… from Press TV, Tehran
[ Editor’s Note: What the true mission of these planes being moved in is not clear from the announcement. They could be part of a normal rotational and deployment schedule. There is no mention of missile defense for the base, anything being added, but from this older Google map image, nothing can be seen.
If a shooting war got cranked up with Turkey, having Russian planes in Turkey’s rear that were undefended would be a big no no. But as we have seen, Russia has the capability of flying reinforcements in quickly if needed, which is easier to do when you do not have a large network of bases to service, hence the one major one in Syria.
Turkey has a large air force, and Russia does not have enough missiles in theater to shoot them all down. Quality certainly counts at the beginning of a fight, but quantity can often win at the end of the day, and more so in a multi-front conflict, where neither Iraq or Iran can contribute much.
Between the Saudis, Gulf States and Turkey, they have as large an air and armored force as the US, and they are in theater. I was shocked to learn this week from Gordon that the UAE alone has 1000 planes.
Could they all coordinate as a combined force? That would be a big if, but they could do well in a war of attrition. Col. Hanke reminded everybody today of the 190,000-man Russian force on full maneuvers in Southern Russia. Their exercise was moved up a few days due to the Turkish shelling of Syria.
If Turkey put armor into Syria and engaged the Russian planes to provide air cover, would NATO consider Russian counter attacks on the Turks an attack against NATO? We hope that cooler heads prevail… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … February 20, 2016 –
The Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday that Moscow has deployed several fighter jets and a transport helicopter to Russia’s airbase in Armenia near the border with Turkey.
Four fourth-generation Mikoyan MiG-29 aircraft and a number of modernized MiG-29S bombers and a Mil Mi-8MT helicopter have been sent to the base.
Located at Erebuni airport outside the capital, Yerevan, the Russian base already has nine fourth-generation MiG-29 planes capable of carrying a payload of up to 4,000 kilograms of weapons. The aircraft also have larger fuel tanks. The Armenian capital is located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Armenia’s border with Turkey.
The announcement came a day after a Russian draft resolution that called for an immediate end to Turkey’s shelling and military actions against Syria was turned down at the United Nations Security Council.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday that Russia expresses “regret that this draft resolution was rejected,” and that Moscow considers the cross-border shelling carried out by Turkey as “unacceptable.”
According to a Kremlin statement, President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Friday held a “detailed discussion of the situation in Syria particularly due to the escalation in tensions on the Syrian-Turkish border” with his security council.
The Kremlin spokesman also underlined that Russia would go on assisting Syrian armed forces “in their offensive actions against terrorists, against terrorist organizations.”
The Russian involvement aims to provide “stability in the fight with terrorism, to preserve the territorial integrity of the country (Syria) and the region,” Peskov stated.
Since late September 2015, Russia has been conducting airstrikes against foreign-backed militants in Syria upon a request by the Damascus government.
Turkey, however, is among the main supporters of militants fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Ankara has also been accused on numerous occasions of being involved in illegal oil trade with the Takfiri Daesh terrorists.
Ankara has also been shelling positions of Kurdish fighters in northern Syria over the past days in an attempt to stop them from reaching the Turkish border.