Will Russia sell S-400 systems to Iran?

As tensions between  Iran and Israel rise, both have considered purchasing cutting-edge weapons to counter their adversary.

Iran wants S-400 missiles.

Iran is hopeful that the addition of S-400 air defense systems to its arsenal will significantly improve its current level of military capability. The US Patriot SAM system is viewed as a close competitor to this mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) system designed in Russia.

Although the Kremlin has not acknowledged the deal, recent military talks between the rebel allies and the government indicate that an S-400 deal may soon become a reality.

Presentation of the S-400 missile system

The Russian Air Force officially announced the S-400 system in 1993, but its development dates back almost a decade. Russian media claimed that the missile had been successfully tested in 1999 and that its deployment in the Army was scheduled for 2001. As of 2003, however, the S-400 was still not in service.

In the following years, the S-400 would undergo several more tests and would eventually enter service with the Russian Army in 2007. Much information about the development and testing phases of the missile system is still unknown, as Russia has been intentionally imprecise about the history of the S-400.


Designated the SA-21 Growler by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)the S-400 was intended to replace the aging Russian S-300P and S-200 air defense systems. The S-400 system uses four new types of missiles in addition to those used by its predecessor.

The S-300 is also compatible with the 9M96E2 and 9M96E1 missiles and the 5V55R and 48N6E. The 48N6DM, an improved variant of the 48N6M with a robust propulsion system, can be carried by the new S-400.

Army Technology estimates that the effective range of this missile is between 200 and 250 kilometers. The Triumph is equipped to fire medium-range surface-to-air missiles, which can reach further and strike more quickly than their shorter-range counterparts.

Russian-Iranian military exchanges on the rise

In the summer, Moscow began receiving unmanned aerial vehicles designed by Iran (UAVs). Ukraine believes Russia has recovered over 2,400 lethal drones from Iran.

Remnants of destroyed Shahed-13 one delay munitions have been sighted throughout Ukraine. Iran provided these lethal drones to Russia and trained its soldiers in their correct use.

Su-35 fighters for Iran

As the relationship between the Iranian regime and the Kremlin grew, Tehran sought Su-35 fighters manufactured in Russia. In the coming years, Tehran is anticipated to acquire at least 24 Su-35 fighters that were originally designed for Egypt. Bloomberg reported recently that Iran intends to acquire the advanced Russian S-400 air defense system.

One Forbes analyst told me, “It cannot be ruled out that Teheran demanded S-400 shipments from Russia in exchange for its support in the Ukraine conflict via kamikaze drone (loitering munitions) shipments.”

“However, Iran needs to develop its own military-industrial complex, overseen by the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), and this military-industrial complex produces an analog of the Russian S-300 complexes.”

Iranian S-400s: A Threat to Israel

Israel would be indirectly affected if Tehran received Moscow’s S-400 SAM system. Jewish state officials believe such a system would hinder future attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities. As Russia’s war in Ukraine unfolds, relations between the two allies will only improve, making the prospect of an Iranian-owned S-400 system more likely.