The S-300 air defense systems failed to target Israeli fighter jets in Syria owing to the “curvature of the earth,” a Russian military expert has said.
Alexey Leonkov, the expert, told Moscow’s “Reporter” that the aerial defense systems remained silent due to the “curvature of the earth,” because “the S-300s were unfortunately delivered to mountainous terrain.”
“The radar antennas cannot see down. From the surface, five to ten meters are invisible – accordingly, if the antennas are raised on a mountain, then to these 5-10 meters you must add the height of the mountain. A so-called invisibility cone is formed,” Leonkov explained.
The invisibility cone enables the Israeli aircraft to “hide at low altitudes and strike with air-to-surface missiles,” he added.
The expert identified poor training of crews as another reason for the failure of the Russian systems.
Israeli satellite image analysis company ImageSat International recently released images showing four “fully operational” S-300 missile systems deployed in Masyaf base in north-western Syria.
Moscow delivered the missile systems and 49 units of systems-related equipment such as radars, basic target acquisition systems, command posts and four launchers in October 2018. The deliveries took place after a Russian plane was accidentally destroyed by a Syrian air defence battery that was responding to an Israeli airstrike.
Interestingly, according to reports published in April, Israel has developed “Rampage,” a new supersonic air-to-surface missile that can speed past the S-300 air defence system without getting intercepted.