Why Russian-made air-defense missiles miss Israel Air Force raiders

In the last fortnight, missiles fired by Syria’s Russian-made air defense systems twice missed hitting Israeli air force planes – the first time on Oct. 16, when Israeli planes flew over Lebanon, and the second time on Wednesday, Nov. 1, when Israeli jets were reported to have struck Syrian military targets near Homs.
These incidents gave Western and Russian military experts their first glimpse of some of the aerial tactics employed by Israel, and also some of the operational flaws inherent in the Russian-Syrian air defense network spread out across Syria.

That network works on the “air defense bubbles” method, which is called in professional parlance “anti-access/area-denial-A2/AD exclusion zones.”  It is composed of anti-air missiles systems designed to hit flying objects at a wide range of altitudes and distances, and is supported by two tiers of ground-to-ground and shore-to-sea missiles. The entire set-up is backed by ship-to-air missiles installed on Russian warships cruising nearby.
The “bubble” is equipped with long-range surveillance radar, which gathers data and beams it to the stationary or mobile command center, which then selects the appropriate missile battery for downing or intercepting hostile aircraft or missiles. Available too is “engagement radar,” which guides the missile on its way to target.

A variety of advanced Russian air defense systems have been installed in Syria. Among them are the Pantsir-S1 or Buk-M2E, the S-400, S-300 and S-200. Integrated in the bubble of advanced weapons are 6 Syrian battalions which include ageing Russian-made SA-2 and SA-5.

The Russians operate the network from an air defense command at their air base at Khmeimim in Latakia, together with the joint command they have set up with Syria.
Russian sources claim that the Israeli Air Force, for its Oct. 16 flight in Lebanese skies, lofted different types of fighter-bombers, including the new F-35 stealth plane and a number of F-16 andF-15 jets. After an Syrian SA-5 battery east of Damascus shot missiles at those planes and missed, Israel conducted a separate air raid to destroy the battery. Western experts say the Russians are not certain whether they used cruise missiles or GPS-guided bombs. The Russians say their command center heard of the Israeli air strike after it had started, too late to activate an anti-air missile.

What the Russian argument reveals is that its three-tier air defense system can respond to attacks from planes and missiles approaching Syria, but not when missiles or guided bombs are aimed at Syrian targets from outside its borders, such as over Lebanon or the Mediterranean. The Israeli Air Force is using this flaw to bomb targets in Syria without being exposed to the risk of being shot down or intercepted by Russian air defense batteries.

The Russian and Syrian systems were unified under a joint command after a massive US Tomahawk cruise missile attack on Syria’s air base at Shayrat on April 7. In the ensuing seven months, the unified command has discovered its inability to strike back at hostile aircraft flying just beyond Syrian airspace, which release their ordnance without warning.
The Russian system appears to lack the capacity to differentiate between the Israeli planes when they drop bombs or missiles or identity the types of ordinance used – both of which are essential data for determining which air defense systems are best suited to activate in response.

DEBKA’s military sources add: This may not be the only flaw in Russia’s air defenses; the Israeli Air Force may also be exploiting others. At the same time, the Israelis may possibly be allowed to get away with it thanks to a Russian decision to turn a blind eye to their maneuvers against Syria and Hizballah. If that is the case, Israel had better be prepared for them to change their minds at some point and use all the resources to put a stop to Israeli aerial incursions.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

75 thoughts on “Why Russian-made air-defense missiles miss Israel Air Force raiders

  • Nov 3, 2017 @ 13:37 at 13:37

    And a frigging bird downed an Israeli f-35

    • Nov 3, 2017 @ 14:55 at 14:55

      what was a frigate bird doing in Israel?

    • Nov 4, 2017 @ 15:41 at 15:41

      I bet Zibnew Brezinski could solve the israel palestine problem, he would get Pol Pot to help. An enemy of your enemy is not always a friend. Cia and Robert Muellar are dirty as Zibnew was!

      • Nov 5, 2017 @ 14:47 at 14:47

        If only the U.S. administrations over the last forty years could have seen how flawed — how demented — Brzezinski’s strategic doctrine is. Instead, his doctrine has become an institutionalized security disaster without end.

