Russian S-300 system to cover holes in Iran's air defense

Russian S-300 system to cover holes in Iran's air defense

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 23

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

Iran's FM Spokesperson Jaberi Ansari in a Feb. 22 presser announced that Iran and Russia are negotiating on next-generation of S300 air defense missile system, adding the details will be announced to the public in due time.

Iranian military expert Hossein Aryan believes that the mentioned system is the S-300 VM, which is called Antey-2500 in the media.

Aryan told Trend that Iran was to receive five units of the S-300PMU2, which Russia has stopped to manufacture, however, the country offered Iran Antey-2500 - the different and upgraded type of the S-300 system.

Last week Russia rejected reports about starting shipment of the missiles to Iran, saying Tehran has yet to pay for the missiles.

The $800-million contract to deliver S-300 to Iran was cancelled in 2010 by then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, falling in line with the UN sanctions imposed on Iran due to its disputed nuclear program. In turn, Tehran filed a currently pending $4 billion lawsuit against Russia in Geneva's arbitration court. However, Russia President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to lift the ban over delivering the long-overdue missile system to Iran in April 2015.

Aryan said that Iran's air defense system is aged, however it bought 29 units Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile system from Russia in 2007 to meet its air defense demands.

Iran plans to give a better cover to its air zone combining Tor-M1 with the long awaited S-300 air defense missile system which enjoys a range up to 200 km, he added.

The S-300 is used mainly for defensive purposes, however, it can also be used for offensive purposes, Aryan said, adding that Iran could use the system in a possible confrontation against the US aircrafts in the Persian Gulf or the Arab countries.

Aryan further commented about the capabilities of Bavar 373 long-range air defense system or as Iranian military officials claim the domestic version of the S-300.

If they are capable of manufacturing a home-made version of S-300 then buying Russian system makes no sense, he said, adding that statements regarding the capabilities of Bavar 373 are exaggerated and are not reflecting the reality.

Iran raised the issue of Bavar 373 during its disputes with Russia, according to the expert.

The Bavar 373 system would be tested by March 2016. Iranian security officials claim that, Bavar 373 is better than the Russian S-300, as it is able to track over 100 targets, just like the Russian system but with a higher targeting capability.

While responding to a question about buying Sukhoi Su-30SM multi-role fighter jets from Russia, Aryan said Tehran plans to renew its aged air force by Russian help.

Iran wants to renew its air force following the removal of international sanctions, Aryan said, adding that Sukhoi Su-30SM can improve Iran's air force's capabilities.

Last week Russian media outlets quoted a senior official at Russia's arms export agency as saying that Moscow will sign a contract this year with Iran to supply a batch of its Sukhoi Su-30SM fighters to the Islamic Republic.

The US believes that the Russian sale of fighter jets to Iran would violate a UN arms embargo on Tehran.

According to Aryan if the case is taken to the UN Security Council it will have chance to pass, giving the new positive atmosphere following the nuclear deal.

"I believe that the France, UK and US will get along with the Russia on the issue," he said, adding that otherwise they will have no choice but to impose individual sanctions on Tehran.

Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh

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