Introduction — August 30, 2016
With the initial deployment of the Russian S-300 underway and the final tests of its Iranian counterpart, the Bavar 373 about to commence, the window of opportunity for U.S. air strikes on Iran is closing. Maybe forever.
Right now the U.S. could theoretically launch air strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The consequences would be dire and might even include Russia intervention. Nonetheless U.S. air strikes would be feasible although some planes would almost certainly be downed.
Six months from now air strikes might still be possible, although with more S-300s deployed the U.S. would undoubtedly lose even more planes, including some of its most advanced.
However, a year from now with the Bavar 373 deployed and integrated with the nation’s radars and S-300s, U.S. air strikes would be too costly to contemplate. Indeed, it’s entirely possible that the bulk of the U.S. planes and cruise missiles involved would be shot down before they even reached their designated targets.
This may explain why the U.S. is “concerned” over the deployment of the S-300 at Fordo. It represents the beginning of a process that will ultimately prevent any unauthorised intrusions into Iranian airspace.
U.S. military planners see air supremacy as a prerequisite for any campaign. Without it military intervention, however limited, is a non-starter. That’s why the U.S. is so “concerned” about Iran upgrading its air defences.
In all its recent military campaigns, from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. air supremacy has been paramount. Even if it didn’t result in a clear cut victory, American dominance of the skies has been vital for both the U.S. politicians at home and its troops on the ground.
That’s why as the deployment of the S-300 commenced, the U.S. tried probing Iran’s air defences with reconnaissance drone flights from Kandahar, Afghanistan. Unexpectedly, for the Americans perhaps, two newly established Iranian radars detected the UAV as it neared the country’s eastern borders and warnings were sounded.
Two things emerge from this:
Like others facets of its air defences, Iran’s radars are increasing in their power and scope. In this instance the U.S. drone was tracked from the moment it took-off from the U.S. airbase in Kandahar, south eastern Afghanistan, to the point when it reached Iran’s airspace.
Secondly, the U.S. is obviously interested in Iran’s air defences as its drone flight was on a mission to probe Iranian airspace on the very day that the S-300s began deploying around Fordo. The U.S. may even have been unaware of the Iranian radars as both the Nazir and Bina systems have only just commenced operation.
Nonetheless, U.S. military commanders are obviously ‘concerned’ about Iran’s growing air defence ability and with good reason.
Sometimes historical changes occur almost unseen because the factors involved seem unrelated. These may be manifold and seemingly unconnected but combined they can form a pivotal point around which a historical transition takes place.
With Russian help Iran is putting into place all the pieces it requires. Not everything is where it should be just yet but in another 12 months or so Iran will be in a position to repel any U.S. air campaign. U.S. military capacity is already being questioned on several points — its readiness to throw women into combat for example — but soon U.S. military global pre-eminence could be unmistakably in decline and it may be about to reach a tipping point with Iran. Ed.
US ‘concerned’ over advanced air defense battery at Iran nuke site
Stuart Winer — Times of Israel August 30, 2016
The US State Department has expressed concern at recent reports that Iran has deployed an advanced air defense system to guard a secretive nuclear site.
On Sunday, Iranian state television claimed Tehran had stationed a recently delivered a Russian-made long-range missile system to central Iran to protect its Fordo nuclear facility, suspected to have housed nuclear arms development work.
A video showed an S-300 carrier truck in Fordo, raising its missile launchers toward the sky, next to other counter-strike weaponry.
State Department spokesman John Kirby told a press briefing Monday that the US was unhappy with the sale of the S-300 system as well as its placement at Fordo.
“We’ve seen the reports of this deployment. Obviously, that’s of concern to us because we have long objected to the sale of Iran – of these kinds of capabilities,” Kirby said.
The Russian-made missile defense system is one of the most advanced of its kind in the world, offering long-range protection against both airplanes and missiles. The first shipment arrived in Iran in April.
Kirby said the US would be in contact with allies regarding the deployment of the battery.
“As we get more information, obviously, we’re going to stay in close consultation with partners going forward,” he added, without giving more details.