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Russian missile strikes against IS in Syria hit Pentagon, NATO on rebound - analysts

October 09, 2015, 16:20 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
Kalibr cruise missile launch

Kalibr cruise missile launch

MOSCOW, October 9. /TASS/. Russia’s massive attack with 26 cruise missiles against targets of the terrorist Islamic State in Syria has proved more than effective and entailed a rather painful reaction from the Pentagon and NATO’s headquarters, polled military specialists have told TASS.

Russia’s naval group in the land-locked Caspian Sea on October 7 dealt a massive strike with sea-launched Kalibr-NK cruise missiles against infrastructures of the terrorist group Islamic State in Syrian territory. The Russian Defense Ministry said the missiles hit munitions production facilities, command centers, ammunition and weapons depots, storages of fuels and lubricants, and training camps.

NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has voiced alarm over Russian cruise missile attacks on targets in Syria and declared the alliance’s readiness to protect the allies, including Turkey. The reaction from the Pentagon and the US Congress was still more nervous. The Congress is going to launch a probe into the operation of the US intelligence services, which had failed to warn the Department of Defense in advance about Russia's plans for the Caspian naval force’s missile strikes against the Islamic State.

"The Pentagon and NATO are in such commotion following the launch of Kalibr missiles because Russia has never had such weapons before — small, highly accurate and equipped with modern electronics. The missile is the newest product of the defense-industrial complex. Besides, this is the first instance in Soviet and Russian military history of cruise missiles’ launch against ground targets in a real combat operation. It is not accidental that a video showing a Kalibr cruise missile flying over Iran and Iraq has got several million views on YouTube," the deputy director of the Institute of US and Canada Studies, Major-General Pavel Zolotaryov, retired, has told TASS.

He said the cruise missiles’ accuracy was very high, with maximum deviations from the target — ‘circular error probable’ in military parlance — not exceeding two or three meters. "Missiles that accurate do not have to be necessarily armed with nuclear warheads. A conventional warhead will guarantee the target’s complete elimination without causing extra destruction," Zolotaryov said.

The president of the International Center for Geo-Political Analysis, Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, retired, believes that the strike by Russia’s Kalibr missiles against IS targets in Syria has had a literally stunning effect on the Pentagon and NATO. "The military doctrine adopted on July 1 mentioned the emergence of other countries’ highly accurate missiles as one of the main threats to the United States’ national security. That Russia has used highly accurate missiles has been a real shock for the Pentagon," Ivashov said.

"The United States and the European Union have realized that Russia has solid counter-arguments against the United States’ monopoly on using sea-launched cruise missiles that had been used to bomb Yugoslavia and Iraq," Ivashov said. "By their technical parameters the Kalibr missiles by far surpass their US counterparts. This missile is capable of selecting any of a dozen likely routes and no air defense or anti-missile defense will ever be able to identify the likely flight path. With its effective range of 2,600 kilometers and its two-meter circular error capability Kalibr will be a truly formidable weapon."

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