According to a report from Israel’s Channel 13, a “Russian” S-300 battery had fired a 48N6E3 anti-aircraft missile at an Israeli F-16 fighter plane when it was carrying out airstrikes on targets near the northwestern Syrian city of Masiaf.
The Israeli military has not commented on the anti-aircraft missile fired at its plane, but said, it was not surprising since this is not the first time when its fighter aircraft have evaded Syrian anti-aircraft missiles.
Interestingly, in a press release, Russia’s Defense Ministry’s Reconciliation Center for Syria said, an Israeli fighter jet had carried out airstrikes “on a Syrian research center” in the western Syrian city of Masiaf and the port of Baniyas but did not provide any information on the rocket fire.
At this stage, its not relevant whether the anti-aircraft missile fired from the S-300 was Russian or Syrian since the Russian armed forces in Syria control the launch of all S-300 missiles belonging to both, Russian and Syrian armed forces.
Since years the Israeli Air Force had warned Russia about their planned airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria.
According to a report from Channel 13, the 48N6E3 missile that was fired from the S-300 did not radar lock on the F-16. This could mean that either the launch may have been “ballistic” or that the EW systems of the Israeli F-16 managed to counter the missile.
The development comes at a time when Russia-Israel relations are being strained over the war in Ukraine. While earlier Israel has pursued a policy of not sending weapons to Ukraine, in recent weeks reports have emerged of Jerusalem “supply[ing] some weapons to Ukraine”.
Last month, Russia criticized Israel for sending its officials to attend a summit on arms redeployment for Ukraine at Rammstein’s U.S. military base in Germany.
This is the first ever launch of an anti-aircraft missile from a Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile in Syria at an Israeli plane. It is possible that the firing could have been a Russian warning to Israel, especially given the lack of a radar lock.