The S-300 missile that Russia’s supplying to Iran following the nuke accord isn’t Moscow’s latest air defense system, Ben Goodlad, principal weapons analyst at IHS Aerospace, Defence and Security, says in a Tuesday report.
The Russians have a more capable S-400 missile in stock. But Goodlad says getting the S-300 would provide Iran with a long-range air defense capability that it currently lacks in its inventory. Depending on the interceptor used with the system, the S-300 has a maximum range of 150 km which will provide an additional defensive tier to Iran’s air defense plan. While the sale of S-300 systems to Iran doesn’t pose a direct threat to Israel, the analyst argues that the weapon would make any potential future air strikes by the Israeli Air Force more challenging.
The S-300 system has been widely exported to customers worldwide, from Cyprus and Greece in Europe to China and Vietnam in Asia. However, Goodlad notes the system is not currently deployed in the Middle East with both Iran and Syria making efforts to procure the system. He says it should be noted that following the initial cancellation of the S-300 sale by Russia, Iran pursued development of its own long-range air defense system called the Bavar-373. It is unlikely that Iran will forego the option of procuring the S-300 system in favor of the Bavar-373 given the fact that the S-300 is a proven, fully integrated system. But Goodlad believes it’s still possible that locally produced missiles could be used by Iran.