Russia RFVKS MiG 31K RF 95201 Alexander Rybalchenko 640RF VKS Tu-22M3 and MiG-31K in Syria

Four Russian Federation - Aerospace Forces (RF VKS) Tupolev Tu-22M3 long range bombers and one MiG-31K interceptor arrived at the Khmeimim air base in the Syrian Arab Republic to participate in a naval exercise of the inter-fleet grouping of the Navy in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The exercise is being conducted as part of a series of naval exercises of the Russian Navy in operationally important areas of the world’s oceans, as well as in the waters of the seas adjacent to Russian territory. As part of the active phase of the exercise, surface ships, submarines and naval aviation of the Russian Navy fleets work out combat training tasks in the waters of the Okhotsk, Black and Barents Sea, acting according to a single control plan.

The exercise is supervised by the Russian Minister of Defence, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, who has also inspected a report of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral N. Evmenov regarding the coordination of vessels of the Russian Navy and aircraft of the RF VKS with the goal to defeat ship groups of a mock enemy, search for foreign submarines, establish air superiority and control over the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea as well as practice firing at sea and air targets using artillery and anti-submarine weapons.

Russia RFVKS Tu 22M3 RF 94149 Alexander Tarasenkov 480In total, according to the report of Admiral N. Evmenov, more than 140 warships and support vessels, more than 60 aircraft, 1,000 units of military equipment and about 10 thousand military personnel are involved in the series of naval exercises. Out of this number, more than 15 warships of the Pacific, Northern and Black Sea fleets are involved in the Mediterranean Sea from the Russian Navy port in Tartus, including two Slava class missile cruisers of the Project 1164 Atlant Varyag and Marshal Ustinov, the Admiral Gorshkov class frigate of the Project 22350 Admiral Kasatonov, the Krivak IV class frigate of the Project 11356R/М Admiral Grigorovich, two Udaloy class destroyers of the Project 1155 Admiral Tributs and Vice-Admiral Kulakov, plus several support vessels, as well as over 30 aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces.

The Tu-22M3 bombers all carried a single Kh-22/32 supersonic air launched long range cruise missile and the MiG-31K carried a 9A7660 nuclear-capable hypersonic ballistic missile of the Kinzhal complex.

Details of the aircraft arriving at Khmeimim air base are:

Tu-22M3: RF-94149/15 Red, RF-94144/16 Red, RF-94157/28 Red and RF-34035/50 Red
MiG-31K: RF-95201/99 Red (former MiG-31DZ 80 Blue)

Photos by Alexander Rybalchenko and Alexander Tarasenkov/AviMedia (both via

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