Why the S-300 doesn’t protect Syria from Israeli aviation

Russia in 2018 handed over s-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Syria to strengthen the country’s air defenses. However, the territory of Syria is still under Israeli air fire, and the loss of the Israeli Air Force in the raids on Damascus is not reported.

Another incident with the Syrian air defense occurred on February 6. Four Israeli F-16 fighter jets struck the Damascus suburbs without entering Syrian airspace. Syrian air defense systems were hit in response and almost shot down a civilian Airbus A-320 aircraft, which was flying from Tehran to Damascus (there were 172 people on board) when it landed at Damascus airport. Only thanks to the skill of the dispatchers, who moved the board to the reserve airfield, it was possible to avoid disaster.

The Israeli Air Force regularly shells Syria. What about the Russian S-300s?

After all, the question inevitably arises, why Russia supplied them to Syria if the Israeli aircraft continues to hit both Damascus and the Iranian military, which is on Syrian territory, and effective air defenses are silent? Reflections and versions on this subject are presented below.

Opinions on the fate of the Russian S-300 in Syria differ. Thus, the Australian expert Richard Frank claims that the Israeli army has learned to bypass Russian anti-aircraft missile systems. But this statement is probably not true and is intended only to convince the Western audience of the low quality of Russian weapons.

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The fact is that the Israeli Air Force avoids violating Syrian airspace. They are hitting Syrian territory, appearing in the sky, for example, over Lebanon. That’s why Damascus has its hands tied. If the Syrian air defenses kill an Israeli aircraft in the skies over Lebanon that does not invade Syrian airspace, Damascus will be exposed as the aggressor, which is least needed in the current political climate.

Landscape and geography factors also play a role. Israeli aircraft are carrying out strikes on Syrian territory usually from the Bekaa Valley, which is covered by mountains on all sides. They literally suddenly appear from behind mountain ranges and just as lightning-fast hide, while having time to hit the targets on Syrian territory. And, as our Israeli readers often write: “IDF air force pilots are already drinking coffee at air bases, and the Syrian calculations are still looking for targets in the sky.”

Another version, which is often considered in the media, is the insufficient level of qualifications of the Syrian military to service such complex anti-aircraft missile systems as the S-300. Although it has been possible to retrain Syrian air defense officers to work on new anti-aircraft missile systems since the delivery of the missile defense system to Damascus.

Much more interesting is the version that the S-300 was unsuccessfully located in the mountainous area, which created significant obstacles to their effective operation. As a result of this botched location, Israeli electronic warfare aircraft were able to fly close to Syrian anti-aircraft missiles and interfere, after which Israeli aircraft were already carrying out strikes against Syrian targets.

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Thus, it is likely that s-300 anti-aircraft missile systems against Israeli aircraft hitting Syrian land from Lebanese territory are not currently in use. And it is simply pointless to assess the effectiveness or inefficiency of their combat use in this regard. Moreover, the use of Russian complexes against Israeli aviation is not only a military and technical issue, but also a political one, and Russia, as it is known, claims to have a special relationship not only with Syria but also with Israel, claiming the existence of existing ones. military channels of communication.