Shortly after its appearance, the operational-tactical missile system (OTRK) 9K720 "Iskander" became the topic of discussion of not only technical, but also military-political nature. The possibility of hitting targets at ranges of up to several hundred kilometers made this system not only a powerful example of modern weapons, but also an effective means of influencing the political situation. The tactical and technical characteristics and the military-political potential of the complex regularly became an occasion for discussion in the context of various events. Therefore, it was completely natural that such conversations resumed even after the start of the Russian operation in Syria.
Initially, in the first months of the operation, the possibility of sending the Iskander OTRK to the Khmeimim base was only a matter of debate. Practice has shown that the tasks assigned to combat terrorists can be accomplished by the aerospace forces with some participation of other types of armed forces, primarily the navy. Apparently, for this reason, the Russian armed forces sent to Syria aviation equipment of various types, as well as anti-aircraft systems, etc. The transfer of OTRK, however, was not undertaken, and there were not even any rumors on this subject.
Unconfirmed reports of the beginning of combat operations of the Iskander complexes in Syria appeared only at the end of this winter. Around February, rumors about the transfer of missile systems to Syria to perform combat work in one direction or another began to circulate among specialists and military enthusiasts. However, during the first few weeks these reports did not have any worthwhile corroboration, remaining solely rumors.
The situation changed dramatically at the end of March. 27 March 2016 of the year on the TV channel "Star" was another issue of the program "I Serve Russia!". One of the plots of this program was devoted to the partial withdrawal of the Russian group from the Hmeymim airbase. When shooting an An-124 military transport aircraft with three Mi-35 helicopters on board, a certain sample of ground-based equipment with a characteristic silhouette hit the camera lens. The wheel formula, the shape of the hull and other features of the machine made it possible to identify in it the self-propelled launcher of the Iskander-M OTRK. Thus, rumors about the transfer of such equipment to Syria received the first worthy confirmation.
It is curious that the officials did not comment in any way on such a “leakage” of information about the strengthening of the group of troops on the basis of Hamim. However, the general public and experts did not wait for official statements, immediately starting to discuss important issues. news. In particular, one of the topics of discussion was the identification of technology that had fallen into the report of the Zvezda channel. It has been suggested that not a launcher of the Iskander-M system was seen at the base in Syria, but the coastal complex Bastion or other equipment on a similar wheeled chassis. Nevertheless, some features of the design of the spotted machine made it possible to uniquely identify in it the latest OTRK.
Just a couple of days later, a new indirect confirmation of the transfer of operational-tactical missile systems appeared. At the end of March, first in the Turkish and then in the foreign media, reports appeared about the reaction of official Ankara. It was alleged that in connection with the transfer of Russian complexes to Syria, the Turkish military leadership issued an order to withdraw the main command posts and communication systems outside the Iskander area of responsibility, or disguise them on the ground because of the impossibility of evacuation.
According to some information, by now the Russian OTRK have already managed to take part in hostilities, although, as often happens, this has not been confirmed by official reports. In June of this year, the Military Informator online edition presented its version of events in the Bab al-Khava transition area, located on the border between Turkey and Syria. According to the version of this edition, on the night of 9 June, the militant positions around the border crossing were destroyed with the help of the Iskander-M complexes. The goal was both field fortifications and car convoys of terrorists concentrated in the area of impact. Later, sources in the Syrian military department confirmed the fact of a missile strike, but noted that the operation did not use “Iskander”, but the older complexes “Tochka”.
In early August, amid ongoing fighting for the city of Aleppo, the Syrian military reported on the use of Russian Iskander-M tactical missiles by Russian colleagues. According to various sources, up to three targets were hit. Despite reports by the Syrian military, the Russian side has not confirmed the use of Iskander-M OTRK. Similarly, the official Moscow was in no hurry to publish data on the availability of such equipment in Syria.
Over the next few weeks, new evidence of the presence of the Iskander-M OTRK in Syria, as well as their combat use against terrorist facilities, did not appear. Rather, they were obtained quite a long time ago, but remained unknown until a certain time. For two months, this evidence for one reason or another did not become public knowledge and was not entered into circulation. New photos of Russian technology on the Syrian base were published only in early September.
5 September, the founder and administrator of the portal Militaryrussia.ru Dmitry Kornev published in his blog several satellite images provided by the site user under the nickname Rambo54. The latter was engaged in the study of commercial satellite photographs of the Hmeimim database, taken recently, and found something interesting on them that he soon shared with the public. Three published photographs depict various models of Russian weapons and equipment, including components of the Iskander-M complex. All images are dated 1 July 2016 of the year.
The first shot captures one of the airbase sites, which at the time of the shooting were two vehicles of the Russian armed forces. By individual signs, one of the pieces of equipment was identified as a self-propelled launcher 9P78-1, and in the second one they recognized the transport-charging machine 9Т250. Both of these machines are elements of the Iskander-M 9K720 complex, designed to transport and launch several types of ballistic or cruise missiles. This photograph suggests that at least one Russian OTRK was deployed at the base of Hamim, but other images force us to revise these calculations.
The second satellite photo from Rambo54 shows one of the bases of the base, placed under the parking of automotive and special equipment. Army vehicles of various classes and models are noticeable at the site, apparently, Ural trucks, UAZ cars and other models available in the supply of the Russian army. On the edge of one of the rows of automotive vehicles, there are some cars covered with a camouflage net. Poor quality of shooting and the network do not allow making far-reaching conclusions, but the photo still shows that there are four cars under the net, built on the basis of special chassis.