      • Dec 4, 2017 @ 16:19 at 16:19

        Zbigniew Brzezinski
        Died: 26 May 2017 (aged 89)
        Falls Church, Virginia, U.S.

    • Dec 11, 2017 @ 19:46 at 19:46

      You want to believe that nonsense? That’s your problem.

      • Dec 20, 2017 @ 23:16 at 23:16

        You wish

  • Nov 3, 2017 @ 14:05 at 14:05

    Because the Syrians are using the ageing guns, not the modern ones. Russians are only watching – for now. Jewish asses are aching for a war with Russia? One bomb and you’re out. Just like the Brits.

    • Nov 3, 2017 @ 14:14 at 14:14

      If one bomb was headed toward Israel or the Uk, then 3,000 would be headed toward whoever launched that one bomb. Keep your elementary babble to yourself. Silence is the best way for a fool to come across as wise.

  • Nov 3, 2017 @ 14:09 at 14:09

    Who cares what Russia does with its eyes. Israel needs to protect itself, and pre-emption is better than reaction.

    • Nov 4, 2017 @ 1:49 at 1:49

      You are a nut. Israel bombing Syria and supporting terrorists you say protecting itself?
      Are you using a different dictionary than the rest of us?
      Syria is killing terrorists on behalf of all of us including you. Just because the terrorists are fighting Hez and Irianians , and supporting them is protecting itself?

      Weird kind of logic

      • Nov 5, 2017 @ 1:46 at 1:46

        You got the story wrong. It’s the Syrians, and Iranians supporting terrorists all over the world, They are themselves outlaw states, in spite of the fact that they are supported by totalitarian Russia!!!

        • Nov 5, 2017 @ 4:30 at 4:30

          You are delusional to say that. Tell us where are they supporting terrorism around the world?
          They are fighting and dying fighting terrorism unless your definition of terrorism is different from mine.

          So far He’s actions have been to protect their own country , tell me I am wrong and so happen against you.

          Who really are supporting terrorism right now? Definitely not Hez nor Iran.

          • Nov 7, 2017 @ 17:48 at 17:48

            Can’t argue with an idiot. They are always right and damn the facts. They only intelligible thing one can discern from Peter’s posts is that his anti-Israel / anti-Western bias will not allow facts to stand in the way of his reasoning, or lack thereof.

          • Dec 12, 2017 @ 17:30 at 17:30

            Who blow up the Marine Barracks at Beirut airport? Hezbollah with Iran’s blessings. Who supports the rebels in Yemen. Better yet where have you been for the last 38 years with all the terror groups that have have come into existence after the Iranian revolution?

        • Nov 9, 2017 @ 22:16 at 22:16

          the u.n. mission in the golan heights reported a “friendly interaction” between isis and israeli troops .

        • Nov 18, 2017 @ 11:06 at 11:06

          Totalitarian Russia? Even Israeli’s who should know best can be absurd. What nation forces vaccinations on babies? The frer one?

      • Dec 12, 2017 @ 18:48 at 18:48

        No. It is your logic that is flawed. Syria and it’s Iranian proxies are terrorists. So are ISIL. Both are interested in destruction of Israel. So what Israel is doing makes perfect sense.

  • Nov 3, 2017 @ 14:13 at 14:13

    Seems to me that Debka should not have published this report!

    • Nov 3, 2017 @ 17:39 at 17:39

      I totally agree!! This kind nd of reporting is useless and puts the security of the State of Israel at risk. Which side do you guys work for?

      • Nov 4, 2017 @ 1:54 at 1:54

        Take a pinch of salt to the report.

        Russia at the moment is turning a blind eye .

        If this is true , why Bibi begs Russia so many times .

        Anyway, Assad is winning and after the war is over , let’s see what happens.

        Assad is wise to concentrate to win the war first rather than to pick a fight with Israel right now and he is winning

        God bless him

        • Nov 5, 2017 @ 1:50 at 1:50

          God should bless a tyrant killing his people with barrel bombs and poisonous gas? What kind of
          are you monster?

