‘Low efficiency’: Only 23 Tomahawk missiles out of 59 reached Syrian airfield, Russian MoD says
… from Russia Today, Moscow
[ Editor’s Note: This is a rather strange article from the Russians this far after the event. The number of missiles that struck Syria’s Shayrat air base is of no consequence to us or the story at this point in the post-strike analysis.
We already pretty much knew the first day that there were not enough targets at the base to waste 59 Tomahawks on, unless Trump and the Navy were wanting to clear out some old inventory to get the newer versions of the missiles and make the contractor happy.
Yes folks, the Pentagon will push for unnecessary strikes merely for the PR and to create the need for ungraded munitions. This game includes Israel, who used all of its older inventory cluster bombs during its last Lebanon war, because the US had earlier refused to sell (give) it the newer version while they had a large inventory of the older ones. Welcome to how the real world works.
The Russian assumption is inferred here, but not explicitly stated – that the base was the only target, which it would not be in such an attack. More than a few missiles would have been targeted on Syria’s air defense positions as part of the “practice exercise”, indicating that this strike was for the Pentagon and the Navy.
Russia has said absolutely nothing about the Tomahawks being shot down. VT had a video up early showing them getting hit, before it was taken down by YouTube for a rights claim. Russia also has not wanted to show its radar tracks on all the missiles, which it certainly holds.
There are no security issues involved really for the Russians holding back the radar proof, as their claims on the quality of their air defense technology state they are capable of tracking a large number of incoming targets. So Russia is holding this data confirmation back for some reason, even at the risk of being “misleading by omission”.
Assad had mentioned that part of the success of the US strike was due to the loss of missile batteries taken over by opposition forces after they seized territory early in the war. This was a weak response, as Russia had plenty of time to have shipped some of its stored reserves of these older-model missiles to replace those losses.
Assad made no specific mention of how many of his air defense missiles were fired or any information on the hits on the Tomahawks. All we had were some photos of missile parts on the ground. While the Russian MoD has been credible on its Syria War reporting, this event shows they are holding back cards on the effectiveness of their air defense… Jim W. Dean ]
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– First published … May 18, 2017 –
The runway, taxiways and the Syrian aircraft on the parking apron remained undamaged, Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman said in a statement. The ministry described the combat efficiency of the strike as “quite poor.”
“On April 7, 2017, between 3:42am and 3:56am Moscow time, two US Navy destroyers (USS Porter and USS Ross) fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Shayrat airfield in Homs Province, Syria, from an area near the Island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea.
“According to our sources, only 23 of them reached the Syrian airbase,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said, adding that the points of impact of the other 36 cruise missiles remain unknown.
The ministry also slammed the US actions as “a gross violation” of the memorandum of understanding signed by Moscow in Washington back in 2015 to prevent flight incidents in Syrian airspace.
READ MORE: Russia suspends flight safety memorandum over Syria after US missile strike – Foreign Ministry
All justifications for the strike are “groundless claims,” the ministry continued.
“Russia made an earlier statement that the Syrian forces did not use chemical weapons. We are waiting for clarification from the US on undisputed – as they claim – evidence that it was the Syrian Army that deployed chemical weapons in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.”
The ministry also pointed to the events that followed the strikes, a large-scale offensive against the Syrian Army carried out by Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front terrorists.
“We hope that this offensive was in no way coordinated with the US,” the ministry said.
“A number of measures aimed at strengthening and improving the effectiveness of the Syrian air defense system will be implemented in the near future in order to protect the vital parts of the Syrian infrastructure,” Konashenkov said.
Jim W. Dean is VT Editor Emeritus. He was an active editor on VT from 2010-2022. He was involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. He now writes and posts periodically for VT.
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