Why did this happen, was it possible to avoid such a development of events – and how should the Syrian air defense system be organized so that this does not happen again?
During the attack on the Iranian forces in Syria Israel destroyed the air defense complexes Buk-M1-2, S-200 and S-75, the press service of the IDF said. The department also published a video of the Spike NLOS missile destroying anti-aircraft missile and cannon system (ZRPK) Pantsir S-1.
Complexes of Russian manufacture “Pantsir S-1”, transferred earlier to the Syrian army, according to our Defense Ministry, showed high efficiency in repelling the US missile strike in April. The Buk complex is also one of the most effective air defense systems. What went wrong?
The editor of the magazine “Arsenal of the Fatherland”, military expert Alexei Leonkov believes that the tactics of the Israeli Air Force against the Syrian air defense talks about carrying out detailed reconnaissance with the help of unmanned aerial vehicles before the impact. Thanks to this, they found the goal.
“You can see from the shots that the “Pantsir” was not deployed, it just stood on the runway. A group of people was standing aside, one of them tried to approach the complex. Everything happened suddenly, the crew of the “Pantsir” was not ready,” – Leonkov told the newspaper. LOOK – If the” Pantsir “were deployed, then the question of who would be ambiguous. Most likely, “Pantsir” would have discovered a drones-ammunition and would have destroyed it. ”
As noted by Leonkov, there are many questions about what happened: why the complex stood in the open, and not in a protected position, why was not disguised.
The head of the air defense missile troops of the Russian Air Force from 2000 to 2008, Lieutenant-General Alexander Gorkov also believes that the human factor could have worked. “Perhaps,” Pantsir “was going to reload,” – he told the newspaper VZ.
“We can not exclude the option in which the complex was not alerted. Perhaps there was no crew at that moment. With the sudden arrival of the missile complex could not repel the attack, “- said in a commentary to the newspaper VZGLYAD and former commander of the 4th air army of the Air Force and Air Defense Lieutenant-General Valery Gorbenko. The authors of the “profile” Telegram channel “Major and the General” also suggest that the crew of the “Pantsir” could have “missed” the fatal blow. It is noted that the video frames are clearly visible, as a Syrian officer runs to the car and runs up just to the arrival of the rocket.
However, there is another version. During the Israeli attack, not only aviation and cruise missiles were used. Apparently, Pereh self-propelled artillery systems of Israeli production were also involved. And they are equipped with Spike NLOS missiles. The Pereh rocket tank was classified for 30 years. Thanks to Spike-NLOS, this tank can be called the world’s first over-the-horizon anti-tank self-propelled unit. The target radius of the target is up to 25 km. The Syrian complex “Pantsir-S1” could not repel the impact of the Israeli missile Spike, because it is simply not suitable for protection against such missiles.
“This is an anti-tank missile launched from land-based systems. And Pantsir is optimized for work on air targets, and not on anti-tank missiles, ” – Konstantin Makienko, deputy director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said in a conversation with the newspaper.
The radar is considered to be the most vulnerable point of air defense, because they are a means of radiation. There are special ammunition class “air – radar”, which are imposed on the signal of this radiation. This is how Israel destroyed the Egyptian air defense in the 1970s, Leonkov said. “After that our designers made a number of changes in the operation of air defense systems. The stations for detecting targets and aiming missiles began to be deployed on the same complex as the launcher, which made it possible to increase the effectiveness and avoid such a defeat that happened in Egypt, ” – Leonkov stressed.
That is, the SAM is generally a fairly vulnerable type of armament. It requires cover with other weapons systems, especially ground attacks. “We need to disguise ourselves, create false positions. There are a lot of tactical methods for this, ” – Gorkov stressed. In addition, he noted that the competent alignment of the entire air defense system is necessary.
“There are different principles for building an air defense state. It can be a circular defense, there may be concentration of efforts in key directions, there may be an echeloned system, mutual coverage of dissimilar long-range, medium and short-range antiaircraft missile systems,” – Gorkov said. According to him, now to protect air defense in peacetime using interspecific radar, which are constantly monitoring the air situation and do not unmask the position of batteries. The key factor here is the speed of deployment of the complex to the combat position in case of warning of an attack.
If the “Shell” takes up to five minutes, then the “Tor” and “Buk” – two or three minutes. Modern radar systems, which rise from the ground to a height of more than 20 meters, make it possible to detect the enemy’s strike weapons for tens of kilometers, so Russian SAMs should be able to go into combat condition and repel an attack of air attack weapons.
Leonkov noted that the Russian military has much more experience than the Egyptians or Syrians. “Practice has shown that when our specialists were at the facilities, the air defense system worked as it should. But hardly have our specialists left the facilities, soon such excesses occur,” – he explained.
The most important, Leonkov stressed, are radio electronic reconnaissance stations and EW assets operating. And if we are talking about the combat zone, then there are airborne surveillance posts: drones and long-range radar detectors, such as the A-50, capable of detecting carriers of air attack means at great distances.
“All these tools together is the very tool that, in the hands of a competent military leader, becomes a formidable means of defense,” the expert concluded.
However, the Syrians are trained by the military from our country, and the Syrian air defense systems are used by Russian and Soviet forces. This means that Russia should also draw conclusions from the Israeli strike in order to prevent the carelessness afforded by the Syrian military.