Is Russia making another step towards Iran?

Posted: May 20, 2010 by Jonathan Boyko in International, Iran, Middle East
Tags: ,

Russian S-300 SAM system Military sources report Russia summoned Iranian operators to its bases, training them to run Russian-made S-300 Surface to Air Missile, anti-aircraft defense system. Rumors had it for over a year now Russians plan to sell Iran the S-300 SAM system; Iran wants the missiles to protect its nuclear installations:

Moscow is withholding them from Tehran for now, keeping the promise prime minister Vladimir Putin gave President Barack Obama. But if and when the weapons are delivered, Iran will have trained crews ready to operate them.

In their push to develop military ties with Iran and its allies, the Russians earlier this month also agreed to sell Syria MiG-29 fighter jets, Pantsyr short-range air defense systems and armored vehicles in a major arms transaction.

Washington and Jerusalem have known about the presence of IRGC S-300 missile crews at Russian training bases since early May. But when Israeli president Shimon Peres raised the issue during his talks with President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow on May 9, he was told sharply that neither Israel nor any other government is entitled to tell Russia to whom it may give military assistance.


WHILE THE MIG-29 is not as advanced fighter as it was a decade ago, it still is a serious adversary to modern air fighters, particularly the F-16 currently employed by many armed forces around the Middle East. It is probably the best option available for Iranian Air Force.

The S-300 is a different matter. The Sp-300, also known in the West as SA-10 or – in a more advanced version – SA-12, is a powerful system, ranging between 75 and 150 kilometers (between 47 and 93 miles), able to track up to 24 targets at a time and guide four separate missiles to four of the tracked aircraft. While no SAM system is perfect, defending a single site with four such systems or more could lead to grave consequences for the attacker.

In the past, Russia offered the US and Israel to purchase Iran’s order, claiming the former already manufactured the goods and needs to get rid of them. Neither government responded to the proposition, and are unlikely to make the purchase, which likely goes into hundreds of millions of US dollars.


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