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Sunday, May 19, 2013

'It's highly doubtful that the Syrian army, in its current situation, is able to invest the manpower and resources' to learn to use the S-300

On Friday, I reported that Russia has not been persuaded to cancel the supply of the S-300 anti-missile system to Syria. But according to an Israeli military expert, it may not matter. The Syrian army is not in a position to learn how to use the fancy new weapon.
Yiftah Shapir, director of the military balance project at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, published a paper on the system in which he argued that “it is highly doubtful that the Syrian army, in its current situation, is able to invest the manpower and resources” to learn how to use the S-300.
Shapir also doubted that Syria can, at this time, set up the facilities to make the S-300 operational on its soil.
Those factors could prompt Assad to try and send the S-300 to a “safer place,” to Hezbollah’s custody in Lebanon, although this is unlikely to happen, Shapir said.
Hezbollah has the ability to send technicians to Russia to study the S-300, and store it in a safe location in Lebanon. However, Israel would almost certainly reject such a development, and take action.
A third option, that Russia will send its own crews to operate the S-300 on Syrian soil, is also unlikely, due to the dangers they would face from rebels and “a third party,” Shapir said.
Assad is seeking the air defenses now because of the recent air strikes in Syria – one in January and two this month – attributed by foreign media sources to Israel.
The strikes “demonstrated to Assad what his vulnerabilities are,” Shapir wrote.

...

“At this stage, it is difficult to know whether Russia intends to proceed with the deal and sell the systems to Syria... or whether all of the maneuvers of recent weeks are empty... and aimed at demonstrating Russia’s determination to support Assad, while sending a message to Israel that there is a heavy price for its attacks in Syria,” Shapir said.
Hmmm.

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2 Comments:

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Will said...

According to one Russian paper the Russian staff to teach them how to operate the system has been in Syria for a long time.

http://www.mfs-theothernews.com/2013/05/russian-nezavisimaya-gazeta-russian.html

 
At 9:37 PM, Blogger Captain.H said...

"A third option, that Russia will send its own crews to operate the S-300 on Syrian soil, is also unlikely, due to the dangers they would face from rebels and “a third party,” Shapir said."

Don't count on that. Some interesting, pertinent history here, that can be verified by any interested who want to do a bit of historical googling.

During the Korean War, USAF fighter pilots often heard the "North Korean Air Force" and "Red Chinese Air Force" combat zone pilot chatter, which was in Russian.

During the Vietnam War, over North Vietnam, USAF fighter pilots often heard the "North Vietnamese Air Force" pilot chatter, which was in Russian.

This isn't to say there weren't some Chinese, North Korean or North Vietnamese pilots in their respective Air Forces, just that they were few.

It takes years and years to build a real Air Force, with real infrastructure and real, capable and integrated air and ground crews. Then it takes years and years more for the best of these to work their way up to senior rank and leadership positions, capable of competently leading that AF. The IAF has basically wiped out their AF a couple of times, including the "Bekaa Valley Turkey Shoot". The IAF has basically killed the Syrian "seed corn" for this time-consuming process. (BTW, High Fives, IAF!)

So, that leaves the only real viable option to lead in operating a "Syrian Air Force Air Defense System" with these latest weapons systems...and it involves those who chatter in Russian. They can call them "teachers", "advisors", whatever but they are what they are.

 

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