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Deputy PM: Experience of using Russian combat aviation in Syria inspires optimism

March 02, 2016, 13:52 UTC+3 MOSCOW

All the warplanes produced by the Sukhoi Design Bureau are operating in Syria

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, March 2. /TASS/. The experience of using Russia’s combat aircraft in Syria inspires optimism, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said at a meeting on the development of the country’s combat aviation on Wednesday.

"I want to say at once that the experience of the combat use of our aviation in Syria testifies to the high mastership of the design potential and our designers and technologists," Rogozin said, adding that the skills and courage of Russian combat aviation pilots should be added to this.

The designers’ basic efforts today are focused on the new work related to the Prospective Aviation Complex of Frontline Aviation T-50, Rogozin said

"I would like to note the high potential of the Russian military aircraft-making. Both we and the entire country have been able to get convinced in that," the vice-premier said.

All the warplanes produced by the Sukhoi Design Bureau are operating in Syria. They are Su-24, Su-25, Su-34, Su-30 and Su-35 aircraft, the vice-premier said.

"Of course, we hope that the subsequent works will be successful, efficient and will be a matter of pride," the vice-premier said.

"There are a lot of works to do but let me repeat again that the experience of the successful use of our combat aviation in the anti-terror operation in Syria gives us some optimism for work," Rogozin said.

Russia's military operation in Syria

Russia’s Aerospace Force started delivering strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups (both banned in Russia) on September 30, 2015. The air group initially comprised over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft. They were redeployed to the Khmeimim airbase in the province of Latakia. On October 7, Moscow also involved the Russian Navy in the military operation. Four missile ships of the Caspian Flotilla fired 26 Kalibr cruise missiles (NATO codename Sizzler) at militants’ facilities in Syria.

In mid-November, after an alleged terrorist attack on Russian passenger jet that fell in Egypt killing 224 people on board, Moscow increased the number of aircraft taking part in the operation in Syria by several dozen and involved strategic bombers in the strikes as well. Targets of the Russian aircraft include terrorists’ gasoline tankers and oil refineries. Russia’s aircraft have made thousands of sorties since the start of the operation in Syria, with over a hundred of them performed by long-range aircraft.

On November 24, a Turkish F-16 fighter brought down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber involved in Moscow’s military operation against the Islamic State (a terrorist group outlawed in Russia).  Ankara claimed the warplane violated the Turkey’s airspace. The Russian Defense Ministry said the warplane was flying over Syrian territory without violating Turkey’s airspace. The Russian president referred to the attack as a “stab in Russia’s back” and promised that the move would cause response action from Russia. Moscow deployed new S-400 air defense systems in Syria in order to protect the warplanes involved in the military operation and started arming the fighters intended to provide air support to bombers and attack aircraft in Syria with air-to-air missiles.

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