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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Iran likely to receive Russian air defense system

TEL AVIV — Israel's military expects Iran to receive an advanced long-range air defense system by next year.   

Military sources said the intelligence community has concluded that despite its denials Russia or its former Soviet allies would supply Iran with the S-300 air defense system.

The sources said Iran has already signed agreements for surplus S-300 systems with at least one former Soviet republic.

"The military is preparing in both word and deed for the arrival of the S-300," a military source said. "The key now is to learn how to deal with this."

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The sources said Israel's F-16 multi-role fighter has already been equipped with systems that could detect and alert pilots of any S-300 launch. They did not say how many of the nearly 250 aircraft in the F-16 fleet contain these systems.

The Israel Air Force has acquired classified data on the S-300 for use in pilot training, the sources said. They said combat pilots were employing simulators in mock operations against the S-300.

The simulation was designed by the air force's software department, Ofeq. The scenario was meant to replicate S-300 radar lock-on of an Israeli F-16 multi-role fighter. The pilot was said to receive an alert of the radar lock-on, giving him seconds to maneuver out of danger.

"We can't simulate a real-life situation of a missile that locks on to an airplane," an officer identified only as Maj. Lee, said. "But the rest we could replicate."

The sources said Syria was also expected to acquire the S-300. They said Iran would probably operate any S-300 batteries in Syria.

The S-300 data integrated into the Israeli simulator included the capabilities of the radar, command and control and interceptor. They said the simulator was designed to accommodate any enhancement of the S-300.

"The [S-300] missile's manuevering, the ground terrain — all of these things are elements configured into the algorithms, and we simulate this for the pilot," Lee, who helped design the simulation program, said.

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