Alwaght- In early November the Western leaders, specifically those of the US, have become seriously concerned after, at the same, an image allegedly belonging to the modern Russian air defense system S400 stationed in Lattakia port city of Syria was published. However, the Russian officials denied deploying any S400 Triumph missile systems to Syria.
Denying deploying the S400 air defense system at that time by the Russian officials indicated that they were not willing to escalate their tensions with the West. But after the Turkish F16s shot down a Russian bomber over northern Syria, the Russians deployed the cutting-edge air defense system to Syria’s Lattakia city in less than 48 hours, a move seen by the observers as an immense reaction by Moscow to Turkey’s measure.
Ostensibly, deploying the S400 air defense system comes to intimidate Turkey and as a natural reaction to Ankara’s act of targeting the Russian SU-24 warplane, but it seems that by stationing the state-of-the-art air defense in their air base in Syria the Russians are trying to communicate the message to the West that now not only the Syrian airspace but also a considerable portion of the region’s skies, including the British Royal Air Force’s operation area in Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus and US Air Force’s operation area in Incirlik airbase in Turkey, as well as the airspaces of the occupied Palestine territories, Lebanon and Jordan, are now in S400 fire range.
Being a full-fledged version of S300 air defense system, the S400 system is, according to the military experts, the world’s most dangerous long-range air defense system. There have been different accounts about S400 capabilities. The Australian Royal Air Force (RAAF), in a report in 2014 has noted that the maximum effective range of the S400 is either 215 nautical miles or 130 nm based on missile or system variant. The system can track 100 airborne targets and engage six of them simultaneously within a 400 kilometers range. The targets include all kinds of helicopters, fighters, drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.
Elaborating on the potentials and features of S400 missile system at Medium.com website, Tyson Wetzel, the US Air Force’s experienced officer, has asserted that deploying the Russian modern air defense system to Syrian Lattakia port city has turned to be a nightmare not only to Turkey but to the US and the other US-led coalition’s countries. “Air operations planners at the Combined Air Operations Center in Qatar are likely developing new procedures and guidelines for manned and unmanned aircraft operating inside the SA-21(NATO’s reporting name for S400 Triumph), said Watzel.
After Russia stepped up military presence in Syria, the US and its allies have tried to avoid any air incidents with the Russian warplanes. Now that Moscow stationed S400 at Hmeymim airbase in Syria, the US would be pushed to put more limits on flying of its fighters over Syria. Additionally, there have been reports that Turkey has suspended operations of its fighter jets over Syria’s north, as to date, the US has not carried out airstrikes in Syria.
Earlier, the Western officials had warned against risks of flying inside Syrian airspace after four SU-30s (NATO’s reporting name Flanker-H), fighters with high performance capabilities designed for targeting other warplanes, as well as the guided missile cruiser Moskva were deployed to Syria. Now, with the deployment of S400 air defense system, Western worries have even intensified, and Russia once again, this time more seriously, wants to send the message to the West that Moscow is in charge of protecting Syria’s airspace.