Israel’s Air Superiority Clouded by New Russian Missiles in Syria


RUSSIAN PLANEThe Israel Air Force’s unquestioned supremacy has kept neighboring air forces almost entirely out of Israeli airspace in the country’s wars, but with the recent deployment of the Russian S-400 missile defense system in Syria, that absolute primacy is now in question.

The S-400 anti-aircraft system can track and shoot down targets 400 km. away, a range that encompasses half of Israel including Ben-Gurion Airport.

Nonetheless, the people with their finger on the trigger are not enemies, said Yiftah Shapir, a military technology research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

In the years following the 1973 war, when Soviet surface-to-air missiles had neutralized IAF attacks, Israel invested heavily in developing weaponry to counteract those anti-aircraft batteries.

For years, Israel has been preparing for the deployment of the S-300 in enemy territory. The S-400 system is simply a more advanced form of the S-300.

“From my understanding of our capabilities, if we wanted to operate in the area protected by the S-400, we could do it. It wouldn’t be easy, but possible,” said Shapir, who served as a lieutenant colonel in the IAF.

{ Israel}