The Khmeimim air base is provided with purely point defense (all infrastructure facilities of the base are protected). In addition, its SAM-based air defense resulted from pooling the efforts with the air defense elements of other armed services, particularly the Russian Navy, and the air defense elements of the Syrian Arab Republic. To a certain extent, there is the implementation of the territorial SAM-based air defense principle at Khmeimim AB.
Beefing up the Russian SAM element in Syria with a cutting-edge S-400 Triumph (SA-21 Growler) long-range SAM system has considerably improved the AD coverage of the key facility, Khmeimim AB, and allowed reaching targets flying at higher altitudes and speeds. In addition, the AD element’s survivability and immunity has grown sharply in terms of possible fires- and electronic countermeasures-heavy environment.
Russian-Syrian air defense force
According to public sources, the combined Russian-Syrian AD force was deployed in the war zone as far back as November 2015, comprising:
- Pantsir-S1 (SS-22 Greyhound) close-in SAM/AA systems;
- Osa-AKM (SA-8 Gecko);
- S-125 Pechora-2M (SA-3 Goa) short-range (SHORAD) SAM systems;
- Buk-M2E (SA-17 Grizzly) medium-range SAM systems;
- S-200VE Vega (SA-5 Gammon);
- S-400 Triumph long-range SAM systems.
Moreover, a decision was made to add the S-300FM Fort-M (SA-N-20) SAM systems of the Moskva and Varyag (Slava-class) guided missile cruisers in Syria’s littorals in order to augment the air defenses in the wake of the Su-24M’s downing on November 24, 2015. To cap it all, Krasukha-4 electronic warfare (EW) systems were deployed in Khmeimim AB to protect it from hostile air and space reconnaissance assets.
Thus, a task force capable of eliminating hostile warplanes, helicopters, cruise missiles and reconnaissance, EW and other aircraft was formed promptly.