Greece is preparing to test its Russian-made S-300 air defence systems (ADS) installed on the island of Crete in response to Turkey’s test of its S-400 ADS last week.
Satellite images by the Turkish military show that Athens has put into combat readiness S-300 missile systems and that the tests could happen next week, Greek news agency Pentapostagma reported Friday.
According to the agency report and information from the Greek and Turkish media, the Greek military is expected to perform a test of the S-300 this month which has been upgraded in recent past with more powerful radars and improved missiles.
A section of the Turkish media reported that the upgraded Greek S-300s could be used against Turkish F-16s. Turkey had sent its F-16s during a showdown in July prompting Greece to turn to France for Rafale fighters and hold exercises with the UAE with its F-16s. Both countries are opposed to Turkish’s muscle-flexing in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Athens had purchased Russian S-300 air defense systems in 1996 for deployment on Greek Cypriot soil. These missiles could not be deployed in southern Cyprus as a result of Turkish pressure, but in 1998 they were deployed on the Greek island of Crete, whose strategic importance has been steadily rising.
Greece signed new agreements with Russia in 1999 and 2004 to purchase TOR-M1 and OSA AKM (SA-8B) medium- and low-altitude air defense systems. These Russian-made air defense systems are currently an integrated part of the air defense system of Greece — a NATO nation– and have also been deployed in Greek Cyprus, Turkish pro-government newspaper, Daily Sabah reported adding, “both missile systems have radar systems that would pose a danger to NATO air forces.”
Greek S-300s were initially developed for use against aircraft, but later it became capable of defending against ballistic missiles after an upgrade, the newspaper reported. The system is capable of simultaneously tracking 100 targets on radar, locking on to up to six targets at a time and can launch up to 12 rockets.