“Drying” and “raptors”: how different operations of the USA and Russia against ISIS

“Drying” and “raptors”: how different operations of the USA and Russia against ISIS

The op

The Russian military and the U.S. contingent in the coalition in Syria declared a common enemy: banned in Russia “Islamic state”. “We are going to suppress and, eventually, destroy the forces of the “Islamic state”, with permanent massive airstrikes,” formulated in September 2014 objectives of the operation President Barack Obama.

“Cleanse Syria from the militants, the terrorists and to protect Russia from possible terrorist attacks,” he called in November 2015 Vladimir Putin’s future HQs of the Russian Federation in the region. However, he clarified that there is another objective: “to stabilize the legitimate government and create conditions for a political compromise.”

Russian forces support the Syrian government army, the number of which is from 150 to 200 thousand troops. At the disposal of supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to international experts, more than 4 thousand tanks (T-55, T-72) and about 400 aircraft.

Coalition troops cover from the sky army of Iraq (its total population is estimated at 800 thousand persons, 389 of tanks), the Syrian Kurds (more than 70 thousand people) and opposition forces (estimated at 40-60 thousand people).

Russian planes in 100 days campaign has made 5,7 thousand sorties. The average density of crashes is 50-60 a day. American aircraft for the first 100 days of operation has made about 3,5 thousand sorties (a total of over 65 thousand). The average population density of 120 sorties per day: us military trying to keep in the air force for support of units of the Syrian opposition and the Kurds.


The warring parties have aircraft based on operational requirements and available locations. Use the permanent Russian military base in Syria in Latakia, in the immediate vicinity of the theater of operations. At the airport Hamim alert carry about 4 thousand personnel and over 70 aircraft. Among them the fourth generation fighters su-30 and su-35, agile and fast front-line bomber su-24 and su-34, su-25.

“By and large, the existing aircraft allow us to solve the challenges they face,” — says military expert Michael Khodarenok. Su-24 can carry up to 7.5 tons of various weapons, including high explosive free-fall bombs to a distance of 560 km Capabilities of the su-34 is wider than 8 tons of bombs it can deliver at distances up to 1100 km For their use, notes Khodarenok, and needed a base close to the operation. The bulk of combat sorties accounted for by these machines.

In Syria also used strategic bombers Tu-22 taking off from the airfield in Mozdok, Tu-95 and Tu-160, based at Engels. According to Odarenko, use strategic aviation in Syria is not really effective. “Tu-22, maximum bomb load, with 22 tons of bombs, just wouldn’t flew from Mozdok. And those 8 tons, which allow him to bomb Syria can be hung and su-24”, — the expert explains. Tu-22 for the week made a total of 23 departure. However, according to Hadareni, the use of strategic bombers for a demonstration of combat readiness of all branches of aviation.

The U.S. military does not have its own base in the territory of the conflict. Their planes they launch from airfields in Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, the UAE and four aircraft carriers of the Fifth fleet of the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf and the Red sea. This gives you the opportunity to use larger airplanes than there are Hmamin at the Russian base in Syria.

During the conflict in the skies over ISIL appeared American fourth generation fighters F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-15 Eagle, inferior to the Russian su-30 on all indicators, as well as the latest F-22 Raptor fifth generation that has no analogues in the world. The advantages of the F-22 can be attributed to the low visibility, supersonic cruising speed and super-maneuverability.

For strategic bombing of the United States uses B-1 Lancer. The bomber can fly without refueling for 12 thousand km, that is to start with a base far from the conflict zone. During the campaign B-1 made about 5 thousand sorties.

Russian air force also used the assault plane su-25. It is more maneuverable and quick than used in the conflict zone Americans A-10 Thunderbolt II. Su-25 is better suited in the presence of air defense the enemy. But the “Islamic state” of such weapons is not. The su-25 carries a gun GSH-2-30, which is inferior in firepower the weapons the A-10.

Attack aircraft a-10 is heavier than the Russian equivalent, and not as well protected. However, on Board A-10 — serious weapons: Maverick missile to attack armored vehicles and seven-barreled 30-mm gun GAU-8. It is more effective against enemy troops and enemy vehicles on the ground. During operation A-10 flew more than 7 million departures.

