2008: Israeli intelligence believes that
Iran might have its Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems in service by
the end of the year. Russia has been preparing to ship the missile systems to
Iran for over a year now. Iranian troops have been training to operate the
S-300, and Russian air defense experts have been showing the Iranians how to get
the most out of these surface-to-air (SAM) systems, especially if attacked by
Western (especially U.S. or Israeli) aircraft.
equivalent to the U.S. Patriot, the Russian built S-300 was known as the SA-10
to NATO, when the system first appeared in the early 1980s. The latest version
is called the SA-20. S-300 missiles weigh 1.8 tons each and are 26 feet long
and about 20 inches in diameter. The missiles have a range of some 200
kilometers and can hit targets as high as 100,000 feet. The missile has a 320
been preparing to deal with the Iranian S-300s, including practicing against
S-300s operated by the Greek armed forces. The S-300 has never had any combat
experience, although it looks good on paper. Russia has done a lot of realistic
testing of the S-300, but never had it confront a Western air force possessing
equipment designed to defeat the Russian system. So developments in Iran are
being watched closely by air defense experts around the globe.
already delivered dozens of shorter range surface-to-air missile systems, which
can be used to defend specific facilities.