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Sighting of R-166-0.5 signals vehicle affirms inflow of Russian military into Syria

September 16, 2015

By Oryx


The past few days have seen a steep increase of evidence revealing the true extent of direct military involvement by the Russian military on the ground in Syria. The sighting of recently delivered Russian UAVs and Russian BTR-82A infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) in addition to sound fragments confirming Russian military personnel directly participated in one of regime’s offensives in the Lattakia Governorate all proved Russia was deeper involved in the Syrian Civil War than many previously thought.

The true extent of Russia’s commitment in aiding the regime was further revealed by the frequent transits of a large number of Russian landing ships bound for Syria through the strait of Bosphorus along with at least fifteen flights made by Russian Air Force An-124s strategic airlifters to Lattakia. These ships and aircraft brought large numbers of vehicles, equipment and personnel to Syria. In order to house the Russian contingent, Hmeemeem/Bassel al-Assad IAP has been turned into a Russian military base and is currently being reconstructed to allow the deployment of land and air assets.

Newly published images showing a Russian R-166-0.5 (ultra) high-frequency signals (HF/VHF) vehicle driving through Syria’s coastal region now leaves little to no doubt on Russia’s intentions in Syria. The R-166-0.5 provides jam-resistant voice and data communications over a long range, enabling Russian troops to communicate with their bases in the coastal strongholds of Tartus and Lattakia while operating far inland.

The vehicle can be seen escorted by Syrian military personnel, likely belonging to the National Defence Force (NDF). Far more interesting however is the soldier sitting near the open hatch of the vehicle. Seemingly unaware that a photo is being taken, he is wearing the Russian Army’s standard digital flora uniform, once again proving that we’re truly dealing with Russian military personnel.

On the rear of the vehicle, darker olive paint has been used to conceal the tactical number of the R-166-0.5, eliminating any chance to identify the brigade the vehicle belongs to. Concealing the tactical number or any other identification marks became standard practice during the Ukrainian conflict.


According to an unofficial Russian Army brigade TOE (Table of Organization & Equipment), a total of eight R-166-0.5 signals (HF/VHF) vehicles equip the communications battalion of a brigade. The sighting of the R-166-0.5 thus means that a brigade HQ or, at least, a reinforced battalion (so-called Battalion Tactical Team) of Russian combat troops has recently arrived in Syria.

Some of the specifications of the R-166-0.5 (an example operated by the Russian Army can be seen below) as translated from this Russian Army fact-sheet:

Max range:

HF, stationary (with deployed antenna) – up to 1000 km

HF, on the move – up to 250 km

UHF, stationary – up to 70 km

UHF, on the move – up to 25 km

Frequency range:

HF – 1.5-29.99999 MHz

UHF – 30-107.975 MHz”


As new information on Russia’s secretive operation in Syria continues to come to light, the deployment to Syria is yet to be strongly condemned by any nation. Although the U.S. has so far been watching with growing concern, warning Russia that its operation might further escalate the Syrian Civil War, it appears to have no real answer to the Russian operation in Syria. Unwilling to provide the Free Syrian Army with MANPADS, and with the majority of the mere sixty U.S. trained FSA fighters already out of action, the U.S. might have sidelined itself in Syria for good.


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  1. Einar Bjarnason

    Hello good folks, I’d be more concerned about this intervention, but consider how presence of Christian troops will play out in the area, as the war has in effect been a Shiite/Sunny religious war since the arrival of the ISIS and the Hesbollah in 2013. Jihadists have long claimed Western intervention is – crusaders activity. And have been painting the fight, as fight for Islam. I’m referring to the Sunny Jihadists – but they tend to define Shiites as non believers. Now Christian troops are aiding – the Hesbollah and the Syrian troops. I suspect – this will have significant impact in the Middle-East, where the wast majority are Sunny Arab. May make it easier for Jihadists to recruit. The net effect could hence be the opposite, of strengthening the Jihadists through appearing to prove their rhetoric right, that they’re fighting for “our faith.” I fear in short – – the overall effect, shall be to expand the war, not bringing it closer to completion. And moreover that it may increase the chances that it shall – spread further.

