According to the memo, the Syrians are interested in purchasing long-range S-300 air defense systems and S-11 and SA-17 medium-range mobile air defense systems.
Advanced Russian Air Defense Missile Cannot Protect Syrian and Iranian Skies
DEBKAfile Exclusive Military Report
September 7, 2007, 1:16 PM (GMT+02:00)
Russian-made Pantsyr S1 fire control and radar systems
DEBKAfile’s military experts conclude
from the way Damascus described the episode Wednesday, Sept. 6, that
the Pantsyr-S1E missiles, purchased from Russia to repel air
assailants, failed to down the Israeli jets accused of penetrating
northern Syrian airspace from the Mediterranean the night before.
The new Pantsyr missiles therefore leave Syrian and Iranian airspace vulnerable to hostile intrusion.
Israeli plane or planes were described by a Syrian military spokesman
as “forced to leave by Syrian air defense fire after dropping
ammunition over deserted areas without causing casualties.” He warned
“the Israeli enemy against repeating its aggressive action” and said
his government reserved the right to respond in an appropriate manner.
intelligence circles stress that information on Russian missile
consignments to Syria or Iran is vital to any US calculation of whether
to attack Iran over its nuclear program. They assume that the “absolute
jamming immunity” which the Russian manufactures promised for the
improved Pantsyr missiles was immobilized by superior electronic
capabilities exercised by the jets before they were “forced to leave.”
took delivery in mid-August of 10 batteries of sophisticated Russian
Pantsyr-S1E Air Defense Missile fire control systems with advanced
radar, those sources report. They have just been installed in Syria.
that the Pantsyr-S1E had failed in its mission to bring down
trespassing aircraft, Moscow hastened Thursday, Sept 6, to officially
deny selling these systems to Syria or Iran and called on Israel to
respect international law. This was diplomatic-speak for a warning
against attacking the Russian-made missiles batteries stations where
Russian instructors are working alongside Syrian teams.
intelligence circles maintain that it is vital for the US and Israel to
establish the location and gauge the effectiveness of Pantsyr-S1E air
defenses in Syrian and Iranian hands, as well as discovering how many
They estimate that at least
three or four batteries of the first batch of ten were shipped to Iran
to boost its air defense arsenal; another 50 are thought to be on the
way, of which Syria will keep 36.
Israeli air force flights over the Pantsyr-S1E site established that
the new Russian missiles, activated for the first time in the Middle
East, are effective and dangerous but can be disarmed. Western military
sources attribute to those Israeli or other air force planes superior
electronics for jamming the Russian missile systems, but stress
nonetheless that they were extremely lucky to get away unharmed, or at
worst, with damage minor enough for a safe return to base.
courage, daring and operational skills of the air crews must have been
exceptional. They would have needed to spend enough time in hostile
Syrian air space to execute several passes at varying altitudes under
fire in order to test the Pantsyr-S1E responses. Their success
demonstrated to Damascus and Tehran that their expensive new Russian
anti-air system leaves them vulnerable.
like Jerusalem withheld comment in the immediate aftermath of the
episode. After its original disclosure, Damascus too is holding silent.
Western intelligence sources believe the Syrians in consultation with
the Russians and Tehran are weighing action to gain further media
mileage from the incident. They may decide to exhibit some o
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