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The Syrian Air Defense Force (SyADF), officially the Syrian Arab Air Defense Force, is an independent command within the Syrian Armed Forces. The SyADF is one of the most powerful and combat-tested air defence forces in the region.

Syrian Arab Air Defence Force
Founded1969
HeadquartersDamascus
Leadership
President of SyriaBashar al-Assad
Manpower
Available for
military service
4,356,413 (2005 est.), age 15–49
Fit for
military service
3,453,888 (2005 est.), age 15–49
Reaching military
age annually
225,113 (2005 est.)
Active personnel36,000
Reserve personnelUnknown
Deployed personnelUnknown
Industry
Foreign suppliers Russia

It has been merged into and then separated from both the Syrian Arab Army and the Syrian Arab Air Force. The Syrian Air Defense Force controls four air defense corps, eleven air defense divisions and thirty-six air defense brigades, each with six SAM battalions. It is equipped with 650 static S-75 Dvina, S-125 Neva/Pechora and S-200 launchers, 300 mobile 2K12 Kub, Pantsir S-1 and Buk launchers and over 4,000 anti-aircraft guns ranging from 23mm to 100mm in caliber. There are also two independent 9K33 Osa SAM regiments, each with four batteries of 48 mobile SAMs. An unknown number of S-300 system were delivered to Syria in 2018.[1]

The Syrian early warning system comprises Long Track; P-12 Spoon Rest; P-14 Tall King; H-15 Flat Face; P-30 Big Mesh; P-35 Bar Lock; P-80; PRV-13; PRV-16 Thin Skin mobile and static radar sites throughout Syria.

Contents

Current structure and organizationEdit

 
SA-6 launcher near the Beirut-Damascus highway, overlooking the Bekaa Valley, in early 1982.

25 teams defense (130 batteries) Including:

  • Self-propelled
    • 62 batteries:
      • 11 teams - 27 batteries - SA-6 Gainful (PU SAM 2K12 Square);
      • 14 Battery - SA-8 Gecko (PU SAM 9K33 Osa);
      • 12 Battery - SA-22 Greyhound (96K6 Pantsyr S1E);
      • 9 Battery - Buk-M2
  • Towed
    • 11 teams[clarification needed] - 60 batteries with SA-2 Guideline (CP-75 Dvina / S-75M Volga) and SA-3 Goa (S-125 Neva / S-125M Pechora) (Being upgraded);
  • Two SAM regiments with SA-5 Gammon(in each brigade to 2 divisions for 2 batteries each).
    • Four SAM battalions
      • Eight Static/Shelter SAM batteries
  • Two independent SAM Regiments
    • Four SAM batteries with SA-8

InventoryEdit

Gear Country of Origin In Service Type Comments
S-300 Missile System Russia 24[2] Long Range Mobile SAM 24 delivered in October 2018. Estimated up to 3 batteries more batteries may be delivered. S-300PMU-2 Favorit variant.
Bukm2 Missile System Russia Up to 40[3][4] Mid-Range Mobile SAM Up to 36 believed to be delivered before 2011. Additional units delivered in 2018[5][6]
Bukm1-2 Missile System USSR 20 Mid-Range Mobile SAM
Pantsir S-1 Russia 57+[7][8][9] Short-Range Mobile SAM 40 delivered up until 2017. Additional units delivered in 2018. One unit destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in 2018. Two more destroyed in an Israeli air strike in January 2019.

[10][11]

Tunguska USSR 6 Short-Range Mobile SAM Pantsir S-1 ordered in favour of additional Tunguska
Strela-10 USSR 35[12] Short-Range Mobile SAM
Strela-1 USSR 20[13] Short-Range Mobile SAM
9k33 Osa USSR 50[14] Short-Range Mobile SAM 60 delivered. Several lost in Syria Civil War.
2K12 Kub USSR Up to 150[15] Mid-Range Mobile SAM 195 at the start of 2012. Some units out of service due to partial replacement by Bukm2.
S-200 USSR Up to 44[16] Long-Range Static SAM Destroyed an Israeli F-16 on 10/02/2018. Destroyed a Russian II-20 on 17/09/2018.
S-125 Pechora USSR 148 + >30 2M[17] Mid-Range Static SAM Additional 2M's may be delivered in 2018/2019.[18]
S-75 USSR Up to 300[19] Mid-Range Static SAM

