Our translation from
The S-300 in Syria repeatedly radar-locked onto US fighter jets
MOSCOW, Dec 28 - RIA Novosti. The Russian anti-aircraft missile system (SAM) S-300V4 deployed in Syria has repeatedly radar-locked onto reconnaissance planes and bombers of the US Air Force, said Army Lieutenant-General Alexander Leonov, commander of the Russian Armed Forces Air Defence, in an interview with the newspaper Izvestia.
"In order to expand the air space control zone in the eastern part pf Syria, to prevent enemy attacks on the airfield at Khmeimim and the logistical security of the base at Tartus, the Air Defense Division of the S-300V4 system was assigned to combat duty in October 2016 in a designated area. During combat missions, strategic reconnaissance planes and bombers of the US Air Force were repeatedly detected and tracked by radar. The targets were located and consistently radar-locked," he said.
According to Leonov, the crews of American aircraft reacted "pretty nervously" to their steady radar tracking by air defence means at a distance of 200-300 kilometres.
"The personnel and equipment of the division adequately fulfilled their tasks and in June of this year they were returned to the point of permanent deployment," he added.
Earlier, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the S-300 and S-400 complexes, together with aviation, provided full supremacy of the Russian air force in the sky over Syria. He also noted that "there was not a single violation of security zones of Russian bases in Tartus and Khmeimim."
Defense Minister Shoigu was perhaps being coy speaking of the S-300. The Russian bases are in fact defended by the more-formidable S-400 systems. Otherwise, he was right that there had been no violations of their security zones in Syria up to that point in time. However, shortly after he made this statement, militants of the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) operating in Idlib Province, fired 3 rockets at the Russian Khmeimim base. According to Southfront, these groups had been supplied with Bulgarian-made rockets by the US and Saudi Arabia.
It is likely that the US, via its terrorist protégés, fired the rockets either to test the Russian defences or in vain hopes that the Russians would waste some of their precious S-400 missile systems, known to be deployed at Khmeimim, in attempting to shoot down the rockets. However, that did not happen. Russian defence does not waste money or effort. Instead, their system automatically determined very quickly that the incoming hardware was small and relatively slow-moving and made the determination to shoot it down with the much cheaper Pantsir system, which uses much smaller missiles backed up by cannon fire. Thus 2 missiles were shot down and one simply missed the target and landed elsewhere beyond the air base, so the Russians saved their valuable S-400s for another day to kill much faster-moving targets (the S-400 has a maximum speed of over 10,000 mph and can knock down hypersonic missiles).
Assuming the US was targeting the Russian S-400 system, it would have been concerned about the efficacy of this system, which can effectively target the overpriced, overhyped F-35 stealth fighter.
The F-35, which cost the US well over $1 trillion to develop (several times more than the Russian made Su-35, which is more manoeuverable than the F-35), is supposed to be radar-invisible, theoretically making it impossible for the Russian SAMs like the S-300, S-400 and the future S-500 systems to hit it. But in fact, for example, according to a recent article in the National Interest, VHF radar can detect it. Now at one time, this was not a big problem for the F-35 because the VHF radar systems available at the time could only roughly detect its presence but could not pinpoint its location so as to target it effectively. Later, however, the Russians found they could install a homing radar on the air-defence missile itself and could get better range resolution. At the time of this writing, the F-35 is therefore still vulnerable.
So if the Pentagon was targeting the Khmeimim base to destroy some of the S-400s and aggravate the Russians, it failed. And if it targeted it to make the Russians waste some of their precious S-400 missiles, that too failed. But if it was trying to see whether the S-400 works in real world conditions, it failed there as well, because it only succeeded in showing the Russians that their cheaper Pantsir system works. Not a good day for the Pentagon.
The US and NATO could easily solve all of these problems by stopping the cold war propaganda and moving their troops and air defence batteries away from the Russian border and also by pulling their troops and bases out of Syria, where it is a party crasher – illegally so under international law.
But that’s too easy for Uncle Sam, whose aim is not to stop war but to have enough firepower to show US voters that the US is invincible and their vote was well spent. This need to constantly prove itself, like a bully on the playground, has become an integral part of the US mentality right on down to the grassroots level and is itself the most dangerous factor in US military and foreign affairs. The cold war will not end until this flaw in the American character is overcome.