Iran’s Khordad 15s to upgrade Syrian air defenses after two Israeli strikes pinpoint secret locations
Tehran is to post to Syria its most sophisticated air defense system, the Khordad 15, in a reversal of standing weaponizing policy, after two extensively damaging Israeli air strikes.
On Feb. 19, a secret Iranian operations center at Kafr Souseh, a southwestern suburb of Damascus, was targeted and several high-ranking Iranian officers killed. The next attack, on March 7, broke up a meeting of Iranian and Syrian missile specialists taking place at Aleppo’s international airport. An undisclosed number of specialists were killed or injured.
After the Kafr Souseh raid, heated discussions on retaliation were underway in Tehran when Israeli missiles struck the Aleppo airfield. It was then decided that upgrading the air defenses located in Syria was of the highest importance.
Kordad 15 is armed with two anti-air missiles, Sayyad 2 and Sayyad 3, and a Najm-804B radar capable of simultaneously locating and tracking six targets at a range of 150km. The system is designed to locate aircraft, including stealth planes, at a distance of 85km and hit them when they are 45km away at a height of 27km.
Tehran and Damascus forewarned the Russians about the decision to deliver the Khordad 15 systems. The Russians did not object. For one, they don’t see the new arrivals posing a threat to the Israel air force’s F-15 and F-16 jets. And, furthermore, it lets the Russians off the hook of Iranian chivying to put a stop to the Israelis’ freedom of aerial operation over the country.
This week, Tehran carried reports of Russian Su-35 fighter jets claimed to be promised by Moscow with photos of a new underground air base, dubbed Eagle 44, being constructed to house them. Moscow has not made any mention of this transaction.