          • Nov 5, 2017 @ 8:34 at 8:34

            You believe that be Assad poison his own people?
            I pity you for being one without any sense of logic.

            Barrel bombs and your bombs , what is the difference?
            Both explodes and rebels used gas cylinder bombs… And proven rebels aka terrorists used chemical weapons did you guys even raise a sound?

            Looks like Assas is the only one in Syria not allowed to use chemical weapons while others can.

            Come grow up, Assad winning left and right and he still needed chemical weapons which he already given that up

        • Jan 13, 2018 @ 17:56 at 17:56

          Peter you not know G-d so do not speak of him. The true G-d is the G-d of Israel!

    • Nov 3, 2017 @ 23:53 at 23:53

      I agree 100%. Perhaps Debka should be on the Russians and Syrians payroll. Why would a source of information from Israel be allowed to provide information that would damage and undermine Israeli security.
      I wonder if people who gather and provide information harming Israel should be allowed to continue their senseless idiotic blaber.

      • Nov 28, 2017 @ 13:55 at 13:55

        If it has been exposed, it’s an eye opener to those concerned. It just means, “think of something else because this is no longer secret” or “continue until it fails you”.

        • Nov 28, 2017 @ 23:26 at 23:26

          Israel always looks for some platform to look superior and in control -the fact is that Israel always gets a special treatment from all arms producing Nations to control what ever is sold to its poor neighbors. and this is simply because any superior arms in the hands of its neighbors is a risk for its survival . every military tool sold to any middle East Nation from Russia ,UK,US ,ITALY etc is always a downgraded version of the same such that even the s/300 sold to Iran had to be delayed to allow Israel learn to disable it before the delivery saw the light of the day

    • Nov 28, 2017 @ 13:50 at 13:50

      If they know it, few outside also know it.

  • Nov 3, 2017 @ 14:41 at 14:41

    Russia is wasting valuable treasure in Syria just for the pleasure of thumbing its nose at the US and regaining super power status. The Russians are still pissed about its side losing the wars against Israel where Russian weaponry was supplied to Israel’s enemies. Also the war in Lebanon where Israel shot down numerous MIGs. Russia wants its stick it to Israel, no doubt as Israel has supported anti Russian groups as well. All a big waste of money and lives, but that’s the way the world works, oil for weapons economy and stupid national pride are tearing countries apart and killing and displacing millions.

    • Nov 4, 2017 @ 9:04 at 9:04

      and not a shred of fact that backs your opinion.

  • Nov 3, 2017 @ 15:20 at 15:20

    And the Russians better be prepared to have the Israelis decapitate the Assad regime 🙂

    • Nov 4, 2017 @ 4:04 at 4:04

      Why would you want to decapitate Assad regime? Do you wish to have ISIS regime there instead?

      • Nov 4, 2017 @ 16:00 at 16:00

        Because ISIS or Assad are the only options, right?

        • Nov 4, 2017 @ 17:40 at 17:40

          Do not take me wrong, I am worried about Israel’s security.
          The questions I have are:
          Why would you want a secular dictator, whom you had no military conflicts with for decades? and; do you really believe that a new, peaceful Democrat can be elected in a Muslim country? and if so, how long do you think he will survive?

        • Nov 4, 2017 @ 17:43 at 17:43

          I meant to say why would you wana secular dictator out?

    • Nov 4, 2017 @ 4:36 at 4:36

      Funny and stupid. Assad saved the world from terrorists and you should be great ful. Would you have half the ME fully of head chopping jihadists and next to your border?

      Gosh then I bet you would quickly migrate to USA.

      Assad the great stood against such big odds from Western to Arabs countries and WIN!

      Can anyone in the world do what he just did?

      So it really is wrong even now Israel is killing Assad’s soldiers who gave their lives to kill terrorists and these terrorists are now returning to their home countries.

      Assad 5years ago prophecied that these terrorists they support will return to haunt them and this is happening now.

      So why do you wish to decapitate a guy that helped the world ?

  • Nov 3, 2017 @ 15:42 at 15:42

    http://nephos.com/shaft.htm Exodus 19:5 – 24:11 As YHWH ELOHIM Malki Tzedik YEHOWSHUA will have the last laugh as he did the first ….selah ….

