Israel Sees Russian Deployments as Threat to Air Superiority

Newly Deployed Russian S-400s Cover Half of Israel's Airspace

For Israel, having overwhelming military superiority toward every neighbor in every conceivable way has been a given for years, with massive influxes of US military aid annually allowing the nation a huge qualitative advantage.

The air superiority of Israel has been so absolute for decades that their warplanes routinely meander about in Lebanon and Syria, sometimes taking shots at targets and other times just milling about seemingly aimlessly.

Last week’s Turkey’s shootdown of a Russian plane over northern Syria has Russia bulking up its air defenses in the area, and Israeli officials are seeing this as something of a threat to that superiority, with advanced Russian anti-aircraft missiles deployed around the Syria-Turkey border.

Even though Russia put its S-400 missiles in Latakia, virtually as far away from Israel as possible for a deployment in Syria, the system’s broad targeting range means it still covers the northern half of Israel’s airspace.

Russia has limited Israeli overflights in northern Syria and Lebanon recently, but the two nations also seem to be having good communication, and Russia is fine with Israel operating in southern Syria, with its occasional airstrikes.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of