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The S-400’s specs are enough to make any Israeli’s heart race.
The anti-aircraft system — constituting an array radar to monitor the skies and a missile battery — can track and shoot down targets some 400 kilometers (250 miles) away.
In addition to the S-400, Russia has been bringing highly advanced ordnance into the Syrian theater of war, including outfitting its jet fighters with air-to-air missiles, the Israeli NRG website recently reported.
At its new position on the Syrian coast in Latakia, that range encompasses half of Israel’s airspace, including Ben Gurion International Airport.
Get The Times of Israel's Daily Edition by email and never miss our top stories Free Sign Up This is not the first time that Russian technology in Syria has called into question Israel’s aerial supremacy, and the precedent was catastrophic: In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 2K12 “Kub” missile defense system, provided to Syria by the then-Soviet Union, destroyed dozens of Israeli planes.
Israel has always been able to overcome the challenges those systems presented, but often at some cost, in terms of both military effort and human life.
With regards to Israel’s enemies, Russia — and the former Soviet Union before it — has wavered between active support, as with Syria, and a more tacit form of support by remaining a trade partner, in the case of Iran.