7, July 2017
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is pleased with the “high reliability” of the country’s new Raduga KH-101 cruise missiles, after a number of them were successfully used against terrorist positions in Syria.
“The application of this missile showed a very high degree of reliability. This is really the most modern weapon, with high-precision and high-power, and a decent range of 4,500 kilometers,” Putin said during a meeting of Russia’s Commission on Military Technical Cooperation with Foreign States on Thursday.
The comments came a day after the new breed of air-launched missiles, fired from Tu-95 strategic bomber jets 1,000 kilometers away, successfully hit Daesh targets on the border between Syria’s Hama and Homs provinces.
Putin said the Russian military should boost its defensive capabilities by developing more modern weapons of Kh-101’s quality and, in doing so, use the country’s combat experience from the ongoing anti-terror efforts in Syria.
“Russian weapons are demonstrating reliability and great opportunities during the anti-terror operation in Syria… It is necessary to carefully analyze this combat experience both for the modernization of existing systems and for the development of promising types of military products,” he said.
Raduga made its combat debut in November 2015, when Tu-160 bombers fired 16 of them at Daesh targets across Syria. The missile is capable of carrying high-explosive, penetrating or cluster warhead, while its KH-102 variant can be equipped with nuclear warheads. The missile’s accuracy for moving targets is said to be less than 10 meters.
The KH-101’s design coupled with its use of radar absorbing materials and other stealth technologies allow it to get past the enemy’s defenses and hit targets deep inside its territory from the distance. This means Russia is now capable of carrying out long-range precision strikes, an ability that US Air Force commanders have been long boastful about.
In mid-April, US President Donald Trump ordered US Navy warships in the Mediterranean Sea to fire around 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield in retaliation for a chemical attack that the White House claimed was carried out by the Syrian government.
Both Russia and the US have been leading military campaigns in Syria. Unlike Washington, however, Moscow only intervened upon a request from Damascus and has coordinated its airstrikes with Syrian military forces to avoid civilian casualties.