    • Nov 4, 2017 @ 9:06 at 9:06

      go back on your meds.

      • Nov 5, 2017 @ 16:39 at 16:39

        That’s a natural/carnal/principality/ in your personality emenating through your soul. …..comment, don’t you think before you speak?

  • Nov 3, 2017 @ 15:45 at 15:45

    who said it was Israeli planes ? and who says that they bombed the targets in Syria ? Debka ?
    The did not report that somehow all the fleet of Israeli aircraft and marine military vehicles were incapacitated around 3 weeks ago , and basically cannot fly ???? Does anyone knows why ? Answer American defense paradox . Basically Israelis by now lost almost all F-16, F-15 , AND ALL NEW f-35 —-does anyone has any idea why nobody in Israel can rectify the problem . It could be that their of subs was lost as well . Thank Americans for well thought …

    • Nov 3, 2017 @ 17:02 at 17:02

      Are you living in an ilusionary world ? where you make up rubbish as fact ^^ tell us all what planet you re on ?

  • Nov 3, 2017 @ 18:19 at 18:19

    Stupid warmongers one day you will rub your arses on the sand this game is very very dangerous.

  • Nov 3, 2017 @ 19:12 at 19:12

    At the same time, the Israelis may possibly be allowed to get away with it thanks to a Russian decision to turn a blind eye to their maneuvers against Syria and Hizballah. There are nearly one and half millions Jews from Russia in Israel and the Russian are trying to keep them sweet. When the Syrian claimed they hit an Israeli plane , Israel first denied it and then the following day said there was a bird attack on F35 which was already tested for bird attack and they never showed any photos of it.

    • Nov 4, 2017 @ 9:09 at 9:09

      so now the syrians are using poor, innocent birds to attack israel? the bastards!

    • Nov 6, 2017 @ 1:04 at 1:04

      The Russians could care less about its former citizens living in Istael….

    • Nov 6, 2017 @ 2:06 at 2:06

      do some research
      an f-35 would not have survived that ordinance

  • Nov 3, 2017 @ 20:44 at 20:44

    Why fail, failed, failing, everything handled with criminal islamic intent?
    Because, and this says all!

  • Nov 4, 2017 @ 1:26 at 1:26

    You are not in touch with reality. See your shrink.

  • Nov 4, 2017 @ 2:01 at 2:01

    What this press article doesn’t say, is that Tsahal has not yet used his tactical tools against Russian junk !

    That’s the main reason of the russian presence in Syria, from decades they are spying Israeli technologies, but nothing do, Israel has 50 years advance in radars technologies, plus, Israel developed more special weapons unused yet, Israel is able to get rid pf all the russian air defense systems present in Syria within 30 minutes !!

    I know one of the technology available in Tsahal, each S-200 missile system cost around 100 millions dollars, Tsahal can neutralise them with a device that cost les than 50’000 dollars with 99% results, Russia knows about it !!!

    • Nov 4, 2017 @ 6:58 at 6:58


    • Nov 5, 2017 @ 18:50 at 18:50

      Russia has it, too !!!

  • Nov 4, 2017 @ 9:55 at 9:55

    “What the Russian argument reveals is that its three-tier air defense system can respond to attacks from “planes and missiles approaching Syria, but not when missiles or guided bombs are aimed at Syrian targets from outside its borders, such as over Lebanon or the Mediterranean. The Israeli Air Force is using this flaw to bomb targets in Syria without being exposed to the risk of being shot down or intercepted by Russian air defense batteries.”
    With all due respect..How is this a flaw? They set parameters..No shooting at anything not in Syrian borders. So this “weakness” is used to send missiles from lebanon or other airspace into syria..That doesn’t sound like a weakness as much as scoffing at rules of engaement ..enough of these will invite either expansion of the “bubble” across borders endangering civilian air flights..much like fighters hiding under airliners shadow (footprint) near war zones…I would think carefully about playing chicken in the air like this..It is extremely foolish and very possibly criminal.

