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Use of Iranian airbase for strikes against terrorists put Russian pilots to test — expert

August 16, 16:16 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russian planes on Tuesday for the first time used an airdrome in Iran to attack terrorist targets in Syria
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A Russian Tu-22M3 bomber in Syria

A Russian Tu-22M3 bomber in Syria

© Russian Defense Ministry/TASS

MOSCOW, August 16. /TASS/. Using Iran’s Hamadan airdrome for air strikes against terrorists in Syria was a reasonable decision that proved very effective and at the same time put to test the skills of Russian air pilots, a former commander of Russia’s long-range aviation, Lieutenant-General Mikhail Oparin, has told TASS.

According to the Defense Ministry’s news release, Russian planes on Tuesday for the first time used an airdrome in Iran to attack terrorist targets in Syria. Long-range bombers Tupolev-22M3 and Sukhoi-34 planes participated in the attack.

"It was an excellent occasion to see how well prepared our long-range aviation pilots are for coping with unexpected combat tasks. I believe that the decision (to use Hamada - TASS) was right and reasonable," Oparin said.

He recalled that Hamadan, located in the northwest of Iran, was more convenient than Russia’s Mozdok air base, from where Tupolev-22M3 bombers had flown to Syria before. Also, in terms of proximity it is better than Hmeymim, Oparin added.

At the same time Oparin pointed out that Hamadan was a high altitude air base. High air temperatures and the maximum bomb load were a serious test for the air crews.

"Only top class pilots possessing the required skills are capable of coping with such tasks. Our long-range pilots have precisely this type of training. I was very pleased to see what they’ve accomplished. They’ve shown what they can do," he said.

Long-range bombers Tupolev-22M3 have been used several times to attack terrorist targets over the past few weeks. This month they carried out three raids - on August 8, 11 and 14.

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