Subscribe Free
in Defence / Features

Saudi Arabia wound up by Russia's fantastic toys

Posted 30 November 2018 · Add Comment

The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) is looking to modernise the operational concepts at its Riyadh-based Air Warfare Centre. Alan Warnes reports.

Lieutenant General Turki bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who was appointed commander of the RSAF in February, is behind a shake-up in a bid to confront the emerging threats that have been so evident in Syria.
High-fidelity threats from Russia and Iran are causing the Middle East countries real concern, and the RSAF wants to source technologies to have a realistic chance of defeating them.
Al-Saud understands the very complex threats he is facing, and knows that dropping bombs, like the US and its allies have in so many countries over the past 20 years, solves nothing.
The next conflict is going to be much harder and many observers are looking at the scenario currently being played out in Syria.
A source told me: “It is a showcase of Russian technologies and the US and its allies flying over there are being subjected to heavy electronic warfare effects like jamming, eavesdropping, and the disruption of datalink capabilities. The Russians are using Syria as a test area for their new toys. And they are absolutely fantastic. NATO and the US are not willing to compete with them.”
Russia is also deploying anti-access area denial (A2AD) assets like the S-300 and S-400 air defence systems all over the Mediterranean.
The same source said: “Algeria, Egypt, Syria and Turkey will all soon have these systems, so Russia could control the area because all the systems are connected to Moscow. All the maintenance and support is done through a network, which controls the air space. We are very ill-prepared for what they could do, and as they spread the network they take more control of the air space.”
This kind of battleground is what concerns the RSAF chief and his allies. They are concerned the Iranians may also acquire a sophisticated A2AD system from Russia one day.
He wants to cover all eventualities, and take into account all the threat capabilities.
While the UAE has already bought some technologies, it has been in an ad-hoc way. However, the RSAF chief is believed to have taken on a more integrated approach. He has a totally new vision to deal with threats, and that’s why Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has installed him.
“He wants forces trained properly against threats that they might face tomorrow. He is keen to acquire radar, missile and EW capabilities used by his foes to ensure that he can take them on. They want access to technologies they can defeat,” said the source.
The S-400 capabilities were highlighted during a Russian Ministry of Defence briefing on the Russian Air Force Il-20 that was shot down over Syria on September 17.
Major-General Igor Konashenkov provided data and recordings on the incident, obtained from the control centre of an S-400 surface-to-air missile (SAM).
He told journalists: “The radar is able to detect and accompany not just aircraft, but any high-speed targets that follow a ballistic trajectory.”
In front of a large screen, he highlighted the position of the Israeli F-16s which had attacked sites in Syria and the S-200 missile launched by Syrian forces. He said: “The S-200 missile approached the F-16, but then dramatically changed direction and headed for the Il-20, because of its larger reflecting surface and slower speed. We blame the Israel Air Force for this.”
Russia then announced that it would be transferring a S-300 air defence missile system to Syria to strengthen the combat capabilities of the Syrian air defence – much to the alarm of Saudi Arabia and its allies.
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Joramco signs long-term agreement with Boeing

Boeing through its subsidiary, Boeing Distribution Services (formerly KLX Aerospace Solutions) secured a long-term contract with Joramco last week at MRO Middle East 2019 to provide the aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul

Turkish Airlines announces first traffic results for 2019

Turkish Airlines recorded 79.5% Load Factor in January. On top of the strong base effect of the last yearí same period, growth in revenue per kilometer has come into prominence as an important indicator of the positive demand environment

Turkish Airlines to increase services to Kinshasa

Turkish Airlines will increase its services to Kinshasa from five flights a week to seven as of March 31, 2019.

Emirates to launch new service to Porto

Emirates has announced it will launch a four times weekly service between Portugalís second largest city, Porto, and Dubai, from 2 July 2019.

Collins Aerospace redefines research partnerships at IDEX

Collins Aerospace has been highlighting its commitment to training local talent and redefining aerospace research at IDEX 2019 - taking place 17th to 21st February at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) - including its

Emirates to link Phnom Penh and Bangkok with new daily service

The service from Dubai to Phnom Penh, via Bangkok, will provide passengers travelling between the capital cities of Cambodia and Thailand with more flight options.

Connect MEIA SK1402010519
See us at
Aviation Africa BT0607280219SaudiAirshowBT0711140319Connect MEIA BT1402010519IQPC 3CACBT290150319ACCA19_BT2141218280219