At the first publication of the images, the four units of equipment under the camouflage network were identified as two self-propelled launchers and two transport-charging machines. Thus, at the disposal of the Syrian grouping of the armed forces of Russia there are at least two Iskander-M OTRKs that have a launcher, TZM, as well as some other models of auxiliary equipment. For objective reasons, the latter can not be unambiguously identified in existing photographs.
The third shot is a "general plan" of a fairly large section of the air base. It depicts a part of the runway, parking for vehicles and special vehicles, a platform with hangars, as well as another open area without any buildings. Some features of the third photo suggest that the first image is a relatively small part of it, which is of most interest in the context of the deployment of missile systems.
In the third photo you can see that the car park is an increasing number of various vehicles, but in its old place remains a camouflage net covering some large cars. At the same time through the network it can be seen that under it there are only two pieces of equipment, namely the self-propelled launcher 9P78-1 and the transport-charging machine 9Т250. The other two machines of the second missile complex, in turn, are openly located on the site near the parking lot. It is the position of the technology on the second site that allows to make certain conclusions regarding the origin of the first and third satellite photos.
The second photo. Visible equipment in the parking lot, including the machine under the camouflage net. Photo Dimmi-tomsk.livejournal.com
According to the latest published materials, there are currently at least two operational tactical missile complexes 9K720 Iskander-M at Khmeimim airbase. According to unconfirmed reports, this technique has already participated in battles and destroyed a number of enemy targets in several areas. It should be remembered that all the available information about Russian missile systems are of specific origin, and were not confirmed by officials. Nevertheless, even in such a situation, the information is of great interest both to professionals and to the interested public.
Available photos suggest that at least two rocket complexes have been transferred to Syria. Moreover, the publication of the Free Press, in its recent article, “Hmeimim is being defended by the Iskanders, devoted to the transfer of this technology, expresses an even bolder version. According to the calculations of the authors of the publication and the specialists interviewed by them, at least four rocket complexes can be deployed on the basis of Hamim. This number is due to the peculiarities of the organizational structure of the units armed with Iskanders.
Such equipment is operated by rocket brigades, each of them has three divisions. The division consists of two batteries, each of which has two complexes with all the necessary tools. Since the “minimal self-sufficient” structure is a division, at least two batteries of two complexes each must be deployed in Syria. This means that the photos from July 1 showed the cars of one of the batteries. The technique of the second such unit for some reason did not get into the frame. Perhaps she was disguised, or at the time of filming she had not yet arrived in Syria.
Anyway, a number of operational-tactical missile systems of the newest model have already been transferred to Syria and, apparently, are taking an active part in the fight against terrorists. The Russian military department is not in a hurry to publish official reports about the fact of the transfer of Iskander and their subsequent combat use, however, even without such messages, there is already enough information to form a general picture. In addition, the available volume of data has already allowed both experts and non-specialists to try to predict the consequences of the transfer of equipment.
It is quite obvious that in the current situation the transfer of Iskander-M OTRK to Syria has the same goals as the use of other types of equipment and weapons. The fight against terrorists, in addition to the solution of the main military political tasks, became a good reason to check the latest developments in the context of real armed conflict. It is known that until recently, the Iskander family complexes were not used in battles. Now, it seems, for the first time, they did not shoot at training targets, but at real targets in the form of enemy targets.
General view of the airbase: one of the OTRK in the parking lot, the second - in the open area. Photo Dimmi-tomsk.livejournal.com
High performance of the complex and its missiles can be a serious warning to the enemy. The ability to send a warhead of the required type over a distance of several hundred kilometers should be a good deterrent: hardly any adversary, still able to adequately assess the situation, will provoke Russian troops to use such powerful and accurate weapons. In addition, according to numerous estimates, "Iskander" in Syria may affect the entire military and political situation in the Middle East.
The tactical missile system "Iskander-M" is the latest domestic development of its class. The objective of this technique is to destroy enemy ground targets at distances up to 500 km using various combat units. The complex consists of self-propelled launcher and transport-loading machine, missiles of two types, as well as several other units of auxiliary equipment. The 9P78-1 launcher is capable of simultaneously carrying two missiles of the required type, as well as launching them. All elements of the missile complex are built on the basis of special wheeled chassis, which allows them to show high mobility and relatively quickly go to a given launch area.
As a weapon, the Iskander-M complex uses two types of missiles, 9М723 and 9М728. The product 9М723 is a single-stage solid-fuel ballistic missile capable of carrying high-explosive, cluster and other combat units. A characteristic feature of the rocket is a quasi-ballistic flight path. Throughout the flight with the ascending and descending sections of the rocket has the ability to maneuver, which seriously complicates its interception. The maximum firing range is 480 km. The circular deviation does not exceed several tens of meters.
As part of the modernization of the complex was developed cruise missile 9М728 or Р-500. This product is equipped with a mainstream turbojet engine and, according to some data, receives an autonomous inertial control system with the possibility of course correction using satellite navigation data. The rocket can reach speeds of the order of 250 m / s and fly to a distance of 500 km. The deviation from the aiming point is tens of meters. A characteristic feature of the Iskander cruise missile is the launch from the transport and launch container. Ballistic missiles 9М723, by contrast, are used independently and without additional containers.
To date, OTRK 9K720 "Iskander-M" adopted for use and put in the series. The industry has already released eight brigade sets of the complex, transferred to the formations of all military districts. The last transfer of equipment took place in July of this year - new machines entered service with the 20-th Guards Rocket Brigade of the Eastern Military District. Production of new systems continues to this day. Over the next few years, the Ministry of Defense plans to rearm all existing missile brigades using the Iskander-M complexes. According to existing plans, this process will end in 2018.
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