Russian giant Antonov An-124 air freighters are ready to take off Wednesday, Aug. 17, carrying an array of advanced S-400 and S-300 air defense missiles bound for the new Russian air base just completed at Noji, 50 km from the western Iranian town of Hamedan (Biblical Shushan).
Moscow is getting set to explain to concerned Americans and Israelis that the sophisticated missile systems will not be put in Iranian hands but serve exclusively for defending he new Russian air base just established in Noji to house heavy bombers for air strikes against Islamist terrorists in Syria.
This is the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution that Iran has allowed a foreign military to set up a base on its soil.
Widely reported by the Western media Tuesday were the first sorties of Russian Tu-22M3 long-range bombers and Su-34 tactical bombers from the new Iranian air base for what the Russian Defense Ministry designated “concentrated airstrikes” against Islamic State and Islamist Nusra Front ammunition depots and command-and-control centers in the provinces of Aleppo, Deir Ez-Zour and
Construction work on the Noji air base began in the second week of July. Joint Russian-Iranian engineering teams extended the existing landing strips to accommodate the heavy Tupolev 22M3 bombers and Sukhoi-34 escort fighters. They also set up maintenance workshops and living quarters for the Russian air and ground crews.
Russia deployed Tupolev Tu-22M3 supersonic long-range strategic bombers to the Hamadan airfield in Iran to cut flight times, increase bomb capacity and improve response capabilities of its aircraft taking part in the operation to liberate Aleppo since the outcome of this battle could well determine the future of Syria.
On August 15, an undisclosed number of the Tupolev Tu-22M3s and the Sukhoi Su-34s left the airfield in the Russian town of Mozdok located in the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania and landed at the Hamadan airfield in Iran.
Some have questioned why the Tu-22M3s bombers were not deployed to Hmeymim since the Russian airbase in Syria is closer to Aleppo then Hamadan. The reason is simple. The Tu-22M3s are too heavy to use the airstrip in Hmeymim. But the base played a major part in the latest counterterrorism offensive. The Su-30SM and Su-35S aircraft that provided cover for the Russian bombers deployed to Iran took off from the base in Syria.
This tactic paid off. On August 16, Russian airstrikes destroyed five large ammunition depots with weapons, munitions and fuel, as well as militant training camps near the cities of Serakab, Al-Ghab, Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor cities. In addition, Russian bombers razed to the ground three command and control centers near the cities of Jafra and Deir ez-Zor. A "significant number of militants" were killed in what the Russian Defense Ministry described as a "concentrated airstrike."
Russian Su-34 strike fighters deployed at the Hamadan airbase in Iran carried out airstrikes against Daesh targets in the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor and destroyed two command centers, a Daesh training camp.
All aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces returned to their home bases after carrying out airstrikes on Daesh targets in Deir ez-Zor, the ministry said.
"The Su-35S aircraft based at the Hmeymim airbase [in Syria] provided fighter-bomber air cover for the bombers. After successfully conducting combat missions, all Russian aircraft returned to their home bases."
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed on Tuesday that it had deployed Tu-22M3 bombers and Su-34 strike fighters in Iran and these aircraft have already been used to carried out airstrikes against Daesh in Syria.