The Greek Armed Forces have carried out the first-time test firing of the Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missile (SAM) defence system at the Nato Missile Firing Installation (NAMFI) in Crete, Greece.
Carried out as part of the recently concluded Lefkos Aetos 2013 (White Eagle 2013) military exercise, the successful launch comes 14 years after its purchase, RIA Novosti reports.
Greece defence minister Dimitris Avramopoulos was quoted by the news agency as saying that the S-300 is one of the most modern defence systems that ensure the efficiency of the national air defence.
”It may sound paradoxical, but this successful S-300 launch is a message of peace and stability in south-eastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean,” Avramopoulos said.
Greece is the only Nato member country to possess an S-300 system in its inventory.
The S-300 PMU1 system was originally acquired by Cyprus from Russia in the mid-1990s, but was later transferred to Greece in return for shorter-range missiles and other military equipment, following a warning for pre-emptive military action by Turkey, CyprusMail reports.
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Comprising two batteries/12 launchers/96 missiles, the system is operated by the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) on the island of Crete.
Code-named Favorite, the S-300 is a mobile, long-range air defence system designed to detect, track and destroy incoming cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and high and low-flying strike aircraft.
Developed by NPO Almaz Bureau, the high-precision missile system is capable of tracking up to 100 simultaneous targets from a distance of 150km, and requires no maintenance over its lifetime.
Different S-300 variants are currently operational with Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam.
Image: The Russia S-300 anti-aircraft missile system at the Victory Parade, Red Square in Moscow. Photo: courtesy of kremlin.ru.