Combat historyEdit

In October 1973, the Syrian Air Defense Force (SyADF) shot down numerous Israeli warplanes using mostly the 2K12 Kub (SA-6) SAMs.[20]

In 1982, Israel claimed that 19 of 20 batteries, consisting of five launchers per battery, each launcher carrying three SA-6 missiles, were wiped out in Operation Mole Cricket 19, and the SyADF claimed to have shot down 43 Israeli warplanes over Lebanon in the same year.[21][22]

On 22 June 2012, the Syrian Air Defence Force shot down a Turkish McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II reconnaissance jet. The jet's pilots were killed; both Turkish and Syrian forces searched for them before recovering their bodies in early July. The incident greatly escalated the tensions between Turkey and Syria.[23]

In mid-November 2013, Turkish sources claimed the SyADF targeted, for ten seconds, three Turkish F-16 fighters that were flying near Dörtyol, over southern Hatay province after deploying from the Incirlik and Merzifon airbases.[24] The incident came after a Turkish F-16 shot down a Syrian Mi-17 helicopter on September 16 after Turkey claimed it crossed into Turkish airspace in the same area.[25]

On 17 March 2015, a US MQ-1 Predator drone was shot down by a Syrian S-125 missile.[26][27]

On 13 September 2016, the Syrian Army claimed to have downed an Israeli warplane and a drone after an attack on Quneitra province. The Israel Defence Forces denied any such loss.[28]

On 17 March 2017, the Syrian Armed Forces claimed to have downed an Israeli warplane after an attack on military site near Palmyra.[29] The Israel Defence Forces denied any such loss.[30]

On February 10th, 2018, Israel launched air strikes against targets in Syria with eight fighter aircraft as retaliation for a UAV incursion into the airspace of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights earlier in the day. Syrian air defenses succeeded in shooting down one of the Israeli jets, an F-16I Sufa, with an S-200 missile.[31] The jet crashed in the Jezreel Valley, near Harduf.[32][33] Both the pilot and the navigator managed to eject.[34][35]

On the night of May 10th, 2018, Israel launched a large scale air attack on multiple, alleged Iranian targets in Syria. After being engaged by the SyADF, the Israeli aircraft attacked and destroyed a Pantsir-S1 launcher, as well as several other anti-aircraft systems (SA5, SA2, SA22, SA17) . [36]

On September 17th, 2018, four Israeli F-16s engaged targets in the Syrian port city of Latakia, to which Syrian air defenses responded. During the Israeli attack, a Russian Il-20 aircraft was mistakenly destroyed by an S-200 missile launched by the SyADF. All fifteen crewmembers of the Il-20 died as a result. In order to provide excuse for this operational mistake, Russian military claimed, Israeli Air Force pilots took shelter behind the IL-20, this exposing the Russian aircraft to the Syrian missile attack.[37]

