Russia has for the first time deployed two interceptor jets capable of carrying the hyped Kinzhal hypersonic missile for war games in Syria, media reported Friday.
“A pair of MiG-31K aircraft with the ability to use the latest hypersonic missiles from the Kinzhal complex flew from Russian airfields to the Russian airbase Khmeimim in Syria for exercises,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said as quoted by Interfax.
The MiG-31Ks joined other warplanes and submarines in the eastern Mediterranean Sea as the British Royal Navy’s carrier strike group carries out its first anti-Islamic State mission and a U.S. Navy destroyer enters the region following NATO maritime patrols in the Black Sea.
According to the Defense Ministry's Zvezda broadcaster, the Russian exercises included an Il-38 and Tu-142MK anti-submarine aircraft, as well as Tu-22M3 supersonic bombers.
Its naval forces were bolstered by the missile cruiser Moskva and the frigates Admiral Essen and Admiral Makarov as well as the Stary Oskol and Rostov-on-Don submarines.
Footage shared by Zvezda showed the MiG-31Ks taking off and landing, and the Khmeimim commander greeting its pilots.
MiG-31K interceptor jets last year test-fired the Kinzhal (Dagger) missile during military drills overseen by President Vladimir Putin.
Putin has touted the Kinzhal and other missile systems as “invincible” weapons that could evade enemy defenses as he declared Russia’s superiority in the field.
The Islamic State is a terrorist organization banned in Russia.