Advanced Iskander SS-26 “Stone” short-range ballistic missiles have been spotted at Russia’s Hmeimim air base in Latakia, Syria by Israeli satellite imagery, the ISI EROS-B satellite.
Deployment of the advanced ground-to-ground missile system was revealed in satellite imagery analysis by Imagesat International intelligence experts over this weekend.
Although the system is generally deployed under camouflage nets, it is believed that heavy rain and floods forced the air base to redeploy the missile units to a location in which they became visible to the satellite.
The Iskander units were first spotted when the Russian Zvezda TV channel broadcast the deployment of a single Iskander Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) in March 2016.
But according to a report in Defense Update, the current ISIS images show two Iskander vehicles “at a logistic site beside the northeastern part of the runway… most probably SS-26 Trans-Loading vehicles (Transloaders).”
Each 9K720 Iskander-M missile carries a warhead of 480-700 kg. of various types, including penetrating high explosives (HE), fragmenting HE, fuel-air explosives and submunitions, according to Defense Update.
More ominously, Russia has also developed a nuclear warhead for these missiles, which – depending on the warhead — have a range of up to 500 kilometers (311 miles), according to Global Security. They are reported to be highly accurate, hitting the target within four to seven meters (about 4 to 8 yards).
The Iskander was also designed to evade missile defense systems, Missile Threat reports, and is equipped with decoys to dodge interceptor missiles, such as those used with Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
All of this places Tel Aviv and Jerusalem well within dangerous range of these missiles, as well as the cities of Haifa, Tzfat, Herzliya and numerous other targets.
However, it is believed the Russians have no interest in targeting Israeli cities, at least at this point.
And for now, each time advanced weapons begin to make their way to the hands of Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization, Israel has somehow found a way to “neutralize” the threat.