  2. Dale

    You confuse me with HF /VHF/ UHF. Then you show specs of HF/VHF.
    30-108 is VHF. UHF starts around 300mhz. VHF 30-299.99mhz

    Not being critical just wanted to advise. I love your work. Please don’t take me wrong.

  3. boggled

    Kind of strange that you have all these anti Israel and anti Democracy groups screaming about human rights abuses, Guantanamo, bombing Palestinian UN schools ( that were storing Hamas rockets in the basement), etc as outrageous and using propaganda and lies to make them seem more then what they are.

    BUT when you question them about Assad or Uncle vova or Iranian abuses (Beslan, Chechan Wars, Russian show trials, Russian Prisons, 300 Journalists murdered in Russia since the fall of USSR, ASSad torture and murder of civilians, etc. ) the most vocal human rights activists are all of a sudden silent and have no history of speaking out against that.

    Another strange item, ISIS is led By a Georgian Chechan (a russian) and it has 1800 Russian citizens fighting for ISIS ( more then any other non African, non Middle Eastern nation) and the Kremlin sponsored media machine proclaims that ISIS is an American created group.
    Then you have the Russian military flooding into Syria (with anti aircraft weapons which aircraft ISIS and the rebels fighting against ASSad do not have) to prop up a corrupt failed leader of Syria and proclaim their fight is against ISIS to the global community which has a lot of their citizens in it.
    ISIS is a FSB created terror group, and now the Kremlin (who thought it was fine terrorists were dying in another country, just so long as they were not killing Muscovites) is wanting to wage a war and eliminate them before the chickens come home to roost and end up attempting to make Russia the new Islamic State.

    Crazy Russian world, I do not see how Uncle Vova and his sponsored media keeps their lies straight.

    Fare thee well

    • boggled

      I guess that is why he approved Peskov’s 100 million USD dacha for a guy that makes officially less then 150k a year salary, that ends when Putin does.

      Fare thee well

      • Bob

        “Georgian Chechan (a russian)” which is he then? He can’t be all three, a Georgian is probably closer in ethnic and mentality to a Chechen than a Russian but still different. I don’t get all this hand wringing about how Assad is being helped. True he is a ba*tard, just like Saddam, a useful one too depending on what the agenda was at the time. No he’s not a democrat, not one of them in the middle east is, apart from Israelis, but the liberal pro democracy camp who want it at any cost seem to not realise how someone such as Assad well text to different, but the encourage the protests any way either not understanding the consequences of not caring, as long as we get a pro democracy movement and throw out Assad (replace with and dictator’s name as appropriate) as soon as possible. We then get the situation we have now where the movement is hijacked by not so moderates who to all intents and purposes are worse than the guy you want out. Do you really think in the long term Russia cars if Assad is in power or not? They care about the weapons contracts, a base in the area. I’d anything Moscow has tried to get the opposition to talk with Assad’s side. They just refuse to, but in all reality in order to get rid of Assad in a reliable way they will have to talk.

        • boggled

          They are all Soviets or in its current form Russian.
          So yup, can be all three.
          ASSad is as corrupt as a three dollar bill.
          People tried to talk to him and he responded with military and murder from the beginning.
          He should have taken his 10 embezzled billion dollars and moved to a dacha in Sochi.
          Russia does not want Syria to become a Jordan, they would get thrown off their base.
          They want that base desperately and in order to do that, they have to keep ASSad in power.
          And they like the weapons they can sell Hezbollah at marked up rates.
          Keep them happy, they get Iranian weapons contracts.
          Russia wants ASSad in power.

          Russia has made hints they will help Assad to quit, but only on their terms.
          Meaning they get to dictate what happens in another country that is not their own.
          Not happening.
          This is a doomed endeavor just like his Ukraine land bridge project.
          Uncle Vova and his elite have a long walk off a short plank coming up.
          Get ready for a Russian civil war, because it is coming.

