Russia has deployed its advanced spy plane TU-214R in the Hmeimim military base in Latakia province, in northwest Syria, CNN reported Wednesday. A U.S. official told CNN that the reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft is one of the country's most advanced such plane and has been deployed for the past several days.
The plane's deployment was first reported by the Aviationist website, which tracks military aircraft worldwide. It said that the advanced Russian aircraft is capable of using its radars and sensors to track hidden or concealed targets. The U.S. official did not discuss the aircraft's specific capabilities, but noted that Washington believes its sensor suite is highly advanced, CNN reported.
According to the Aviationist, the aircraft is an "advanced spy plane" with "all-weather radar systems and electro optical sensors that produce photo-like imagery of large parts of the ground." It can also supervise electronic signals and communications of enemy forces. With such an ability, it could also possibly give the Russians greater power to monitor U.S. aircraft in Syria, the anonymous official told CNN.
The move reportedly comes after the Kremlin intensified airstrikes in northwest Syria, dropping as many as 100 bombs a day, according to U.S. estimates.