April 14, 2015
Should Russia give Iran the advanced missile defense system it will
undoubtedly effect the possibility of a military strike Ė but Israelís air
force is well trained in the systemís ins-and-outs.
During the time of the initial sale, Israel was reluctant to sell UAVs and
advanced weapons systems to Georgia, Russiaís local foe. At the same time, the
Russians were training Iranians Ė including elite Revolutionary Guard forces
Ė in the systemís workings on Russian soil. Should the Iranians receive the
system any time soon, it would be operational very quickly. Moreover, it would
not be farfetched to assume that some parts of the S-300 system (like radar or
some of its controls) have already arrived in Iran, even if the launchers have
yet to do so.
It is hard to assess to what extent an Iranian-controlled S-300 will hinder the
ability of Israel, the US or Arab states to attack Iranian nuclear and military
facilities. Firstly, we donít know exactly what make of the S-300 Russia plans
to transfer to Iran or its effective range for ballistic missiles, rockets or
cruise missiles fired from over 150 km.
Secondly, both the Israeli and the American air forces, as well as the
American fleet, have trained in Cyprus, Greece and other places where Russian
technology is available, and thus it is safe to assume they are well-versed in
the systemís ins-and-outs. It is also safe to assume they have developed
technological means to evade the systemís defense mechanisms.
Generally, the S-300 is in use in many countries and is even manufactured
in China. The lengthy time between sale and delivery of the system to Iran gave
the West ample time to prepare for its deployment in the Iranian context.
Therefore we can assume that its delivery to Iran will not dramatically hinder
Israelís Ė or any other stateís Ė ability to launch a military strike
against Iranís nuclear facilities, if only because contemporary deployment
tactics were developed having taken the system into account.