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Tuesday 14 April 2015

IAF must 'invest a lot' to overcome Russian S-300 missiles, says former air force official

The Israel Air Force has to spend considerable sums in order develop ways to successfully deal with the Russian- made S-300 air-defense missile system set to be delivered to Iran, a former senior air force officer told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Asaf Agmon, CEO of the Fisher Brothers Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya, described the S-300 as “one of the most advanced air defense systems in the world. This system will be a challenge for an air force to overcome. Its arrival is a significant change in our region.”

Agmon, who continues to do reserve duty as an instructor pilot at the IAF Academy, commanded operations Moses and Solomon to airlift Ethiopian Jews to Israel, and headed the air force’s Special Operations Department.

He also commanded over two air force bases, and served for five years as a squadron commander, taking part in many special operations, for which he was awarded with the highest IAF decoration.

“The IAF has gotten over more complex threats, and it will know how to deal with this,” Agmon said.

“This depends on receiving a significant budget for developing a system that can deal with the S-300. It involves equipment, training, and operational adaptations for systems,” he added.

The changes would allow the air force to attack the S-300’s radar and to disrupt its missiles.

“Once the S-300 is stationed in Iran, the chances of it getting to Syria and Lebanon rise,” he warned.

But transferring the system to others is not the end of the story for Iran, said Agmon.

Those who receive S-300 batteries have to be technically trained in how to operate it, or else, they will have to rely on Iranian crews that would need to arrive with the systems.

Asked if he thought Israel should risk conflict by intercepting potential future shipments of the S-300 from Iran to Syria or Lebanon, Agmon said he could only refer to statements made by official Israeli representatives, who have clearly said that if the systems arrive in Syria, Israel will attack them.

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