          Fare thee well

          • biggai

            My very Democrat American frend. We saw the result of the ,, democratic ” American interventions in Siria, Libia, Irak, Tunisia. Stable countries yet not democratic, stable with a god living standard, transformed in haotic reservoirs for terorist, ISIS, al-Kaidac and fammishing refugies.

          • boggled

            biggai, if their was not a will to change those countries by the people living in them, it would have never happened no matter how much propaganda the USA threw at it.

            The people were unhappy, they revolted.
            The USA provided assistance and protection, but they did not begin the revolt.
            The dictator embezzling from its country and its people living in less then normal conditions were what caused people to revolt.
            So no, they were not stable countries, no matter what you want to believe from antiDemocracy propaganda.

            Fare thee well

  4. Kent

    ISIS is a sponsored by Russia? what crazy stupidity is this?… then we have to conclude that the CIA founded the Taliban and Osama bin Laden which does make sense as far as the 1980 Afghanistan war proxy war goes. But i think the Russians just wanna be part of the Syrian Future and Weapons business + their naval base. That’s all!

    • boggled

      Yup, Kent, sorry to break it to you, it is true.
      I would not say the USA founded the Taliban but I will admit they funded it and supplied it in keeping the Soviets from stretching its borders to new territories by starting wars.
      OBL is why Russian mothers demanding the Kremlin bring their boys home and end the Kremlin’s imperialistic ambitions.
      And Afghanistan was in a state of the Taliban not knowing what they wanted, except to control and increase the sales of their poppies.

      The Kremlin does not want to see those items you listed fail.
      They want to prevent Syria from becoming a Jordan, which will see RF losing another warm water port.
      They are going to prop up ASSad and hope they can control who his successor will be.
      They won’t be able to, but it is nice to see them dream.

      Fare thee well

  5. Rick1

    Syria is a plain mess. Turkey and Saudis with the help of Obama funded Isis not realizing that it would go this far out of control. This is not the first time this has happened with the hidden agenda for the Middle East. Putin will try and be a hero in the eyes of Europe. If he can bring stability to the region , he will gain a lot of favour with most of the surrounding countries regardless of how he does it. Assad is not a perfect leader or even a good one , but ask yourself if you were in his position with his limited resources how would you deal with this situation. In World War Two we bombed German civilians how is it different

    • boggled

      Just as Israel is right in bombing Hamas, the World was right in bombing German citizens after they supported and encouraged a government to blitzkrieg and murder Jews by the millions, and Attempt to take over all of Europe and Russia.
      Just as America was right in using the nukes to end Japan’s emperor fight to the end which would have been the total destruction of Japan.

      ASSad should have jumped ship 4 years ago and gone and built a dacha in Sochi.

      Fare thee well

  6. Andrew

    Mad Dog, neither of us has direct knowledge of what violence was created by which side at the start of this conflict but what we do have is Snowdon revealing that the US has been trying to destabilise Syria for over a decade. The bogus chemical weapons accusations (pushed so fervently by the creator of this site) are a clear indication that the US and its co-conspirators have a very clear agenda. Even the recent claims of Syrian government use of chlorine is fabrication because the only factory capable of making chlorine is in ‘rebel’ hands.
    Furthermore , every government has its own favourites, not just dictatorships. Is it your view that Iraqi’s weren’t ‘brutalised’ by US troops after the 2003 invasion? Neither Assad nor Saddam can hold a candle to the violence inflicted on people by the US government and its allies.

    • boggled

      Andrew look up The Barzani Clan Abductions of 1983, and you tell me who is more brutal.
      The USA has its faults, however that type of wide scale slaughter is typical of dictatorships.
      Such as Stalin and Holodomor and his Gulags, Mao and his brutality, ASSad, Qaddafi, and Hussein.
      You do know that Hussein in his thirty or so years of dictatorship has close to 2 million deaths of Iraqis on his bloody hands?

      What is the USA kills in Iraq? About 100k in 3 different wars or conflicts?
      And most of them military and terrorist cells.

