Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Syrian Air Defences and the Implications of Expanding Airstrikes into Syria

Info packed post!
I’ve talked Syrian air defences, more then once. Recently, in relation to the appearance of the F-22
Took some time to find some info on the Syrian systems- all publicly available information
Two sources

1- Strategic SAM deployment in Syria- 2010

2- The Implications of Expanding ISIS Airstrikes Into Syria

I highly doubt the 2010 information is complete or comprehensive, but, it should give us a generally good idea that Syria does indeed have robust air defences- Hence the F22. And the reluctance, to date, on the part of the coalition of the killing to bomb anything but the north eastern border. This could change if these and likely additional defences can be breached.

Source #1


Of all the Middle Eastern nations, Syria has one of the most robust SAM networks. Multiple SAM sites provide redundancy, allowing for overlapping coverage in many critical areas. It should come as no surprise that evidence of an illegal incursion into Syrian airspace by Israel was found in an area largely undefended by SAM systems.
 Strategic SAM Defences

The Syrian strategic SAM network relies primarily on Soviet-era systems. The following strategic SAM systems are currently in service as part of the fixed air defense network: S-75 (SA-2 GUIDELINE), S-125 (SA-3 GOA), and S-200 (SA-5 GAMMON). The 2K12 (SA-6 GAINFUL) tactical SAM systems is also employed at a number of fixed sites to provide additional support to the purpose-built strategic systems.
SAM location

The following image depicts the overall SAM coverage provided by Syrian air defense sites. Using the same color scheme applied in the previous image, S-75 range rings are red, S-125 rings are blue, S-200 rings are purple, and 2K12 rings are green.

SAM coverage

Early Warning / Surveillance Coverage

Early warning for the Syrian air defense network is handled by 22 Early Warning radar sites. One of these sites possesses a 36D6 TIN SHIELD EW radar system. The majority of the remaining Early Warning sites employ standard FSU Early Warning systems, including the P-35/37 BAR LOCK, P-12/18 SPOON REST, PRV-16 THIN SKIN heightfinder, 5N87/P-80 BACK NET, and 5N84/P-14 TALL KING.

Image depicts the locations of Syria's EW radar facilities:

S-75 / SA-2 Guideline
There are currently 37 active S-75 sites within Syria. With one third of Syria's S-75 sites being operational, it would be simple to conclude that the S-75 is no longer heavily relied upon. However, given that the S-75 is still deployed in various key areas, this would seem to be an illogical conclusion. The more likely scenario is that early systems have exceeded their service lives and been withdrawn, and other systems have perhaps been stored for future use or simply withdrawn to downsize the network into a more financially manageable operation.
Image depicts the coverage provided by Syria's S-75 sites:

S-125 / SA-3 Goa

There are currently 39 active S-125 sites within Syria. The S-125 appears to be an extremely active system. Sixteen prepared S-75 and S-125 sites have seen S-125 batteries come and go since 2001, demonstrating Syria's ability to periodically adjust its SAM deployments. Approximately half of Syria's S-125 batteries are currently sited on prepared S-75 locations, a fact which demonstrates the importance of not only identifying site layouts but the systems occupying said locations.

Image depicts the coverage provided by Syria's S-125 sites

S-200 / SA-5 Gammon
There are currently 5 active S-200 sites within Syria. The S-200 provides long-range barrier air defense along the western border and into the Mediterranean.
Image depicts the coverage provided by Syria's S-200 sites:

There is much more information at link number one with more images- For the sake of brevity I’m getting to the -
Syria's SAM network is very robust on paper, and would appear to offer a significant degree of protection at first glance, but this is not necessarily the case. Against a limited incursion, the Syrian air defense network remains capable, despite the reliance on aging Soviet-era systems. This is one likely factor which drove the Israeli Air Force to circumvent SAM-defended areas when striking the Dayr az Zawr suspect nuclear facility in 2007. Said reliance on Soviet-era legacy SAM systems will provide a serious handicap when facing a major air incursion by a modern opponent. It is time for Syria to modernize its strategic SAM defenses if it desires to retain the ability to defend its airspace in the 21st Century.
Does the presence of the F22 indicate to us that Syria has updated it strategic airdefenses?
Does the fact that Israel struck where it did tell us two things- It struck as a test. And that the strike site was no nuclear facility at all. I would think, had it been a nuclear facility, it would have had better defenses-

From source # 2

‘So far, these strikes have targeted the organization’s fixed infrastructure, unlike those in Iraq which seem to have predominantly targeted massed but mobile combat troops using technicals and captured military vehicles in the field.”

