|S-300VM/Antey-2000 Surface to Air missile complex during an exhibition in 2013 MAKS Air Show in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, August 27.|
The Egyptian Military have begun taking delivery of the Russian-made S-300VM/Antey-2000 Surface to Air missile complex. According to photos released by a Russian website vk.com which shows the unloading of the 9M82-series missile canisters from a general cargo ship in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.
Egypt will be the official first export customer for the advance air defense system which can control and defend a large part of the airspace around the Mediterranean which includes a significant part of the Israeli airspace within. This can change the balance of power in the region significantly. The S-300VM can detect, intercept and destroy an incoming enemy aircraft or ballistic missile.
The S-300VM is the export version of a series in the S-300P missile complex which was designed by the Soviet union to counter Western air attacks and intercept incoming ballistic missiles.
In march 2015, Russian news service TASS reported that Cairo would buy batteries of the Antey-2500 system for over a billion dollars. However, The Israeli Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel brushed off concerns over Egypt’s purchase of the Russian S-300 air defense system even though the S-300VM can shoot down aircraft well inside Israeli airspace. Although he did show concern for the reported sale to Iran which he quoted that:
“Someone who has an S-300 feels protected and can do more aggressive things because he feels protected.”– according to Reuters.
The S-300VM uses two different missiles (9M82 and the smaller 9M83) to shoot down targets ranging from cruise missiles and aircraft to ballistic missiles. It can engage four targets out to 200 km and altitudes of up to 25 000 metres. The system is designed to defeat short and medium range of ballistic and cruise missiles, PGM and also fixed-wing aircraft.