S-300, S-400 and Su-57 to become Russia’s deterrence against US, Israel in Syria
The advanced S-300 and S-400 air defense systems, plus the Su 57 stealth fighter, are to become Russia’s core assets of strategic deterrence against the US and Israel in Syria.
The tragedy of the Il-20 downing and its consequences aside, it appears Russia was already moving towards completely locking down Syrian airspace from non-welcomed air forces in order to safeguard and properly demonstrate the presence of its permanent bases in the Arab republic; the Il-20 incident seems to only have accelerated this agenda.
It has become obvious that Russia cannot hope to maintain massive air and naval bases in the same fashion that the US can, the limited budget of the Russian military just will not allow for it. Yet at the same time, Russia needs to provide adequate defenses for its few foreign bases and demonstrate deterrence.
In this scenario, Russia is left with no other option than to pursue what could be called an ‘economic deployment’ of overseas forces. In undertaking such a cost-saving strategy, Russia will exchange quantity of forces for quality of forces.
The S-300 and S-400 now already deployed in Syria are high-end yet also cost-effective air defense systems. However, even ground-based air defense missiles with a 300 kilometer range are limited in their potential to deter aggression and at the end of the day nothing compliments an enforced air defense zone better than actual jet interceptors which can range far beyond the area they are tasked with defending – the difference can be summarized as ‘active’ defense versus ‘passive’ defense.
Whilst aircraft such as the MiG-31 can technically be deployed, Russia would need considerable numbers of them at its air base in Syria. In any case the US has had over 30 years to familiarize itself with the MiG-31’s existence, having undoubtedly developed theoretical tactics on how to deal with such an aircraft after observing its capabilities for three decades.
A newer aircraft such as the Su 57 on the other hand, whilst unproven, offers many unknowns for the US and Israel. The stealth fighter’s deterrence capability extends beyond the impressive claims of its performance into the realm of the unclaimed performance potential (real or not). In other words, the US may ask itself “well if the Russians admit the aircraft can do such-and-such, then what have they not told us it can do?”.
The Su 57’s full deployment will likely have a similar effect on Western military strategists in the same way the MiG-25 did when its existence first became known. NATO anxieties about the aircraft’s potential were only ever dispelled after a Soviet pilot defected to the West with his MiG-25 in 1976.
The Su 57 is yet to be cleared for full introduction into the Russian Aerospace Forces, however when it does fully enter service, it is almost guaranteed that at least a squadron of the aircraft will be deployed in Syria.
Read More : Russia’s Su 57 stealth fighter conduct operations in Syria (Video)
The reality is that Russia once again needs a fighter aircraft that will leave the US, and the West more generally speaking, second-guessing. The best, and most relevant, place to demonstrate the Su 57’s full combat readiness would be in Syria.
The following article does not necessarily reflect the position of Muraselon News