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Syria's Russian Missile Defenses

Updated on May 3, 2013

Since the consensus now is that Obama's red-line for using chemical weapons have been crossed, even if in small amounts, begs the question of what to do.

The easiest and safest way to deal with this is to send a few cruise missiles on key targets to show Assad further use of chemical weapons is not tolerated. It is difficult to shoot down a cruise missile and easily done from off shore. Using airpower to do the same is much more dicey if stealth fighters and bombers are not being used.

Since 2007, Syria has been enhancing its Russian-made missile defenses. These upgrades cause for concern.

  • SA-5 Gammon - missiles with a range of 175 miles and can hit aircraft taking off from Cyprus where the U.S. has a base
  • SA-22 Pantsir - a mobile missile with a range of 12 miles. It can be used against cruise missiles also. Syria has 36 of them.
  • SA-17 Grizzly - missiles with a 20 mile range and can engage in multiple targets from various directions. Syria has 10.
  • SA-26 Pechora - a missile with a 17 mile range and is better against maneuvering targets and low level ones. Each launcher as two missiles and Syria as 100-150 of them.
  • SA-9 Gaskin - an infrared missile with a range of 5 miles
  • Older missiles include SA-6, SA-2 and SA-8.

It was thought that Israel had created ECM to make the Syrian missiles ineffective but this was not the case, The past Israeli jets that had destroyed Syrian targets had not crossed into Syria airspace but fired from Israeli or Lebanese airspace into Syria. Had they crossed into Syria, the outcome might be different. The same applies to NATO aircraft. On May 4th, 16 Israeli aircraft flew into Lebanon and attacked into Syria at a chemical weapon plant attempting to move chemicals into Lebanon. The Israeli jets DID fly defiantly over Assad's palace sending him a message. None of the aircraft were shot down, which leads to the question as to the effectiveness of Syria's modernized air defenses. Maybe they are not operational or lack components or ECM confused them.

Most of the newer Russian missile systems are still operated by Russian technicians and repair them.

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    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      5 years ago

      Syrian TV and others.

    • swordsbane profile image

      William Grant 

      5 years ago from Wisconsin

      Mike: Confirmed by who?

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      5 years ago

      Yes, still unclear if they actually entered Syria

    • profile image

      Mike 

      5 years ago

      Well, it looks like some Israeli strikes have now been confirmed.

    • swordsbane profile image

      William Grant 

      5 years ago from Wisconsin

      I heard that Syria is CLAIMING that SOME Israeli aircraft have entered Syrian airspace, but no proof of this has been presented.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      5 years ago

      I have not seen any reports about the IDF taking out a chemical research center in Syria, i think that story would be all over the networks and Syria would be not silent about it.

    • profile image

      Mike 

      5 years ago

      @perrya

      "It was thought that Israel had created ECM to make the Syrian missiles ineffective but this was not the case, The past Israeli jets that had destroyed Syrian targets had not crossed into Syria airspace but fired from Israeli or Lebanese airspace into Syria. Had they crossed into Syria, the outcome might be different. The same applies to NATO aircraft."

      Israeli aircraft have flown into Syrian airspace on numerous occasions and it's been reported they buzzed Assad's palace and took out a chemical weapons research center over the weekend. It seems obvious that they are now taking action because of Obama's decision not to back up his own, self-defined "red line." This has made the U.S. appear weak on Syria. It appears the Israelis do want to be seen as the same.

    • swordsbane profile image

      William Grant 

      5 years ago from Wisconsin

      If the US military has to go toe-to-toe with the Syrian military, Stealth planes will lead the attack, taking out the air defenses. Then conventional planes will follow taking out anything else that might threaten ground forces. Then the army rolls over anything left over. I don't see the outcome any different than it was against Hussein's Republican guard.

      However, I seriously doubt that the US military will get involved. We don't have the money and Obama won't have the support of his party, and he's not going to buck the party or risk being another War President. It's possible our air power might act in support of someone else, like other NATO powers or Israel, but if Israel gets involved, it will be a political mess... and what Iran does will largely depend on what Israel and the US does. If the UN gets involved and assigns the task to another country (like GB or Germany) then politically, I think Iran would stay out of it (at least as much as they already are) but the military outcome is less certain at that point.

      It'll be fun to chomp popcorn and watch the show, though..... from a safe distance.

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