19:08 GMT05 August 2021
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    Russia deployed the S-300V4 "Antey-2500" anti-ballistic missile system to Syria to provide additional cover to the Russian Aerospace Forces taking part in Moscow's counterterrorism offensive in the war-torn country, experts say.

    Victor Ozerov, head of the Federation Council's Defense and Security Committee, told RIA Novosti that this move could have been "necessary to prevent incidents similar to the Su-24 downing from happening."

    The Russian senator was referring to the incident that saw the Turkish Air Force shot down the Russian Su-24 bomber in northern Syria on November 24. This episode sent cordial relations between the two countries into a deep freeze for several months.

    Defense analyst Vladimir Evseev maintained that Russia could have deployed the S-300 to Syria in a bid to boost its defenses specifically against missile attacks.

    "Unlike other air defense systems, say the S-400 Triumf, the S-300VM has additional capabilities against missile attacks. It is capable of intercepting warheads traveling at a speed of up to 5 kilometers per second and destroying them at a maximum altitude of 30 kilometers," he explained.

    As a result, the S-300 is capable of defeating subsonic missiles like the Tomahawk, as well as ballistic missiles, he added.

    Lieutenant General Aitech Bizhev indirectly confirmed this assessment. The Antey-2500, he said, is primarily tasked with "countering a massive cruise missile airstrike on administrative, industrial or military objects, as well as our forces." He also told Svobodnaya Pressa that the S-300V4 is better at intercepting cruise missiles than the more advanced S-400.

    The S-300V4, an upgraded version of the S-300VM, is "a highly automated and extremely efficient weapon," Bizhev said, adding that its readiness time is five minutes.

    Anatoly Tsyganok, head of the Center for Military Forecasts, pointed out that the Pentagon has significantly more warplanes close to Syria.

    "According to different sources, the Russian Aerospace Forces have deployed somewhere between 20 and 40 planes to Syria. The US has two air groups stationed on its aircraft carriers in the region. In other words, they have 140 aircraft. This is why Russian service personnel in Syria need additional protection form aerial attacks," he explained.

    In service since 2013, the S-300V4 (NATO designation SA-23 Gladiator) is meant to track and intercept short- and medium-range ballistic missile, aeroballistic and cruise missiles, as well as fixed-wing aircraft, ECM (electronic countermeasure) platforms and precision-guided munitions. It is reported to have a range of 400 kilometers (nearly 250 miles) and can simultaneously engage up to 24 aircraft or 16 ballistic targets in various combinations.

    The system has been designed and is manufactured by Almaz-Antey, a Russian state-owned defense company.


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    Russia, Syria, Russian Aerospace Forces, S-300 air defense system, S-300, air defense systems, missile defense system, cruise missile, defense, military deployment
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