Foreign reports claim that a recent Israel Air Force exercise over the Mediterranean had an added, more subtle dimension. According to the reports, the exercise studied how Israeli strike planes could penetrate the Russian-made S-300 air-defense missile system. The S-300 is operated by Greece’s Royal Hellenic Army, which deploys it on the southern Greek island of Crete. Allegedly, Greece cooperated with the I.A.F. during the exercise, which allowed the air force to study how to jam, evade, and defeat the system.
The S-300 is an advanced generation air-defense missile system which can track 100 targets and engage 12 simultaneously. Iran has purchased at least five such systems at a cost of more than $500 million, according to Russian industry sources. Some sources say the Iranians are getting a newer generation of the system than the Greeks have.