
      Higher than 30,000 tons, better consider the CATOBAR way and have a fully capable air-group. STOBAR or C-VTOL is only interesting to operate from smaller amphibious ships and having a few jets for air defence or low range air strikes (Harrier job or if they end doing effective job, the US copy of Yak-43 named F-35B)

  3. I can tell there’s at least 4 different bombers on this photo:

    Photo 1: 42 Red and another one on final approach.
    Photo 2: 57 Red and another one to the left (note the shadow)
    Photo 3: Four bombers (three are clearly visible + one behind IL-76, you can see one of its main undercarriages under IL’s belly).
    Photo 4: 43 Red (the obscured one from Photo 3), unknown number (obscured by ladder), and what looks like 57 Red (first number is clearly 5, and you can see a tiny speck on its intake, right under middle bomber’s nose – that’s the part of “shark maw” paintjob visible on Photo 2)

    Thus, we have 42 Red, 43 Red, 57 Red, and one unknown number.

  4. you know what priceless is? Saudi Arabia’s coward bull kings thinking about chicks all the time.
    Al Saud had better find an ally less priceless than the criminal Israeli regime.

  5. Russia cooperates with Islamist Iran
    Russia coop rerates with Assad.

    With whom cooperates Obama?
    Obama betrayed all USA ME allies.

    Next president being either Democrat or Republican will have a hard job to restore trust in USA and protect USA interests.