Obama administration has changed its decision to strike Syrian government installations from the air due to the deployment of the Russian S-300 long range surface-to-air missile systems in Syria.
US officials are not sure that they have any aircraft, capable to defeat the Russian S-300 long range surface-to-air missile systems, deployed in Syria, the Washington Post newspaper reported, citing sources in the US Department of Defense.
As the newspaper noted, military experts have some disagreement over the capability of the Russian S-300 systems. However, at the same time, an unnamed US Defense official said that “the reality is, we’re very concerned anytime those are emplaced.” He also noted that the US has never tested neither its touted ability to target low-flying aircraft, or to counter US stealth technology.
“It’s not like we’ve had any shoot at an F-35,” the official said of the next-generation US fighter jet. “We’re not sure if any of our aircraft can defeat the S-300.”
According to the newspaper, Obama administration decision to strike Syrian government installations from the air has been made even less likely than it has been for years by the Russia’s completion of an integrated air defense system in Syria. Both US presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, have also advocated that the systems have created a substantial obstacle to the Syrian safe zones.
The article pointed out that thanks to deployment of mobile and interchangeable S-400 and S-300 systems, along with other short-range systems, now “Russia has the ability to shoot down planes and cruise missiles over at least 250 miles in all directions from western Syria,” as well as to cover practically all the territory of the country and significant parts of Jordan, Israel, Turkey and the eastern Mediterranean.
On Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry noted that Russia has raised “the stakes of confrontation,” placing the missiles as a threat “against military action” by other countries in Syria.