Air Defense: Waiting For Mister GoodSam


July 25, 2008: Israeli intelligence believes that Iran might have its Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems in service by the end of the year. Russia has been preparing to ship the missile systems to Iran for over a year now. Iranian troops have been training to operate the S-300, and Russian air defense experts have been showing the Iranians how to get the most out of these surface-to-air (SAM) systems, especially if attacked by Western (especially U.S. or Israeli) aircraft.

Roughly equivalent to the U.S. Patriot, the Russian built S-300 was known as the SA-10 to NATO, when the system first appeared in the early 1980s. The latest version is called the SA-20. S-300 missiles weigh 1.8 tons each and are 26 feet long and about 20 inches in diameter. The missiles have a range of some 200 kilometers and can hit targets as high as 100,000 feet. The missile has a 320 pound warhead.

Israel has been preparing to deal with the Iranian S-300s, including practicing against S-300s operated by the Greek armed forces. The S-300 has never had any combat experience, although it looks good on paper. Russia has done a lot of realistic testing of the S-300, but never had it confront a Western air force possessing equipment designed to defeat the Russian system. So developments in Iran are being watched closely by air defense experts around the globe.

Russia has already delivered dozens of shorter range surface-to-air missile systems, which can be used to defend specific facilities.



Article Archive

Air Defense: Current 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close