Some thoughts on the hijink-inspiring Russian cruise missile attack on Syria:
Earlier this week, Russia stepped up its military operations in Syria by launching a volley of land attack cruise missiles (LACMs) against Syrian opposition fighters. This type of attack, similar to a multitude of attacks by the United States, represents the culmination of several political and technological trends, and could herald a moment that many analysts have suggested is a long time in coming: the diffusion of precision LACMs across the international system.
Reports indicate that the Russian (apparently 3M-54 “Klub”) missiles were fired from two missile boats operating in the Caspian Sea, meaning that they needed to travel over a thousand miles of Iranian, Iraqi, and Syrian territory before striking their targets. Launching the missiles from the Caspian may have allowed Russia to avoid problems with the INF Treaty, which restricts development of ground launched cruise missiles.
Article was posted before the news broke that four of the cruise missiles had landed in Iran. Tough luck, that.
Building a bunch of cruise missile capable ships into the Caspian is like some kind of weird Civ IV strategy.
— Robert Farley (@drfarls) October 7, 2015