Thanks to new cruise missiles.
The Russian development is significant—even if the Kremlin does not yet have the ability to retarget cruise missile while the weapons are in flight (there are indications that X-101 can be retargeted while in flight and that such a capability at the very least in development).
Russia’s venerable Tupolev Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers are starting to receive the capability to retarget cruise missiles once the bombers are already airborne. Moreover, those cruise missiles can be retargeted once they are already enroute to their targets—which is a significant new capability for the Russian military.
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Indeed, earlier today, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that the Tu-95MS bombers armed with the latest X-101 cruise missiles—able hit targets a range of 4500km—struck ISIS targets in Syria.
“On July 5 strategic missile carriers Tu-95MS took off from the Engels airfield on the territory of the Russian Federation, made a flight with refueling in the air and stroke on targets of ISIS terrorists on the border of the provinces of Hama and Homs (Syrian Arab Republic) with the latest cruise missiles H-101,” the Russian Defense Ministry stated on its Facebook page.
(This first appeared in July.)
“As a result of the missile strike, 3 large warehouses of weapons and ammunition, as well as a command post of terrorists near the town of Akerbat were destroyed. This was confirmed by data of objective control. The strikes with the latest high-precision missiles H-101 were made from the range of about 1,000 km.”