Geostrategy-Direct, www.geostrategy-direct.com, May 30, 2007
LONDON - Syria plans to transfer advanced Russian-origin air defense systems to Iran.
Jane's Defense Weekly said Syria would supply Iran with the 96K6 Pantsyr-S1E anti-aircraft system. The Pantsyr-S1E was developed for the United Arab Emirates and is considered one of the most advanced short-range mobile surface-to-air missile systems in the world.
This year Syria approved a $730 million contract to purchase 50 Pantsyr-S1E systems from Russia. Jane's said Damascus would supply Iran with at least 10 of the systems.
The Pantsyr has an interception range of up to 12 kilometers and detection range of 30 kilometers. The system can engage two air targets simultaneously.
"The end user for 10 of the systems is Teheran," a source close to the deal told Jane's on May 21.
Iran helped finance the Pantsyr sale to Damascus and Iran plans to take delivery in late 2008.
In 2005, Iran and Syria signed a strategic cooperation agreement that increased the flow of technology and facilitated joint arms purchases. The agreement has been enhanced over the past few months amid the threat of a U.S. air strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.
The Pantsyr-S1E, produced by the Tula-based KBP Instrument Design Bureau, is a close-in air defense system that can destroy fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, ballistic and cruise missiles, precision-guided munitions and unmanned air vehicles. In 2000, the UAE ordered 50 such systems in a project delayed by three years because of a request for further development.
The UAE has received the first enhanced Pantsyr with a new radar. Deliveries of the air defense systems, half of which would be mounted on Russian-origin GM-352M1E vehicles, are scheduled to continue through 2009.
Western intelligence sources said Iran has offered to finance Russian arms purchases for Syria, including the TOR-M1 short-range mobile air defense system, and plans to procure the S-300PMU1 air and missile defense system for both Damascus and Teheran.
"With Security Council sanctions on Iran, the only way Russia could sell weapons is through Syria," an intelligence source said.
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
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