      You are right, Saddam and ASSad cannot hold a candle to the coalition violence, they hold a flamethrower.

      Fare thee well

      • Andrew

        Boggled: Before a bullet was fired, the US and its allies killed many Iraqi children using sanctions (that actually deprived the Iraqis of vital medicines).
        100 thousand killed in three different wars, eh? Read the Lancet, my friend.
        Are you referring to the thirty years of his dictatorship in which the US supported Hussein? Since these dictatorships are so secretive how did you gather the details of how many were killed? I wasn’t referring to Gulags or Mao. The three dictators you mention were all in the process of doing perceived harm to the US economy and were all targeted for removal since before the days of Bush Junior. If you really want to educate yourself, read about the Yinon plan.
        You could also explain why 7 million internally displaced Syrians haven’t fled the country but have gone to Assad controlled areas for safe haven.

        • boggled

          Andrew: Before a bullet was fired, the US and its allies killed many Iraqi children using sanctions (that actually deprived the Iraqis of vital medicines).
          You do not blame this on Saddam and his government’s refusals to inspectors and the reasons for sanction? Isn’t that kind of flawed?
          They do not put sanctions on someone just because they feel like it.

          Lancet combines figures like you do of civilian deaths that are not due to actual violence from the Coalition, but deaths that are from homicide bombers, already poor infrastructure and hospitals, Iraqi’s breeding like rabbits and having an already poor infant mortality rate, poor water quality from Saddam, chemicals and radioactive armor blown up and thrown down wells by Iraqis, Iraqis putting destroyed deuterium based tank armor plates up as trophies in their homes, and many other items they inflated falsely the numbers of civilian deaths ACTUALLY caused by the conflict and coalition troops.

          Yinon plan is a report and not a guide line.
          Although there are some things that come to pass in it, not all have.
          It does portray the world in the stark realities and gives reasons for why it may be a good idea.
          Of course the criminals, smugglers, and organized crime, and dictators hate there are plans to wipe them out or suppress them.
          There are good reasons for creating and discussing ideas to obtain that objective.
          You do not eliminate Cocaine traffickers by doing studies on the sheep population of NZ.

          As far as IDP, they do not necessarily go to were ASSad’s controls the territory, they go to where the violence and fighting is not.
          I would put your number of 7 million actually closer to 1 million of people that have sought ASSad’s shelter.
          They buy into the proASSad propaganda, like Hamas’ lies, and are not the most intelligent people on the planet, their education for the most part is little better then a 6th grade American, before they are forced to go off and work, fight, or raise a family.

          The nomad’s go where their is food or water.
          There is a reason 3 million are risking life and limb getting smuggled across the Med. among the other 2 million that are in near by regions.

          Shame to see your brainwashed by anti USA Kremlin sponsored media and their lies.
          There are cures for that, it is called actual facts.
          You need to put as much scrutiny on that propaganda as you do on MSM reports.
          Zerohedge is full of soo many lies, that if lies were stones, their boat would sink.
          And you sound like a Zerohedge, RT, ConsortiumNews, globalresearch, veteranstoday kind of guy.

          Fare thee well

        • Mad Dog

          Really Andrew, you believe that line? Saddam did all he could to avoid inspections (for some reason) and he did all he could to keep his brand of family in power. This meant keeping the Shiites under his thumb. Children died because Saddam willed it so, and most of the deaths were….ta da…Shiite children. He also made sure that power and utilities were strictly rationed in the south, like in Basra, just to keep those folks living on the edge.

          As for the Lancet death figures, they have already been discredited. Think about those numbers and then look up the number of combat deaths the US suffered in full blown combat around the world for 3 years. Combat in Iraq was never anything like that , yet Lancet came up with figures that surpassed those US combat deaths! WOW!! Saddam was put under several restrictions because he had no compunctions about killing his own people such as by gassing the Kurds. He and his family and his minions were thugs supreme and we see a lot of those same folks helping ISIS to their dirty deeds.

