PutinaEUR( tm) s us air force just use its nuclear bombers to lay waste to the capital of the aEUR~ Islamic State.aEUR( tm) But they also make the regions that have little to do with ISIS.

The Russian air force just pulled off one of the biggest and most complex heavy bomber missions in modern historysending no fewer than 25 Backfire, Bear, and Blackjack bombers on a coordinated, long-range air raid against alleged ISIS forces in Syria.

The Tuesday mission, which launched under the cover of darkness from a base in Ossetia in southern Russia, signaled a significant escalation of Moscows air war in Syriaand heralded the rebirth of Russian heavy bomber squadrons that once had withered from a lack of funding.

The Tuesday mission signaled a significant escalation of Moscows air war in Syriaand heralded the rebirth of Russian heavy bomber squadrons that once had withered from a lack of funding .

Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russias general staff, announced the raid on Tuesday, calling it part of a new scheme[ for] the air campaign.

During a massive airstrike today, 14 important ISIL targets were destroyed by 34 air-launched cruise missile, Gerasimov told, using an alternative acronym for the terror army. The targets destroyed include command post that were used to coordinate ISIL activities in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, munition and supply depots in the northwestern part of Syria.

Idlib and Aleppo are not ISIS strongholds. Indeed, U.S.-backed rebels hold much of both provinces. Russia has maintained all along that its approximately six-week-old intervention in Syria is aimed at defeating ISIS, but in fact many Russian air and weapon strikes have hit rebel groups that resist Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and ISIS.

Russian officials advised U.S. planners at a coalition headquarters in Qatar before the strike, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told. It was the first time the Russians and Americans have put into action an October agreement to coordinate their countries respective operations in Syria.

The raid came the same day Kremlin officials publicly announced that a terrorist act brought down Russian Metrojet 9268 last month over the Sinai Peninsula. ISIS has since taken credit for the attack.

The Russian Defense Ministry released a video depicting three types of Russian bombers arming, taking off, dropping munitions, and then returning to base, escorted along their flight paths by Su-2 7 fighters.

The swing-wing, jet-propelled Tu-2 2M Backfires apparently carried unguided dumb bomb. The video illustrates airmen loading clusters of cruise missile in the bomb bays of the propeller-driven Tu-9 5 Bears and the enormous, swing-wing Tu-1 60 Blackjack planes, which at 177 feet long are the biggest combat airliners ever built.

All three models of bomber can fly thousands of miles while hauling no less than 20 tons of weaponry. Merely China and the United States possess similar heavy warplanes.

Launching 25 bombers on one mission is an impressive endeavour. Russia possesses just 70 Backfires, 58 Bears, and 13 Blackjacks. The 14 Backfires, six Bears, and five Blackjacks that reportedly struck Syria represent a significant portion of the overall fleet. The massive raid is evidence of improving readiness on the part of the Russian air force, which in the 1990 s and early 2000 s grounded the majority of members of its aircraft because it couldnt afford to fuel them or pay their pilots.

By comparison, on any devoted day 57 of the U.S. Air Forces 77 B-5 2s, 35 of its 60 B-1s, and nine of its 20 B-2 stealth bombers are even flyable, according to statistics from 2013.

And when they do fly, Americas bombers often sortie alone or in pairs, only rarely coming together in large numbers. Seven B-5 2s flew together to launch cruise missile at Iraq in the early hours of Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and a group of eight of the giant warplanes recurred the feat on the first day of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003.

In other terms: This Russian attack was shock and aweon steroids.

Russias bomber raid was certainly impressive, and has propaganda value in addition to bolstering Moscows operations in Syria. When 25 of countries around the world most powerful warplanes attack at the same time, its more than a mere air raid. Its a statement to the whole world.

Read more: www.thedailybeast.com