Russia’s Toughest Army Jets Are Dropping 1.5-Ton Bombs Like There’s No Tomorrow

The joint exercise Zapad 2021 involved more than 80 aircraft that conducted air strikes with heavy bombs 7 photos
Photo: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
Zapad 20221Tu-22M3Su034Tu-22M3Tu-22M3Zapad 2021
Bomber and fighter jets firing their weapons, swarms of helicopters dropping cargo, tanks blowing up anti-tank ditches – these aren’t scenes from a movie, but what has been taking place for the past couple of days, in Russia. When it comes to military exercises, Russia doesn’t play. Some of its best aircraft, warships and tanks went all out during Zapad 2021.
The joint strategic exercise (JSE) of the Russian and Belarusian armies is organized every two years, and Zapad 2021 is the final stage of this year’s training, taking place from September 10 to 16. Almost 200,000 servicemen are participating in the joint exercise, unfolding at nine training grounds on Russian territory, and five training grounds in Belarus.

Russia’s supersonic, long-range missile carrier bomber, the Tu-23M3, was among the 80 military aircraft taking part in the training. Crews of six Tu-23M3 bombers, together with Su-35S patrol fighters, carried out attacks against mock enemies, dropping 1.5-ton bombs from over 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) and even 6,500 feet (2,000 meters).

The Su-34 bombers from the Western Military District (WMD) also came out to play. After the crews of Su-24MR reconnaissance aircraft located and transmitted the ground target coordinates, the Su-34 bombers destroyed enemy assets such as command posts, equipment and infrastructure elements, with 550-pound (250 kg) bombs.

One of the most spectacular operations was a massive air strike carried out by the assault, long-range and operational-tactical aircraft of the two military forces, including 16 Su-34 bombers and six Tu-23M3 bombers.

A squadron of Su-25SM3 aircraft carried out the bombing operation, using the latest navigation system and electronic-optical guidance system, which enables the accurate detection of ground targets even at night, at a large distance. The Su-34 fighter-bombers also hit critical targets, such as armored vehicles, with 24 bombs, 1,000 lbs (500 kg) each. The attacks were carried out from almost 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) in the air.

The JSE Zapad 2021 continues until September 16. With 80 aircraft, 290 tanks, 15 ships and 240 guns involved, Zapad is a real tour de force for the two armies.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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