The attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities last week was a disaster for both Riyadh and Washington, with Iran allegedly bypassing expensive US missile defense systems.
But in Moscow, the news of the attack was greeted as yet another opportunity to mock the United States and its allies – all but extolling the virtues of Russia’s missile defense technology.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a brief statement on Friday, “We still remember the spectacular US missiles from a year ago that failed to hit more than a target, while now the spectacular US air defense. The system could not repeat an attack. ” “These are all links in a chain.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ankara on Monday proceeded to a meeting with Turkish and Iranian leaders by suggesting that Saudi Arabia would have been spared from Saturday’s attack if they had bought a missile defense system created by Russia.
Saudi Arabia’s political leadership needs to make an intelligent state decision on Monday, pointing to the purchase of the S-300 missile system by Iran and the S-400 missile system by Turkey.
But over the years, the rivalry has grown particularly in the form of geopolitical conflict and new technology has brought American and Russian arms into close contact. In the Middle East, where tensions and war have increased arms sales, Washington and Moscow often compete for the same customers.
Although the United States usually claims to have superiority, some of the weapon systems produced by Russia are challenging. Chief among them is the S-400 missile defense system, a widely-touted – though ultimately unused – a rival for the US-built Patriot missile system.
On Saturday morning the attack on oil facilities in Saudi’s District Khurais and Abaqq appeared to involve cruise missiles and drones, which we can avoid being detected and activated by Saudi Arabia’s missile defense system.
In particular, that system includes Patriot batteries and is typically designed to counter ballistic missiles and airplanes that can be seen from the front.
Since cruise missiles and drones can fly close to the ground, the curvature of the Earth makes them difficult to radar until the radar is elevated.
Russia’s systems have been able to use mobile radar masters to deal with this problem. The S-400 is also designed to operate in either direction, while Patriot systems are limited to whichever direction they are installed in: some analysts have suggested that the Saturday stationed near the targeted oil facilities Many of the Patriot batteries are probably not seen. In the right direction to detect the attack.
“This Saudi attack demonstrates 360-degree capability,” said Tom Karlo, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
While Russia’s S-400 system may have impressive specifications on paper, many analysts are cautious in its assessment. It has not been fully tested in real life, while the Patriot system successfully intercepted missiles during the Gulf War and the US-led invasion of Iraq.
But Moscow also disputes the efficacy of American weapons. As Zakharova said on Friday, the effects of missile attacks by the United States with Britain and France in April 2018 on targets in Syria after Russia used chemical weapons by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Rejected.
At the time, Russia claimed that Syrian air security forces shot down 71 of the 103 missiles fired; The Pentagon denied the figure and Moscow provided no evidence. Russia has supplied the antisocial system to Syria, but it said only the S-400 deployed to protect the Russian base in Syria monitored the attack.
For all the rivalry between the American and Russian arms systems, the fight has been mostly played at the political level so far. Moscow has asked several US allies to buy Russia’s missile defense systems, which cost significantly less than their American counterparts. India and Qatar have publicly purchased the S-400.
NATO ally Turkey announced that it would buy the system this summer, prompting the US to suspend Turkey’s involvement with the US F-35 program. US Assistant Secretary of Defense Katherine Wheelerberger said in May that “the S-400 is a Russian system designed to shoot down aircraft like the F-35,” an advanced American stealth fighter.
In theory, the range of surface-to-air missiles fired by the F-35 should allow the S-400 to be destroyed before it can be detected by its radar, but in practice, the idea has not been tested. Both Washington and Moscow hope that this will never happen: For both countries, a little ambiguity may be attractive.