Israeli sources believe at least one shipment of Russian-made NPO Almaz S-300 surface-to-air missiles has been sent to Syria in recent weeks.

Describing the move as a "game-changer", Israeli security sources are concerned that the Syrian regime intends to use them against Israeli air force assets operating over Lebanon or that they will be transferred to Hezbollah, the Syrian-backed Lebanese terror organisation.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said on May 16 that his country planned to continue with its shipment of S-300 missiles to Syria. The deal was signed before the recent air strikes on Syria, reportedly carried out by Israel, says Lavrov.

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu travelled to Moscow earlier this week and urged Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, not to go ahead with the S-300 sale.

The missile, one of the most advanced used by the Russian army, can target an aircraft at a distance of several tens of kilometres thanks to a sophisticated radar system combined with additional sensors on the missile itself.

Israel is particularly concerned by the deployment of the missiles as the S-300 is reportedly able to overcome the self-defence systems installed on Israeli air force aircraft.

Source: Flight International