          Further, how were these dictators doing any kind of harm to the US economy? That is new to me. As for US support, Saddam got it after the Iranian Revolution turned theocrats into dedicated supporters of terror groups and purveyors of radical islamic revolution. Saddam got US support, but the figures show several other countries outspending the US by far. As far as I remember, the US was 12th on the list headed by Germany, the UK, Russia and others (Saddam used mainly Soviet weapons in his wars). Boggled put out a number of facts here, but I really wonder why you wish to support thugs like Assad and Saddam?

          • FkDahl

            The most important support the US gave Iraq under Saddam was to allow Iraqi oil to be shipped out under US flag of convenience. If Iran hit those – war with big Satan.
            And if there is one thing you need for war, especially if you have to import munitions and systems, that is money.

  7. vladimir

    C’est trop facile de dire que la russie prend part et fait de cause pour le gouvernement de bachar et je ne comprend pas pourquoi les etat unis et les européens n’accepte pas de voir les russes combatre daech car c’est de cela qu’il s’agit !!! et logiquement cela devrait etre le bienvenue vue que les états unis n’arrive a rien avec leurs bombardements ils le disent eux meme !!! Alors quel est le probleme ont t’il peur des témoins génant ? qui pourait rendre compte a la planete entiere que les américains ont encouragé les terroristes et les ont meme armé ^^ pour se servir des djihadistes a leurs profit !! Qui achete le pétrole a bon marché des puits sous occupation de daech ? Possez vous les bonnes question bande de crétin sans cervelles ………….

    • boggled

      China buys the oil wells of Iraq, not the USA.
      Russia wants what it wants, which is a Silk road for its smuggling and money laundering operations and a warm water port for its Navy.
      That is what it gets with ASSad in power and preventing Syria from becoming a Jordan like nation.
      They enjoy sponsoring terrorism because it has helped Uncle Vova have his 25 different billion dollar dachas, not to mention the other elites billion dollar palaces.

      To combat an evil dictatorship like ASSad, Uncle Vova, Saddam, you have to sometimes use bad people to do it.
      Better those people of their nations receive the benefits of change then it all sitting in the dictator’s piggy banks.

      Fare thee well, C’est La Vie

  8. Brendan

    Didn’t Russia offer to assist in the quiet succession of Assad so many years ago? But NATO nations refused thinking the country was bound to fall by itself. Sounds like our western leaders gambled on Syrian innocent lives to avoid owning Putin a favor.

    • boggled

      A Virginia State senator involving himself in International affairs instead of the state of Virginia?
      And he is so Far Right wing he even irritates me.
      He uses propaganda acts typical of RT, it is no surprise he is on there.
      He is so antiWoman he is a bigot.
      HE even disgust me in his tactics and his policies.
      He is praising ASSad in the letter he wrote him, and here he is praising vova for sending thousands of Russians to fight for ASSad’s corrupt embezzling dictatorship and widescale murder of civilians.

      Fuck xuhlio nuts one and two, and I will make sure others I know in the region see this.
      This guy should not be in public service, and he will not be much longer.
      He will be lucky to have a job at Starbucks in his next career.

      Fare thee well

      • FkDahl

        He is anti woman? You bring this up as an argument when fighting ISIS? OMFG…
        Well you see , if you fight evil like ISIS, you sometimes have to ally with sordid characters.

        • boggled

          His antiWoman stance is worse than Saudi Arabia, and theirs is not great.
          He is not worth the paper a parrot poops on, let alone a seat in Virginia’s Senate.
          He is so far right, he makes the Ann Coultier look like a pussycat.
          As far as fighting ISIL, I would rather USA and BHO use the force he has at his disposal then ally with ASSad and Uncle Vova and Iran.
          BHO allied himself with Muslim Brotherhood which was evil beyond compare and the only way he was forced to change his alliance was MB were caught on TV stating their attack America in the near future standpoint and BHO could not let that go for his being the leader of the USA, he would have ended up gone to prison for treason for putting them in power (which I think he should be).

          Fare thee well


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