S-400 Triumf
S-400 Triumf | Commons
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New Delhi: Amid reports that Israeli F-35 stealth fighter planes managed to hoodwink the S-300 air defence system of Iran and violate its airspace, Russian and Indian defence sources have allayed fears about the S-400 system that India is purchasing, insisting it will be able to detect stealth planes.

According to a report in Kuwaiti daily Al Jarida, Iranian Air Force Commander Brigadier General Farzad Ismaili, who had been in office since 2010, was fired by the country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after he kept secret that Israeli Air Force F-35 stealth fighters had violated Iran’s airspace.

What happened in Iran?

The Al Jarida report emphasised that it was the original media source that exposed the Israeli raids, which had taken place in March 2018. It cited senior Iranian military officials, who said only following its March report did the intelligence services of the Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian intelligence ministry begin to investigate the case, under Khamenei’s direct orders.

The reports have been closely followed by the defence fraternity and enthusiasts because of Iran’s S-300 air defence system. The report said the system, including its Russian radar, did not detect the entry and exit of the fighter planes, and that Ismaili hid this information from the Supreme Leader to cover his service’s failure.

However, Iranian intelligence discovered that the Israeli fighter jets had carried out this sortie as a test of the possibility of an undetected attack on Iranian outposts and bases, during which they photographed those sensitive bases, evading the Russian S-300 missile system’s radar.


Also read: All about Russian S-400 missiles, India’s biggest defence against Pakistan and China


Fears about India’s S-400 

Russian sources ThePrint spoke to said they were not aware of the Iran case, but pointed out that India was buying the S-400, which has a completely different radar and system to the S-300, and which can detect the stealth planes.

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Indian defence sources also told ThePrint that the S-400 could detect stealth, but did not elaborate to what extent.

The sources said the S-400 had been specifically designed to overcome countermeasures and stealth. It comes equipped with a powerful radar compared to an S-300.

Can S-400 shoot down stealth fighters?

While it is clearly accepted in the defence fraternity that the S-400 can detect stealth planes, questions remain on whether it can actually shoot down such fighters.

Mauro Gilli, senior researcher in military technology and international security at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, said an F-35, for instance, could be detected by the S-400 only when it’s about 40 km away — too late given that the F-35 carries weapons that can strike both aerial and ground targets at a much longer range.

Gilli also raised concerns about the potential sale of F-35s to Turkey, which is also buying the S-400. This has led to a standoff with the US.

He argued that by modulating the frequencies and angles of operations of multiple S-400 systems, one could find the weak spots of the F-35 and, more importantly, its unique radar returns.


Also read: India resists US pressure on S-400 in Pompeo-Jaishankar meet, gives in on Iran oil


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14 Comments Share Your Views

14 COMMENTS

  1. So the S-400 can detect F-35 when it would be only 40 kms away. How does this concern India? Is India expecting an attack from an F-35 operator? Is America selling F-35s to China or Pakistan? If S-400 can detect F-35 the most advanced stealth fighter in the world, it is good enough.

  2. I am agreed with Ashok.

    Russia already have sold fighters plane to China .

    Russia is supplying engine to all Chinese fighters.

    Now China is the biggest customer of Russian Technologies.

    Russians are better loyal friend compared to Europeans and Americans .

    Indian government deceived the Russia and joined the American camp.

    Russia has taken the revenge and sold military hardwares to China.

    now it’s helping Pakistan, Turkey and Iran to counter American influence in the middle East and Islamic countries.

    Unfortunately Indian government will have to choose between USA and Russia.

    Indian can’t have friendship with both.

    Present cunning behaviour of Indian government will lead to disaster,
    as USA changed Pakistan policy and invited Imran Khan to pressurized Indian government.

    Israel is the only trusted friend of India and Israeli lobby is very influential in USA.

    40% Russian forces are muslims and Putin’s second wife is muslim and mother of his three sons,

    So naturally Russia is inclined towards Muslim countries.

    In future will see the group of Russia, China, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Qatar.

    Therefore India should join American camp and purchase American weapons through Israel.

  3. There are a few points I wish to bring out.

    Contrary to what Press (and President Trump) say ‘stealth’ does not mean invisible. It just means lower observability which means that the range at with a stealth plane will be detected will lower and thus bringing the radar system within the range of the standoff missile. Just as someone has correctly pointed out, this increases the attackers probability of survival. It does not eliminate it!

    Coming to hoodwinking S-300 system, Israeli Air Force has been doing that quite regularly over Syria well before F-35 came into service. How did this do they this? Well there is some history behind it.

    The Russians sold the S-300 to Cyprus over the objections of Turkey then a NATO (of course it is still, at least on paper). The system landed up with Greece a NATO country due to some political changes. Israel thus got access to it later and now as one would expect have a pretty good understanding of it and developed enough countermeasures. Israeli ‘s have in fact the best ECM (electronic countermeasures) in the world.

    Coming to the S-400, surely the seller and buyer will say that it will do everything from making coffee to shooting down F-35s. They will not say that it won’t. That would be very foolish. Frankly no one knows the truth since they have never been pitted against each other and even then so there many variables will be at play including the capability of the of the operators.

