January 3, 2017:
Since late 2015 Russia has been showing off its new and upgraded weapons in Syria and by the end of 2016 the Russians revealed that there were 162 such systems involved. The Russians did admit that at least ten systems displayed problems in Syria that required production and export sales for these ten had to be halted until the defects could be fixed. The majority of these 162 weapons performed well enough that Russian state controlled media was ordered to describe the campaign in Syria as a wise business investment. That’s because much of the billion dollars the Syrian operation has cost Russia so far is likely to be recovered because of the news of how well Russian weapons performed will bring in over $7 billion in additional arms sales. This is the result of new Russian weapons gaining credibility because of the combat experience. This makes it easier to get export sales and always has. New Russian warplanes in Syria, particularly Su-34 fighter-bombers (similar to the American F-15E) and Su-35S fighters (low budget competition for the F-35) as well as electronic warfare systems like the Tu-204 (similar to the American RC-135) and helicopter gunships benefitted most from this because these are among the most profitable and expensive weapons exported. Another important category of weapons, many of its latest (and most exportable) anti-aircraft systems have also shown up in Syria but have not been tested.
Russia did not provide a detailed list of the 162 new systems in Syria although that information will gradually come out as Russian arms sales personnel are provided with details when needed to close a sale. Favorable reports about individual Russian weapons in Syria will also be released to the media gradually, thereby keeping the good news in the news longer.