This tells us that the airstrikes are targeting Syrian infrastructure. The spin says it’s ISIS infrastructure, but, we know it was and is Syrian. Notice the different targeting done in Iraq vs Syria? Fixed infrastructure vs mobile troops and military vehicles. So, ISIS didn’t take over any Iraqi fixed infrastructure that required air strikes?  How convenient.

Previous considerations of imposing no-fly zones or punitive strikes in Syria previously focused on questions surrounding targeting embattled dictator Bashar Al Assad or defending civilian population centers from aerial or artillery attack.
However, the Obama administration has ruled out targeting the Assad regime from its air campaign, unless Assad chooses to engage U.S. forces targeting ISIS.

Concern about Syria’s substantial Integrated Air Defense System (IADS) and the efficacy of no-fly zones, safe zones, and punitive strikes appeared to dissuade U.S. planners from an aerial campaign against Assad in Syria.
The regime (Syria’s elected government)  concentrates its air defenses in western Syria, where the majority of the population and critical infrastructure is located. These areas had more dense and overlapping networks of surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries and early warning radars.
Assad’s regime particularly focused these defenses around Damascus, Homs and Hama, as well as the Mediterranean coast – the most likely avenue of approach for Israel or Western attackers.
Syrian SAM emplacements are sparser in Idlib and Aleppo governorates and sparser still in the cities on the Euphrates and Khabur rivers in eastern Syria where ISIS has its strongest grip.
The relatively short-ranged 2K12 sites near Deir Ezzour present an extremely limited threat to U.S. operations.

While some areas of northern and western Syria are within the range of Syria’s more capable S-200 batteries, the relatively low density of SAM coverage allows a wider range of techniques to limit exposure and limit the requirements for U.S. forces engaging IADS in those areas. Opposition groups have already seized or rendered inoperable some of the air defense sites in northern Syria, such as the S-75 emplacements in Taaneh.
 This article concerning ISIS is really all about targeting Syria
Secondly, ISIS’s own air defense capabilities are relatively limited. Syrian opposition groups of varying affiliations have downed dozens of regime rotary and fixed wing aircraft using anti-aircraft guns and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) of local and foreign sourcing.

More on targeting Syria’s infrastructure-
So far, U.S. and Allied targets reportedly focus primarily on fixed infrastructure. The targets support ISIS’s logistics, training, and formal headquarters. Many of them, such as the Division 17, Brigade 93, and Taqba air force bases in Raqqa governorate, are former regime targets ISIS has overrun in recent months.

They also include the government buildings ISIS is using as headquarters facilities in Raqqa city. Hitting well-known regime infrastructure has several advantages. As highly-visible targets, in many cases in distinctly military facilities, strikes against them minimize risks of civilian casualties and do not require intensive intelligence efforts to select. ISIS’s captured equipment stockpiled in these areas make easy targets for U.S. and Allied airpower.

However, it is unlikely ISIS will continue concentrating equipment and personnel in well-known, highly visible captured government facilities. Evidence suggests that ISIS already began evacuating and relocating its headquarters facilities in Raqqa long before U.S. airstrikes began.

ISIS had already evacuated and relocated their headquarter facilities before the US airstrikes???? Mentioned that oddity, this post, dated September 27/14

Damon revealed on air early Wednesday that ISIL terrorists who were held up in the town may have been tipped off weeks in advance to the US airstrikes on Tuesday. According to Damon:

“15-20 days before the airstrikes, (ISIL) buildings were evacuated, and fighters then mixed in with the local population”.

Oh gosh, who could have tipped off ISIS to US airstrikes?

Could it have been Israel? The Kurds? Was it the US that tipped off ISIS?

The article concludes with, no surprise, a call for more boots on the ground once ISIS allegedly melts into the civilian population.

“The success of major counteroffensives will depend on improvements in the organization and professionalism of ground forces and intelligence efforts in which airpower and standoff strikes can only play a secondary role”

Likely connected to talk of the PKK being taken off the terror list. Not to fight ISIS but to infiltrate Syria. Terrorize and kill civilians and hopefully take out those air defences.
Amongst other goals, no doubt. Oh and did I mention this before, it seems most likely that the PKK is yet another left behind army. The Kurds are very integrated into the NATO/US/Israel war machine. The PKK likely served as a mechanism to keep Turkey in line.

