Syria is to send Iran air defence systems from Russia: Jane's

LONDON - Syria has agreed to send Iran at least 10 air defence systems that the government in Damascus is buying from Russia, Jane's Defence Weekly reported in its latest edition.

Moscow has agreed to sell Damascus some 50 Pantsyr-S1E self-propelled short-range gun and missile air defence systems for an estimated 730 million dollars (542 million euros), the authoritative magazine said, quoting a source close to the deal.

"The end user for 10 of the systems is Tehran," although the Syrian Air Defence Command is taking delivery of most of them, the source told Jane's, adding that Iran will receive deliveries from Syria late next year.

The source was also quoted as saying that Iran will not only pay for its 10 Pantsyrs but also help Syria finance the purchase of its own defence systems.

Syria is understood to be receiving the Pantsyr-S1E equipped with the latest Roman I-Band fire control radar, with the first shipments due to arrive later this year, it added.

The source added that Iran is also looking for ways to realise plans to acquire at least 50 Pantsyr-S1E systems, according to Jane's.

The source confirmed that Iran has now acquired at least two longer-range S-300PMU-1/2 Favorit (SA-10c/d "Grumble") air-defence systems.

The deal is taking place under the military and technological cooperation mechanism stipulated in a strategic accord signed by both countries in November 2005, the specialist weekly said.

The source told Jane's that Tehran and Damascus underook the new arrangement in order to spare Moscow further diplomatic pressure from the West over defence sales.

Russia came under fire from Israel and the United States when it agreed to supply Iran with the Tor-M1 road-mobile shelter-mounted low-to-medium-altitude surface-to-air missile system in 2005 -- a deal completed in January.

05/21/2007 17:02 GMT

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