Russian forces in Syria have been reinforced by seven S-300 air defense systems, the Russian Federation defense minister, Sergey Shoygu, stated, as reported by Interfax.
“As you know, we have an S-400 system, which has worked for a long time. Apart from this, we have added seven S-300s to cover the marine area practically to Cyprus,” he said at a meeting between the Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation Armed Forces senior management.
In October, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that Russia had sent a battery of S-300s to Syria to ensure the safety of the naval base in Tartus and the ships of the Russian naval task force located in the coastal zone.
Vice-president of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences Sergey Modestov said that the battery of S-300s in Syria, as well as the S-400 zenithal rocket system, would play a restraining role. “Placement of anti-aircraft missile systems in the area of deployment of the Russian group in Syria has an obvious and quite understandable goal – covering our troops from possible air attacks of the enemy,” he noted.
“It must be emphasized: they are located there, above all, not to oppose the air strikes, but to initially make them impossible, not to find them conceivable in principle. A moral and psychological deterrent is their primary role,” Modestov said.
Meanwhile, an expert in the field of counter-air defense said that Russia could have sent the latest S-300V4 system of air defense to Syria. “Most likely, we are talking about the newest S-300V4 system and not about the S-300VM Antey-2500 system, as reported by the Western media,” the source said.
The S-300V4 is designed based on modern elements and is, in fact, a new system, which, in comparison with the systems of the previous generation, has an area of anti-air attack two or three times larger and an increased range of the air target hit-zone limit.
In September, at the Army 2016 international military-technical forum, JSC Concern Almaz-Antey reported that three types of hypersonic missiles had been prepared for the S-300V4, which would ensure the ability of the system to perform as a means of anti-air and anti-missile defense. In 2012, a contract was signed for the supply of the S-300V4 air defense missile systems to the Russian Armed Forces. The first set of this system was delivered to the customer in December, 2014.