  • Nov 4, 2017 @ 11:45 at 11:45

    Let there be Peace in Jerusalem ,….There’s a fact everyone’s got to just accept, Yisraeli will never let their guard down…, Their very violent Air Force is their strength and they are second to none in the world (politics and gimmicks apart, no thanks to their little population) Russia, USA, China and Germany know that…. But they take defensive seat on the contrary with pre-emptive attacks to ward off possible hostile attacks…

    Russia and Syria know all the F-35s used by Israel were re-programmed by Israel, to their taste to suit Israeli Air Force requirement …so thinking you can easily knock it down with conventional Missiles is unintelligent and laughable…

  • Nov 4, 2017 @ 16:12 at 16:12

    Missies are not necessary, birds are enough

    • May 2, 2018 @ 19:54 at 19:54

      thats a smart answer; all of you jewish haters shame on you israel is the only land in the middle east thats an democratic sate the arabs here are more happy then any other country were they are in the middle east and there army is much more advanced then iran just look at some old history 1967 was they knocked down egypt whole and alot of syria air force so everything you say is just simple hate

  • Nov 4, 2017 @ 16:50 at 16:50


  • Nov 4, 2017 @ 17:40 at 17:40

    the most effective counter air strategy is to hit the jets after they have landed at home…

  • Nov 5, 2017 @ 7:13 at 7:13

    All you have to do, is read RT, and read the many comments posted there by Russian home-grown Jew haters, to realize that Russia never stopped being a Jew-hating country. And the editors of RT hate Jews—not only Israel, but Jews. And RT is the official propaganda arm of the Russian government. RT also endorses the most extreme anti-Jewish elements in the Muslim world, especially Iran, although from what I know about Russians, they absolutely loathe ALL Muslims, but their government, happens to be taking money from various Muslim governments, that the Russians have client-state relationships with. So as long as the money is flowing, they need to maintain the pretense of being the great friends of the Muslim world. Even though they think Muslims are subhumans (when they talk among themselves).

    • Nov 5, 2017 @ 18:48 at 18:48

      Mossad brought down 9/11. Pay for it you will.

      • Nov 7, 2017 @ 11:54 at 11:54

        Big bad bulshtift you talk!

    • Nov 7, 2017 @ 9:49 at 9:49

      The comments are mostly from USA, anti-Semitic incidents rose by 67% in USA last year.
      You are living in a informational bubble. Jewish live is thriving in Russia, Israel has a free Visa travel with Russia.
      The tragedy is that the Western countries have given up on the human rights the humanity has fought for thousand years.

  • Nov 5, 2017 @ 18:47 at 18:47

    With Hariri gone the interlocking air defenses will spread into Lebanon, now that Iran controls Lebanon, too. The only place they can operate then will be Israel. Its why missiles are being set up in Libya to attack Israel as we speak.

  • Nov 6, 2017 @ 1:13 at 1:13

    Israel is aware that the geopolitical clash between USA and Russia will draw ultimately all small countries into the storm, and this is the blood of those small countries which will be will be shed.
    Three main questions for Israel’s security is how effectively it can influence the US political circles to solve their domestic problems without starting a new Cold war.
    Russia is not USSR any more, and this country has let go the ideological weakness, but preserved the centuries proven stamina of resistance of is interests.
    In regards to the US oligarchs it means, the one who wants every thing, will be left with nothing.
    Israel has other problems, and needs good relationship to all major powers, Russia included.

  • Nov 6, 2017 @ 1:18 at 1:18

    Israel is aware that the geopolitical clash between USA and Russia will draw ultimately all small countries into the storm, and this is the blood of those small countries which will be shed.
    The main questions for Israel’s security is how effectively it can influence the US political circles to solve their domestic problems without starting a new Cold war.
    Russia is not USSR any more, and this country has let go the ideological weakness, but preserved the centuries proven stamina of resistance of is interests.
    In regards to the US oligarchs it means, the one who wants every thing, will be left with nothing. Though the absolutely unfounded Russophobia is obliterating any sound analysis, times will come when more reasonable politicians will have to correct the madness. Otherwise there will be a hot war sooner then we think.
    Israel needs good relationship to all major powers, Russia included.

