Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saudis to get Russian missiles instead of Iran?


Mark Pyruz said...

The Saudis seem to be clamoring for some sense of relevance these days. They've been effectively marginalized in the Palestinian peace process, they've suffered political setbacks in Lebanon, now Iran dominates nearly all of the Middle East coverage. Desperate for attention, the Saudis respond with reports of a scheme of S-300 denial to Iran, and overfly permission for the IASF to bomb Iranian nuclear targets. (At least, to my knowledge, they haven't denied these reports.

What a waste of money the S-300 system would be for KSA. Then again, nearly all of their defense spending is wasteful. The object isn't so much defense, as it is effecting a desirable relationship with the "great powers".

Defense Minister Vahidi recently shrugged off the KSA-IASF overfly report. I'm sure he's doing the same for the reported KSA S-300 offer.

Paul Iddon said...

Mark I have to agree with you there (on Saudi defence spending being wasteful)

tell me, what you think about the 72 Eurofighters they are buying in the Tranche 2 from the UK?

Mark Pyruz said...

KSA demands for early delivery diverted 24 British Tranche 2s, with some reports suggesting that 48 British Tranche 3 aircraft will actually fulfill the remaining RSAF order. (What a saga it's been for BAE and KSA!)

Big news is the suggestion of a new KSA order for 72 Boeing F-15s, possibly the F-15SE (instead of speculated additional Eurofighters).

That would give the RSAF 71 two-seat F-15Ss, 72 Eurofighter Typhoons, 66 single-seat F-15Cs, 18 two-seat F-15Ds, around 87 upgraded Tornados and potentially 72 F-15SEs. Quite a regional force! Keep in mind that like the IIAF back in the 1970's, the RSAF maintains parts of its air fleet in storage, as an attrition reserve in case of war (per Tom Cooper).

Meanwhile, the IRIAF pretty much flies the remnants of the Shah's old air fleet, with a few of Saddam's gifts thrown in for extra measure! Still, the IRIAF deserves credit where credit is due. Despite the heavy burden of sanctions and an aging air fleet, it still manages to put fighter planes into the air. (I've heard rumors that only around six IRIAF F-14As possess working AN/AWG-9 radars, giving them the capability of utilizing the AIM-7E for long-range intercept. Remaining Tomcats are used for training, as bombers and for short-range intercept using the AIM-9P. Per rumor, no way to verify).

Paul Iddon said...

well the US obviously considered Iran's F-14 fleet to be a big enough threat over 20 years later when it destroyed all of its fleet to ensure they weren't acquiring any new spare parts

I know about Project Sky Hawk from the 1980's but do you think that the Iranians have (or had) any other AIM-54 Phoenix missile counterpart in the works?