Published On: Fri, May 31st, 2013

Russia’s S-300 Surface to Air Missile, Already Deployed and Functional in Syria?

The Ordnance Bothering the “Allies.”

According to reports, Russia’s S-300 Surface to Air Missile system is to be delivered and deployed to Syria.  Israel has responded with veiled threats. In the words of Israel’s Minister for Military Affairs Moshe Ya’alon: “Clearly this move is a threat to us…  At this stage I can’t say there is an escalation. The shipments have not been sent on their way yet.  And I hope that they will not be sent.. if God forbid they do reach Syria, we will know what to do.”

S-300PS air defense system during drills to counter mass air and missile attacks at the Ashuluk training range in Astrakhan Region. Vladislav Belogrud/RIA Novosti

S-300PS air defense system during drills to counter mass air and missile attacks at the Ashuluk training range in Astrakhan Region. Vladislav Belogrud/RIA Novosti

President Assad confirmed that the S-300 had been delivered.

It  is important to put these reports in a historical context.  Moscow’s announcement has been casually described as an impromptu “retaliation” to the lifting of the EU arms embargo.

This rash interpretation of the mainstream media ignores the nature of military planning.  The deployment of the S-300 Surface to Air Missile system to Syria has been on the drawing board of the Russian Ministry of Defense since 2006.

Moscow announced in June 2006 that it would deploy the S-300PMU air defense to protect its Naval base in Tartus in Southern Syria. it was understood that this deployment would also protect Syrian airspace.

The report points to the deployment of S-300PMU, while confirming that the “[s-300] systems will not be turned over to the Syrians. They will be manned and serviced by Russian personnel. ((Kommerzant in Russian, emphasis added)”.

Moscow’s stated intent, however, was “to deploy an air defense system around the base – to provide air cover for the base itself and a substantial part of Syrian territory.” (emphasis added)

According to our sources, Russia and Damascus reached an agreement on modernizing Syria’s air defenses. Its medium-range S-125 air defense systems will be upgraded to the Pechora-2A level. The upgrade will certainly improve Syrian air defense, which uses hardware supplied to Syria back in the 1980s. Moscow is prepared to offer Syria more sophisticated medium-range Buk-M1s as well. Close-range Strelets systems sold to Damascus last year are all the Syrian air defense system has to show by way of sophisticated gear at this point (these systems use Igla SAMs). (Kommerzant (Russian) July 28, 2006) 

Recent Developments

Ground to air defense Russian Pechora 2M deployed to Syria

Ground to air defense Russian Pechora 2M deployed to Syria

There is reason to believe that major components of the S-300 air defense system have been delivered and deployed in Syria in the course of the last 18 months.

There are indications that components of the S-300 system are already functional.  According toArun Shavetz (November 24, 2011), Russian technical advisors arrived in Syria in November 2011 to “help the Syrians set up an array of S-300 missiles”.

The report also indicates that an advanced radar system was installed in all key Syrian military and industrial installations.  “The radar system also covers areas north and south of Syria, where it will be able to detect movement of troops or aircraft towards the Syrian border. The radar targets include much of Israel, as well as the Incirlik military base in Turkey, which is used by NATO.” (Ibid)

Almost a year ago, in June 2012, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak pressured Moscow to cancel the sale of the S-300 to Syria.  Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Israel confirmed the suspension of the sale of S-300  (See Israel convinces Russia to cancel Syrian S-300 missile deal: official, Xinhua,  June 28, 2012)

Iskander Mach 6-7

Iskander Mach 6-7

While there is no official confirmation that  the S-300 is already functional, Syria possesses thePechora-2M air defense system, which US military sources admit would constitute “a threat”, namely an obstacle, in the case “a no fly zone” were implemented in relation  to Syria. The Pechora-2M is a sophisticated multiple target system which can also be used against cruise missiles.

Had this air defense not been in place, the implementation of a US-NATO led “no fly zone” would no doubt have been contemplated at an earlier date.

Moreover,  in response to the US-allied missile deployments of Patriot missiles in Turkey, Russia delivered advanced Iskander missiles to Syria, which are now fully operational.

The Iskander is described as a surface-to-surface missile system “that no missile defense system can trace or destroy”:

The superior Iskander can travel at hypersonic speed of over 1.3 miles per second (Mach 6-7) and has a range of over 280 miles with pinpoint accuracy of destroying targets with its 1,500-pound warhead, a nightmare for any missile defense system.

Michel Chossudovsky via Center for Research on Globalization

Related articles:

Israel threatens to attack Russian Ships transporting S-300 Air Defense Systems  

No to Prolongation of EU Arms Embargo Opens Floodgates for Arming Syria Mercenaries 

Russian Foreign Minister calls Syria ” Opposition ” out of Touch, More interested in Quarrels about Presidential Post than Peace


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  1. Leo says:

    I keep hearing conflicting reports pertaining to the S-300 missile system . some are stating it will take several months to set up, while others state it what this article is suggesting . In any event for the sake of Al Assad I hope the missile system is already operational . The Zionist will attack you can count on that .

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