Israeli F-16I pilots use Greece’s S-300 SAMs to prepare for potential Iran air strikes

Israeli F-16I pilots get S-300 training opportunity

The Israeli Air Force has used INIOXOS-2015, one the largest annual exercise of the Hellenic Air Force, to prepare for a potential situation where it will have to attack Iranian nuclear facilities by performing missions against the S-300PMU-1 surface-to-air missile system, stationed in Crete, according to Flightglobal.

Russia has recently lifted the ban on sale of S-300 systems to Iran.

The S-300 is a mobile air defense system that couples a radars capable to track multiple targets with long-range missiles to hit aerial targets at a distance of 150 km and an altitude up to 27,000 meters. Although well-known to the western air forces, it remains a lethal SAM system that Iran could field to protect its nuclear sites.

From Apr. 20 to 30, at least 150 combat planes from all Combat Wings/Squadrons of the HAF performed various missions, day and night, such as Counter Air Operations against Integrated Air Defence Systems, Anti Surface Force Air Operations, Fighter Sweep, HVAAE (High Value Asset Air Escort), Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Time Sensitive Targets, Dynamic Targeting – Time Sensitive Targets.

Israel deployed 10 F-16I Sufa jets from four Squadrons (201 «The One», 253 «The Negev», 107 «The Knights of the Orange Tail» and 119 «The Bat) at the 117 Combat Wing/Andravida Air Base and U.S. Air Force in Europe dispatched a number of SF personnel as JTACs (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers).

The Israeli AF Commander Maj Gen Amir Eshel visited the troops and flew at least one mission over Aegean Sea along with his Greek counterpart Lt Gen Christos Vaitsis (with F-16D Block52+ ADV of 335 Sq. “Tiger”).

Thanks to the exercise in Greece (not the first attended by the Israeli since the deterioration of their relations with Turkey), the Israeli Air Force has gathered important data about the Russian SAM system and had the opportunity to test and improve evasion tactics during simulated attacks against ground targets protected by S-300 batteries.

H/T e-Amyna for the heads-up

F-16I in Greece

Image credit: IAF and HAF

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. just 2 fixes not “that care” but “take care”, not “regression” but “egress route”… sorry I was writing in a hurry

  2. The Missiles are brutally fast and it’s seekers are notorious for working in a cluttered environment.

    • According to the Russian salesmen, anyway. Has any version of the S300 ever been used in combat? It’s a 1980s design that was never sold to Saddam Hussein because he couldn’t afford them.

      • Most ABM systems have their design basis from 70’s or 80’s designs such as the Patriot System etc.

        The S300 has gone through many upgrades such as the S400 and S500.

        The one in question that the Iranians are allegedly acquiring is the S-300PMU1.

        What makes this variant particularly worrying is the Multi-functional radar and it’s fire control radar system.

        It’s designed to take out aerial targets whether high or low flying.

        France and Germany highly rated the S-300PMU as being a system posing the highest significant threat to western aircraft.

        However, it will come down to the operator of the system.

        It’s a hard system to take out with anti-radiation ASM’s or UCAV’s.

        It also just depends on how many systems Iran acquires.

        This system alone won’t however win any confrontation for Iran. It will only make the risks higher. If one looks at the entire Iranian military it’s quite easy to see that the majority of their equipment is outdated.

        However this could change if sanctions are dropped and Iran is allowed to import Russian and Chinese military equipment. However, due to their economic issues I doubt this will happen and the first thing Iran will most likely try to do once sanctions are dropped is to save their economy.

  3. In a way,Yes, but by adopting another F-16 variant that specialised in the long range strike role they significantly lowered the cost on parts, facilities and training as well as increasing serviceability and availability.
    Important if you find yourself in a prolonged war but also a smart move for a country with limited budgets, limited land and few friends in its neighbourhood.

  4. The United States gives billions in aid to many of Israel’s hostile neighbours but only Israel is criticised for doing the smart thing and accepting the money the USA gives them.
    At least they actually give something back.

    • Like who? Jordan, Egypt, Iraq? I haven’t seen them be hostile to Israel for quite some time now. Israel is just a US protectorate.

  5. still, it would not be a walk in the park, I guess Iranians are smart enough to deploy jammers and decoys (approximately at price of a microwave oven each) as well.

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