December 26, 2007

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Russia is selling a new air defense system to our friends in Tehran:

The new S-300 air defense system signals growing miitary [sic] cooperation between Moscow and Tehran, Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said Wednesday.

"The S-300 air defense system will be delivered to Iran on the basis of a contract signed with Russia in the past," state television quoted Najjar as saying.

Najjar didn't say when or how many of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile defense systems would be shipped to Iran.

Earlier this year, Russia delivered 29 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran under a $700 million contract signed in December 2005.

Russian officials wouldn't comment on the Iranian statement, but the Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified source in the Russian military-industrial complex as saying that a contract for the missiles delivery had been signed several years ago and envisaged the delivery of several dozen S-300 missile systems.

The S-300 is much more powerful and versatile weapon than the Tor-M1 missile systems supplied earlier, which were capable of hitting airborne targets flying at up to 20,000 feet.

The S-300 is capable of shooting down aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missile warheads at ranges of up to 95 miles and at altitudes of up to 90,000 feet. Russian military officials boast that it excels the U.S.-built Patriot missiles currently being deployed in Israel.

The announcement comes three months after Israeli strike fighters bombed what some claimed was a nuclear weapons assembly plant in another Soviet client state, Syria.

The Aviation Week blog Ares suggests that the Israelis were able to penetrate the Syrian's Russian-made air defense system with non-steathy F15 and F16 strike fighters by using an airborne network attack system. The US-developed system, called "Suter," may have taken over the state-of-the-art Syrian air defense network, rendering it effectively blind.

While the capabilities of both "Suter" and the Russian air defense systems are classified, there is little reason to believe that the S-300 system is any less prone to being taken over by the airborne attack system than the TOR-1 short-range system already in use by both Syria and Iran.

If this is the case, Iran my be spending millions on an anti-aircraft system that may never see the bombers that kill it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at December 26, 2007 02:06 PM

Good. I love seeing the enemy using inferior weapons.

Posted by: C-C-G at December 26, 2007 08:31 PM