Navy and missiles

With sea of the Russian aviation force is covered by the operational ships of the Navy task force led by the missile cruiser “Varyag”. Besides him, the connection includes the missile ship “Dagestan”, small missile ship “Grad svijazhsk”, “Uglich” and “Velikiy Ustyug”, submarine B-237 “Rostov-on-don” the black sea fleet. Exploration carried out by means of standard fleet and with the help of the reconnaissance ship “Vasily Tatischev”.

To support air group of the Russian ships launch cruise missiles. In October 2015, and included in operational connection ships first launched 26 cruise missiles “Caliber” to 11 goals for the distance of over 1500 km in a month for another 18 missiles were fired in the same direction. The last “shot” submarine “Rostov-on-don” — she fired four rockets at targets inside the Islamic state.

In total, announcing the launch of 48 missiles.

With two US aircraft carriers from September was launched 47 missiles.

The American aircraft carrier “George Bush”, “Charles Vinson”, “Arleigh Burke” and “Philippine sea” working in the conflict zone, provide takeoff and landing deck of the multipurpose aircraft F/A-18 °F Super Hornet and start on positions of the Islamic state, cruise missiles “Tomahawk”.

Russian cruise missile — the latest development of the military-industrial complex. They were put into service only in 2015 and not used in military conflicts. Compared with the “Tomahawk” “Caliber” has a more powerful warhead, high accuracy and range.

Value of launches of cruise missiles of Russia and the USA cannot be compared, says military expert Michael Khodarenok. “Russia to date, no non-nuclear means hitting the shore. The presence of such missiles is a pass into the military privileged powers”, — says the expert. According to him, for the USA launch of the “Tomahawk” is not the most important event, as these cruise missiles are used in combat for over 20 years. However, according to Hadareni, it makes no sense to use expensive and high-precision weapons against terrorists: “ISIS is simply no object, which would need to be hit by such missiles.”

The price of the operation

According to the Pentagon, on the conduct of hostilities in Syria, the US spends every day, about 11.4 million dollars. Throughout the operation from the country’s budget was spent $5.8 billion On the war in the Persian Gulf (against the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein in 1991) Americans spent $2.5 billion.

The Russian military is more economical. According to estimates, per day operation in Syria air group spends about 2.5 million dollars, that is about $300-350 million for the three months. Costs VKS RF associated primarily with the provision of aircraft.

The cost of operations for the U.S. results using more remote from the theater of operations air bases, use of the newest fighter F-22 Raptor, the hours of service which costs $68 thousand dollars, and launching cruise missiles “Tomahawk” from the red sea, which, excluding transportation of two aircraft carriers from the Arabian sea, at a cost of $74 million.

The coalition during the campaign lost only reconnaissance drone downed by the Syrian government army. In addition, one of the Marines killed in the landing, falling into the sea from convertiplane.

Air group Russia lost a su-24 bomber (the downed Turkish armed forces) and catapult pilot who was shot torkamani. During the rescue operation, turkmani shot down the helicopter Mi-8, under the rubble which killed one of the Marines. Under mortar attack ISIS on February 26, 2015 hit the training center in the city of Holmes. The shelling killed a Russian military adviser, whose name was not reported.


VKS RF and coalition forces in a different report about their successes. The Russian military are concentrated in the liberated territories (but not talking about lost). At the briefing of the General staff of the armed forces on 15 January, Lieutenant-General Sergey rudskoy said that over 100 days have been released 217 settlements — of about 1000 square km territory.

The coalition publishes data on the number of the killed terrorists: on January 2016, in the bombings in Northern Syria and Iraq has been destroyed over 22 thousand terrorists of the “Islamic state”. The Ministry of defense simply did not publish General data on destruction of enemy forces.

According to IHS Conflict Monitor, for 2015 the Islamic state has lost about 14% of the territories, most of which are located in the North of Syria and in Iraq. Syrian Kurds air support which provide the coalition forces, were able to increase the controlled territory to 15.8 thousand square kilometres of 186%. “These Russian planes are irrelevant. It is basically the zone of action of the coalition forces,” — says military expert Pavel Felgengauer. “Our government does not fight with the IG, it fights with the opposition, calling them terrorists,” the expert explains.

While it is difficult to draw any conclusions from a course of operation, said Felgengauer, “None of the parties have not reached a decisive strategic advantage, and to calculate percent areas in the conflict — not the best idea”, — the expert believes.

Agree with him Michael Khodarenok. In his opinion, a large number of unnecessary information and political engagement of the media difficult to understand, whether there are military operations. Nevertheless, says Khodarenok, about the turning point in the battle too early.