Further readingEdit

  • Kenneth M. Pollack, Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness 1948-91, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London, 2002, and Pollack's book reviewed in International Security, Vol. 28, No.2.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The Latest: Russia says Syria now has S-300 anti-air system". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  2. ^ "Russian FM Lavrov: Delivery of S-300 to Syria regime has begun". www.aljazeera.com. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  3. ^ "Syrian Air Defense Force's BUK Surface-To-Air Missile System (Photo)". 2016-12-27. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  4. ^ "Syrian Military Showcases Its Air Defense Systems In New Promo Video". 2018-04-17. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  5. ^ "Syria To Receive New Missile Shields In Addition To S-300". Eurasia Review. 2018-09-28. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  6. ^ "Russia Will Supply Syria With Short To Medium Range Air Defense Systems Beside S-300 – Report". 2018-09-26. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  7. ^ "Syrian Air Defense Force And Its Pantsir-S1 Systems". 2017-01-07. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  8. ^ "Russia Will Supply Syria With Short To Medium Range Air Defense Systems Beside S-300 – Report". 2018-09-26. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  9. ^ "Russia Sends More Pantsir-S Air Defense Systems To Syria - Reports". 2018-04-26. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  10. ^ "Syria To Receive New Missile Shields In Addition To S-300". Eurasia Review. 2018-09-28. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  11. ^ "Russia Will Supply Syria With Short To Medium Range Air Defense Systems Beside S-300 – Report". 2018-09-26. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  12. ^ Pike, John. "Syria - Air Force Equipment". www.globalsecurity.org. Archived from the original on 2018-05-04. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  13. ^ Pike, John. "Syria - Air Force Equipment". www.globalsecurity.org. Archived from the original on 2018-05-04. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  14. ^ Pike, John. "Syria - Air Force Equipment". www.globalsecurity.org. Archived from the original on 2018-05-04. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  15. ^ Pike, John. "Syria - Air Force Equipment". www.globalsecurity.org. Archived from the original on 2018-05-04. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  16. ^ Pike, John. "Syria - Air Force Equipment". www.globalsecurity.org. Archived from the original on 2018-05-04. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  17. ^ Pike, John. "Syria - Air Force Equipment". www.globalsecurity.org. Archived from the original on 2018-05-04. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  18. ^ "Russia Will Supply Syria With Short To Medium Range Air Defense Systems Beside S-300 – Report". 2018-09-26. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  19. ^ Pike, John. "Syria - Air Force Equipment". www.globalsecurity.org. Archived from the original on 2018-05-04. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  20. ^ "White House Military Briefing" (PDF). White House Military Briefing. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 December 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  21. ^ Herzog, The Arab–Israeli Wars, Random House (1982) pp. 347–48
  22. ^ Bruce Walker & the editors of Time-Life books, Fighting Jets: The Epic of Flight, Time Life Books (1983) pp. 162–63
  23. ^ "Assad regrets downing of Turkish jet, says won’t allow open combat with Ankara" Archived 2013-10-13 at the Wayback Machine. Al Arabiya News, 3 July 2012. Retrieved: 26 August 2013.
  24. ^ "Syrian air defences 'harass' Turkish aircraft by putting them under radar lock: General Staff - INTERNATIONAL". Archived from the original on 5 November 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  25. ^ "Here's how the Turkish F-16 shot down a Syrian Mil Mi-17 Hip helicopter today". The Aviationist. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  26. ^ http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/pentagon/2015/06/29/air-force-lost-predator-was-shot-down-in-syria/29474659/
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-12-09. Retrieved 2015-12-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-11-30. Retrieved 2016-11-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-03-17. Retrieved 2017-03-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ Ahrenheim, Anna (17 March 2017). "Netanyahu: Syrian strikes were to block transfer of weapons to Hezbollah". Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 17 March 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  31. ^ "Investigation finds pilots of downed F-16 failed to defend themselves". ynetnews.com. 25 February 2018. Archived from the original on 11 March 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  32. ^ Ensor, Josie (10 February 2018). "Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria after F-16 fighter jet shot down". Archived from the original on 4 April 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  33. ^ Sputnik. "Syrien: Israels Luftwaffe beklagt Beschuss durch Raketen aus russischer Produktion". de.sputniknews.com. Archived from the original on 11 February 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  34. ^ Critically yriawounded pilot downed in Syria strike walks out of hospital Archived 2018-03-08 at the Wayback Machine By TOI STAFF, 18 February 2018
  35. ^ "Pilot of downed F-16 jet regains consciousness, taken off respirator". Times of Israel. 11 February 2018. Archived from the original on 13 February 2018.
  36. ^ "The Israeli Air Force Has Just Released A Video Of A Pantsir-S1 Air Defense System Being Struck In Last Night's Attack In Syria". Archived from the original on 2018-05-13. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  37. ^ "Russian Il-20 downed by Syrian missile after F-16s used it as cover during the attack - MoD". RT. 18 September 2018. Archived from the original on 18 September 2018. Retrieved 19 September 2018.