Russian airbase in Syria destroys over 100 terrorist drones in two years; but who makes them?

Air defense and electronic warfare systems deployed at Russia’s Hmeymim airbase in Syria have shot down or disabled over 100 drones during terrorists’ attempted attacks on the military facility over the past two years, TASS reports quoting Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov speaking on Friday.

“Terrorists are trying to break through the Hmeymim base’s air defenses. If we speak about figures, 118 unmanned aerial vehicles of terrorist groupings have been destroyed over the past two years, including 58 drones since January 1 this year,” the Russian general said.

A question that has to be asked here is who is supplying the materials for the construction of these drones, especially since they were fired from Idlib. Idlib remains the mainstay of Turkish supported militants and jihadists. As Turkey is arming these groups, it is only logical to assume that components are being given to the groups, which then assemble them and deploy them against the Russians, the supposed friend of Turkey.

Most drones were launched from the Idlib security zone, in particular, from the communities of al-Latamna, Khan Sheikhoun and other areas, he said.

“Moreover, our Pantsyr-S1 and Tor-M2 air defense missile systems also thwart terrorists’ attempts to deliver a strike with rockets. Since January 1, 2019, 27 rocket-propelled shells of terrorist groupings launched mostly from the Idlib security area have been destroyed,” the general added to TASS.

These 27 rockets were struck by 31 missiles of the Pantsyr-S1 and Tor-M2 surface-to-air missile systems, the Defense Ministry spokesman said.

“That is, the striking efficiency is close to 1: one target, one missile,” the general stressed.

Recent attacks

TASS notes that on August 11, terrorists attempted a new massive air raid involving five attack unmanned aerial vehicles and one control drone, he said.

“That is, these five drones carried striking elements with explosives, bolts and bars to achieve the maximum destruction effect. One drone can carry up to 10 striking elements fasted to the wings,” Konashenkov said.

The terrorists carried out the latest attack on the Hmeymim air base on September 3, he said.

“This raid involved two drones. Moreover, they approached the air base from different directions. Characteristically, one drone came from the area of the Mediterranean Sea. That is, apparently the drone was launched from a vessel,” the Defense Ministry spokesman said.

Again there are serious issues here. Turkey’s mercenaries have no outlet to the coast, and also have no naval capabilities. Who could have done it?

The Russian general did not rule out that the temporary calm could be related to the liberation of Khan Sheikhoun and Al-Latamna in the Idlib de-escalation zone where workshops for assembling drones and sites for their launches were found, which was demonstrated to foreign journalists.

The air defense systems deployed at Russia’s Hmeymim military base in Syria can strike targets at a range of 250 km, the commander of the anti-aircraft missile regiment based at the airfield said on Thursday.

The air defense regiment’s tasks are to defend facilities on the territory of the Hmeymim air base and the Tartus naval facility against strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles and rocket shells, as well as against tactical aviation and cruise missiles, the commander specified.

“A layered air defense system has been set up here. It comprises S-400 long-range surface-to-air missile systems and Tor-M2 and Pantsyr-S1 short-range complexes,” he said.

These capabilities allow the Russian military to strike all types of air targets at a range of 20 km to 250 km, he specified.

“The Tor-M2 anti-aircraft missile system and the Pantsyr-S1 surface-to-air missile/gun complex effectively cope with the tasks of striking small-size unmanned aerial vehicles with a small radar cross section, and also fast-speed shells of factory-produced and improvised multiple launch rocket systems actively employed by terrorists,” the regiment commander said.

The radio-technical battalion’s radars, as well as the reconnaissance capabilities of the regiment’s command post and the anti-aircraft missile battalions gather all the data on the air situation, the commander said.

“Combat operations are controlled in the fully automated mode, from the time of detecting air objects and locking them on to the time of making a decision to destroy air targets,” the regiment commander said.