- - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu says the advanced S-400 air defense system is being deployed at the Russian air base near Latakia, Syria. The S-400 can engage multiple targets at once, including ballistic and cruise missiles, at a range up to 400 kilometers at low to very high altitudes.

Mr. Shoigu also said that the Russian navy is deployed into the Mediterranean in order to protect Russian forces in the Middle East with guided missile capability and mandated that all Russian attack or bombing sorties now be escorted by air-to-air fighter aircraft. In addition, RT reports Russia has suspended all military contacts with Turkey. Multiple economic and infrastructure projects between the two countries are also at risk according to the Russian government.

The deployment of such a sophisticated weapon system into the Syrian theater complicates the situation of containing and defeating the Islamic State, a goal shared by multiple nations who are now possible adversaries. NATO military aircraft, outside of Turkish forces, are active in close proximity with the Russian military in Iraq and Syria. These Western military commands will now have to deploy additional air defense suppression equipment in order to protect their own aircraft in theater from this new Russian capability. This could include electronic warfare platforms as well as the ability to destroy Russian air defense systems if need be.

If the Obama administration is serious about increasing the aerial activity against the Islamic State, one would hope they will deploy enough equipment to the region to defend American forces if need be.

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