    However, there is a point that we discuss rarely in India. Russia sold the system to China too and if I am correct the deliveries have even commenced. In a few years’ time, China will know all the intricacies and the weaknesses of the system. Once they know they will pass it on to Pakistan (they have even given them nuclear secrets, so this is small change). When that happens, how effective is this system against China and Pakistan?

    I wonder why no one has even mentioned this issue anywhere!! Unfortunately due to the stupid US pressures everyone says we should be buy the S-400 and this aspect has never been discussed in public. So, is purchase of the S-400 really in our national interest? Our main adversary has already been supplied the same system and probably knowing China they would have started reverse engineering it like the way copied the SU-27?

  4. So just a tiny reminder: There was 1999. Yugoslavia bombing. And the super-duper stealth most expensive and glorified B-1 bomber was taken down by S-125 Russian made system. I think that Russians rebounced in technology within last 20 years enough, to claim that even S-300 (mind to tell you it has multiple modifications too, one better than other), is capable of delivering some certainly less advertised and unpredictable results. Claims of it’s vulnerability and outdated design are frequent nowadays. Anyone wants to try? Also totally different is the question of the service and maintenance crew competence, right? The stakes are high: it is enough to take down only one single F-35 overpriced sardine can, to put all damn production on halt and loose trillions of dollars. Big kaboom! Dadaboom!

  5. Interesting that Russia is not squawking about S-400 being sold to NTO countries but the US is squawking about countries with access to F-35 buying S-400. So, which weapon is the more vulnerable?

  6. Why I am not surprised that this news came on ” The Print”? Because news agencies like print, wire etc are strongly tied to US arms dealers and possibly CIA. It’s a nexus, cut money everywhere. US initially tried intimidating Turkey and India to give up S400. When that didn’t work, they fell back to tried and tested “presstitutes” to do the job for them.

  7. Have you noticed that news about Eurofighter and others like this article have been pushed a bit often these days.

  8. S300 is an older system and Iran has been denied proper service due to the sanctions.but S400 is an ultra modern system that is better capable. As per sources Israel has not violated the Syrian air space after Russia brought one into Syria. This is pure misinformation campaign to put pressure on India and Turkey.

    • From my understanding the S400 is pretty much the same as the S300 the main difference is the range they operate at and newer/faster processing technology allows it engage more targets.

      The S400 and S300 literally use the exact same missiles except a few differences like the 40N6E missile developed to take advantage of the formers longer range. As far as radar technology goes It hasn’t really changed so much since the S300 was introduced that it puts the s400 worlds apart. Furthermore the S300 was modernized over its lifespan as new tech was made available to make it more efficient, faster and able to engage targets at longer ranges and it’s one of these modernized units the Iranians procured.

      I would guess that the S400 has marginal enhanced performance over the later derivatives of the S300 and may just be something like 30% better, not 200% which is what people may have in their heads. Furthermore even though the range is longer the further out the enemy the lower the probability of kill (ex. the best long/medium range air to air missiles generally have a no escape zone of only 60km).

      I’ve been saying this on other forums for a while but a lot of this hype around air defence systems and the S400 appears to be government propaganda. When you face the possibility of being wiped out by nuclear war governments tend to exaggerate the effectiveness of these systems to alleviate public concern and angst by making people think they are “safe”. There is likely also a hope that such systems will deter military action against them because the enemy will be lead to believe their effectiveness is greater than it actually is since capabilities are kept under wraps and no one wants to risk pilots lives if possible or a $30 million fighter jet let alone a $100 million jet being shot down.

      To give Indians an idea of what I mean what makes any of you think that Pakistan couldn’t launch nuclear capable stealthy maneuverable standoff weapons like the Ra’ad II from outside the range of this system to destroy them and Indian cities? These weapons have radar cross sections lower than any stealth aircraft, they can loiter in India’s airspace and if you fit them with passive anti-radiation seekers turning them into anti radiation weapons all they do is wait around until you turn on the S400 and attack neutralizing them almost instantly..

      The US JASSM has evaded the S300 successfully in Syria striking a host of sensitive military targets and why they developed the JASSM-ER which is likely the route Pakistan is following with the Ra’ad missiles with every increasing range.

      Furthermore, why couldn’t Pakistan also line its border with the HQ-9 that could then be used to target the missiles launched from the S400 India procured? Basically air defence systems knocking each other out. The major difference will be that the HQ-9 doesn’t have as long a reach but it wouldn’t need to.

      So after the monumental failure of patriots in Saudi Arabia, the S300 in Syria and Iran along with a host of experts weighing in on this topic people are starting to realize the amount of BS surrounding them.

  9. Oh come on Another business and diplomatic policies of USA. US and Israel might decided to showcase its F35 in S300 systems which are might in stand by mode and Israel use this tactics way before against PANTSIR air defense systems when it wasn’t loaded. Also S300 is not meant for stealth fighters. S400 has some unique qualities that S300 doesn’t possess. Its a old way of united states government to divert the attention of buying S400 around world. Also ISRAEL might want to sell their Air defense system Radars which was recently presented to India. Its godamm business.. And propaganda against Russia. India go for S400 and possibly go for S500.

  10. False news to confuse SS 400 Purchasing countries. Do you know that F35 got lot of technical problems like AWS.,heat emmission control etc?

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