Russia strengthens Humaymim, Tartus bases in Syria

In late September, it will be four years since the beginning of the Russian operation in Syria. The Russian military helped the government forces regain control over 90 percent of the national territory and built two strategically important military facilities.

Russia strengthens Humaymim Tartus bases in Syria Ilyushin Il-76 MD (Picture source: Vitaly V. Kuzmin )

Humaymim airbase and Tartus naval base consolidated the Russian military presence in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. They provided direct access for the Russian aviation and navy to other regions. For example, Ilyushin Il-76 and Antonov An-124 airlifters can take off from Humaymim and reach North or Central Africa, the Izvestia daily writes. "Previously, extreme heat did not always allow to start up the engines. The aircraft were in the open and heated up so much that the automatics barred engine start-up," the commander of a combined air regiment told the newspaper.

There is no such problem any longer, as hangars were erected for aircraft. They are small arched constructions which reliably protect the aircraft from sunrays and makeshift bombs dropped by drones. The shelters are equipped with fuel, electricity supplies and air conditioning. It is much easier and comfortable to prepare the aircraft for sorties. The construction of similar shelters for helicopters will soon be completed.

At present, the Russian aircraft in Syria are not engaged in combat. They make only training flights. However, multirole Sukhoi Su-35s are constantly on duty in Humaymim to repel potential air threats. "Our aircraft ensure air defense of important Russian facilities. We take off to accompany foreign intelligence aircraft which come close to Humaymim and Tartus," the commander of Su-35s wing said. Besides fighter jets, the Russian facilities also protect S-400 launchers, Tor missiles and Pantsir missile guns. The commander of an antiaircraft regiment said his men see the targets in a radius of several hundred kilometers.

Security remains the main task for the Russian command. Each landing or departing aircraft is accompanied by Mil Mi-35 helicopters. They ensure security in the most dangerous flight sections where ground fire is the most effective.

Humaymim infrastructure considerably improved in four years. Several comfortable canteens were built for the military, as well as a bakery, baths, and laundries. The Russian military are specifically proud of the water treatment system which produces several thousand liters of potable water a day and bottles it.

The logistical base in Tartus developed into a full-scale naval base in four years. It ensures year-round presence of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean Sea. Warships and submarines come here for an overhaul, stocks and rest. The construction of an overhaul workshop is nearing completion in Tartus. Navy representatives said it can service various units and mechanisms, as well as arms of warships and submarines. The navymen said the new facility can overhaul any warship, submarine or vessel of the Russian Navy.

The workshop is a big hangar with several production lines inside. Tools and equipment are being installed and the work will complete shortly. Production lines can engage both in simple overhaul and service sophisticated electronic equipment, the Izvestia said.

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