Syria should replace its ‘failed’ Russian S-300 and Pantsir air defence systems (ADS) with the China made Red Flag series such as the Hongqi 9, the export version of FD-2000 land-based ADS.
State-aligned media outlet Sina.com reported that after several Israeli air-to-ground missile strikes, Russian S-300, S-200, SA11 and Pantsir-S1 systems, which are part of the Syrian air defense forces, proved “completely useless.”
This is because the US has obtained complete performance details and lock-on codes of the S-300 after it bought key parts of the system from Belarus since 1994. Besides, countries with which the US shares defence relationship such as Cyprus, Ukraine, Greece and Egypt also have the S-300 which the US may have studied against its F-16 and F-35 fighters and shared the information with Israel.
In addition, the Syrian military has summarized several fatal problems of Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles: the backwardness of the electronic system leads to poor anti-jamming capabilities, the effective range is far short from what is claimed, and the system's degree of automation is low.
To change the situation, the (Syrian) national defense air system must be upgraded. There are many deficiencies in the Russian-made air defense missiles. The Chinese red flag series of air defense missiles should be preferred, the report said.
However, the Syrian Army’s Russian supplied Pantsir S-1, Buk and S-300 air defence systems (ADS) may not be the most modern versions which makes for an unfair comparison with the Chinese Hongqi 9.
Meanwhile, Russia has developed an upgrade of the S-300 designated as S-300PMU-2 which is claimed to be have a target range of 250 km against the Hongqi 9's 200 km and also has larger detection range. The Hongqi 9 itself was developed on the basis of S-300 ADS family and is said to suffer from reliability issues.
The Hongqi 9 is equipped with advanced search and fire control radar electronic equipment, and has a high degree of automation. The maximum search distance is more than 120km, and the tracking distance of the fighter target is 90km. 120 degrees, 65 degrees vertical, can be connected to the brigade-level command center, can track up to about 100 air targets at the same time, and assign 50 of them.
The Hongqi 9 series has strong technical and tactical confidentiality, and the Israeli Air Force has not mastered the parameters of the Hongqi 9. It has created a record of 9 consecutive hits, which is superior to the S-400 and Patriot, Sina.com stressed.
The Hongqi 9 (FD 2000) was in contention for sale to Turkey but the deal was jettisoned at the last minute as according to the Turkish military it did not meet its requirements. However, the US had put pressure on Turkey to abandon the deal and buy the Patriot ADS instead.