  • Nov 6, 2017 @ 2:13 at 2:13

    The true is that ever since the Soviet Union was created Russia/Soviets had military equipment that was only for short periods of time comparable to what the west had. In world war two the soviet union won by sheer numbers(in almost every battle they lost more troops, tanks and aircraft that the germans did) and in the first gulf war the westerners obliterated the iraqi army which was supplied with soviet weapons.

    • Nov 6, 2017 @ 6:19 at 6:19

      This statement is not correct. There were periods we Russia was weaker, but also stronger. In regards to WW2 this is especially true. You should take a look at Russian history books as well. You will learn that things are often quit different, then what you are used to learn from the West.
      Did you know, that in each concentration camp was an idea IBM office? I recommend hereto Nazinexus, a book by Edwin Black.
      Any way, we live in a nuclear age now, Russia did overtaken three West in multiple high tech weaponary systems. Have in mind, they Russia’s defense strategy is unlike of USA, not directed to be the strongest military power, but rather to be strong enough to prevent aggression. That they can achieve easily. They did it in the past, and this will be in the future. In Syria they have basically obliterated the US military, that’s why the illegal plan to oust Assad by creating ISIS failed. In Ukraine the same. Syria was the last war the US dated to start, now it’s over, and that’s good.

      • Nov 6, 2017 @ 19:56 at 19:56

        Is Syria the US army did not even fight the russians directly. And Turkey did manage to shoot down a russian aircraft with american technology.

        • Nov 7, 2017 @ 9:35 at 9:35

          We hopefully will never see any war any more, and especially USA against Russia. The armed forces of both Nations are a complex of different branches, both are sufficient to inflict total destruction. The point is, that the US economy is not able to provide for the consumption of goods, services and energy used up by this nation, instead, it parasites on the world economy, and in order to maintain this status it needs to infringe in interests of other nations. This is possible only by pressure, be it economically, financially, politically,etc., or militarily. Russia is strong enough to protect it self from attempts to infringe on its souvereignity. American oligarchs will have to obey to the new rules, since the alternative is suicidal. The unfounded hysteric russophobia in US is just the prove of this helplessness, the agony of a wonna be hegemon, who sees its fired swim away.

  • Nov 6, 2017 @ 20:18 at 20:18

    Air war over Lebanon went 80 Su”s and MIGS vs 1 IDF Skyhawk. ( Douglas).
    Truth is Russian tec. is a copy of western equipment. By the time they field it, it is outdated. Nothing wrong with it, just obsolete. Russian pilots are limited in their training. Still having problems with thought processes. Independance big issue. Big Russian balls no match for american/Israeli co-ordination with airborne combat control systems. We will see but Russian equipment just never works. Russian bravery and toughness another story. I think Americans are tired of the Middle East. We might be getting isolationist. Air defense is always going to be tricky. It depends on intel. NONE are better than the IDF. Forget it, you will never beat them unless you just wipe them out.

    • Nov 7, 2017 @ 9:45 at 9:45

      Russia will not allow any one to infringe on its real national interests. Point.
      It’s military is strong enough. It has contributed a lot new technologies, which are used in US military. Check out for example the F35 vertical start technology, it’s copied from Yak41. Any way, as mentioned before, the content you get served in schools and colleges in USA is often far away from reality.
      In Syria the is was kicked out not because of nice words, but because of Russian military power, which US was not able to overcome without escalating to unacceptable level. Not to mention the fact, that it was the US and it’s allies who created the ISIS.

  • Dec 25, 2017 @ 3:41 at 3:41

    They have fired nothing but Sa5/S200 missiles from the 60s of the last century. The reason that Israel does not fly over Syria anymore is that S400s might enter the party. As long as they stay over Lebanon and fire missiles they are fairly safe.

    They did apparently tag an F35 with an S200, which revealed it’s serious lack of stealth from the rear. The Russian radar environment makes a lot of the Syrian success here possible.

  • Dec 28, 2017 @ 5:18 at 5:18

    That never happened in October /1973,….Remember my friend

Comments are closed.