First post of the day-

Battle for Kobani- Sideshow for broader war


  1. Penny,

    Like the resurrection of the Caesar photographic nonsense I posted about yesterday now the JPost and other Zionist outlets are screaming that - surprise surprise - ISIS has used chemical weapons in Lebanon AND Syria. Gee, wasn't chemical weapons some sort of redline for US/NATO intervention or something last time? What lucky duckies, huh?

    Yup, for some inexplicable reason since the Russian "intervention" in Syria a year ago or so, the blogosphere seems to think that the Zionist/Israeli designs have changed and that we shouldn't look to them as the main culprits in this continued nonsense.

    They are using the EXACT SAME playbook, the same canards, the same disinfo and propaganda yet the "analysts" tell us that we should really be looking to "new" factions and players and their motives to understand what is happening on the ground.

    BTW, I saw your comments on MOA and I'm likewise shocked at how naive and uninformed the commentary is there as of late. I don't think that it's a stretch to begin to wonder at how the most ardent anti-Zionist posters - myself included - all got banned within months of each other only to leave the purposefully(?) confused and seemingly ingenue posters who link to MSM sources and just wonder what it all could mean incessantly. Sorry, I bring up that site but would like to support your posts there but can't.

    1. I had warned not too long ago about the chemical weapon meme rearing it's ugly head- I saw it- this time allegedly in Kurdish territory, but, why did it take so long to come to light- timing?
      war expansion
      it's too convenient for my liking

    2. From the very beginning - if one just paid attention to the MSM and the NYT coverage - one could EASILY see that the entire ISIS phenomenon was a full-spectrum media/intelligence roll-out and there really was no there there.

      One day, NO ONE knew who ISIS was or where it came from.

      The next day, they were the worst evil since Hitler and had a fantastical story to boot.

      Seriously, people should really do themselves a favor and review the media coverage around 9/11 and how EVERY 24-hour news cycle added another piece to that rollout/media campaign.

      That's why I get so frustrated with the coverage I see - the Patrick Coburns, etc etc - as it is OBVIOUS that we are witnessing ONCE AGAIN - what is this the 8th? 9th? - another media rollout designed to provided cover for our designs upon more sovereign nations.

      There is ZERO need to look any farther in the ISIS shit than the US/Israel because - even though their actions may involve other nations - they have been and still are the prime movers in all of this and have been for decades now.

      Don't confuse the issue, people, that's what the war criminals PAY their minions to do: go online/on TV and obfuscate by giving us the "Juan Cole" detailed nonsense analyses that deflect our attention AWAY from the criminal wrongdoing of the Zionist West.

    3. Dear Penny, the information you used is so outdated it's impossible for me to comment in detail. You completely forgot the Pantsir system and the S-300s which I have seen personally on the Latakia coast. The U.S. would hardly be afraid of fixed AA missile systems. Almost all Syria's air defense systems today are mechanized and portable. Just watch.

    4. Hi Ziad- I knew it was outdated, underlining that right at the beginning
      "I highly doubt the 2010 information is complete or comprehensive"
      but, had hoped that it would demonstrate that as far back as 2010 it was noted to be substantial. And that in all likelihood Syria had updated the systems

      If you have anything I could use more updated I would love it!
      Have anything at your place that I can link to?
      Let me know, Ziad?
      Much appreciated!

  2. re: MOA

    Maybe it's just a lack of imagination- you know like 9/11?!

  3. Something else to supplement your vast knowledge penny What is it about Iran that scares the US?: On Tehran’s military capabilities

    I think this week Erdogan will visit Iran, what message is he carring fron ZNATO, the SL is on record saying Iran will never abandon Syria and the resistance axis.

    Things are going Iran's way in Yemen, there must be panic in the medieval Saudi Arabia, next flash point could easily be Bahrain if SA persists in using the oil weapon to cause hardship to Iran and Russia.

    Oct 23 approaching fast, another date the Zionist looking at.

    1. thanks hans!

      I don't know about the 'vast knowledge' but I'm trying!

  4. Arm the Kurdish fighters with what they need let them and the Christians vet personal they know who the bad guys are stop playing games with Russia and partner with them maybe we should stop an look outside the box this army were all worried about Isis wants us all dead so does it matter who sits beside you as long as we fight the common foe cause they don't care if your from the USA or Russia