Iranian S-300 SAMs, Or a Bunch of Oil Drums Welded Together?

Israel has let it be known that it regards Iran’s acquisition of the Russian built S-300 surface-to-air missile system, considered roughly equivalent to the Patriot missile, to be a red line that would likely prompt an Israeli aerial attack. Iran placed an order for the S-300 (NATO designation SA-20) way back in 2005, but Russia says the SAMs are on backorder and has no idea when or if they’ll become available.

Well, Aviation Week’s David Fulghum spotted something fishy in a photo from Iran’s Army Day parade in Tehran that took place on Sunday. The vehicle in the picture is a Bakr-series tank carrier with what looks to be 55-gal. drums welded together and painted to resemble S-300 launchers, he says.

Below the jump, the Moscow parade version. You make the call.

— Greg

59 Comments on "Iranian S-300 SAMs, Or a Bunch of Oil Drums Welded Together?"

  1. Iran wants the US or Israel to attack it. Doesn't everyone see that? And the US and or Israel are just dumb enough to do it.

  2. At least those oil drums aren't mounted on a camel, eh? You've gotta give 'em that.

  3. I'm trying to measure length of tubes by counting the rings, and the bottom picture appears to have more rings, so longer?

    Might be a shorter ranged missile that works with the same fire control systems? Regardless, wouldn't put it past Iran to have semi-advanced air defense.

  4. Good Evening Folks,

    In a business I was once in those would be called a “Display Prop”. Impressive to the untrained eye, not very to those who know what they should be seeing. Really when you come down to it all of Iran is just a “Prop”.

    Byron Skinner

  5. Guys the russian stuff in the picture are fakes. Everyone of the missiles you see in these parades are just mock ups. Always have been. Russia doesnt have enough of these systems for russian units and cant build them so why give them to the iranians.

  6. Those are wider than 55 gallon drums. Maybe they're fakes, but maybe they're Iranian kludges?

  7. Hard to tell. Here's another one showing the rings on real S-300s.

    With the exception of the colors, they look pretty similar.

  8. Guys they are all fakes. The russians dont have the ability to build more than one system a year and all of the missiles you see on parade are fakes. After the wall feel and the russkis admited they were fakes the CIA freaked. They had been basing their security threat accessments on their being real.

  9. To me, the Iranian tubes look fake. The trucks aren't 'complicated' enough to support them either (compare with the Russian ones with all their hatches etc.). As for the tubes themselves, they are lacking significant detail such as clamps about halfway down, handles on the lids – heck those lids are in no way as sturdy as the real ones. The rings themselves are less substantial. It's 100% a sham. And not a good one either. Did the Iranians parade any 'support' vehicles including radar system?

  10. Take s shrike to the RADAR's and the system will be useless. No matter which air defense system is used, the RADAR has to be actively scanning or there will be no target acquisition. Beam rider missiles have the advantage in the counter measures. The electronically steered beams are still active scans, although using lower power than the older multichannel systems. The problem for the Iranian's (or anyone else in Air Defense) is determining if the target is a drone, aircraft, or missile. Drones make good decoys and they carry missiles too.

  11. If this isn''t "slam dunk smoking gun evidence" that Iran "is only 45 minutes away from launching WMD", I don't know what is. Come on. surely we can scrape together another Trillion dollars from the Chinese and a few thousand more American lives, to get these evil doers. These godless commies have got to be shown who is the boss around here.

  12. I say we send over about a dozen B-2s to find out for sure. And while were over there…

  13. I am going to use a poker term here. I can see the Iranian's tell here by lookign specifically at the TEL. Why would the Russians give them just the missiles and not the TEL to go with them? The Iranian truck has a full cab, the Russian version does not. The Russians would sell them the whole setup.

  14. P.S> isn't this the same country that used toy model planes on their military air force pictures? LOL

  15. Exactly its not what you have but what your enemies think you have that keeps you safe.

    Isreal is the one threating everyone, if any other country said the things they say would we stand by them NOPE.

    I aint for Iran but I am for being fair and this just stinks of one being totally 1 sided and I think honestly the world is getting tired of being the security backdrop for Isreal.

  16. If it's a Russian made weapons system, they probably ARE 55-gallon drums……

  17. For Comparison:

    >>>S300PMU SA-10 Grumble

    >>>S300V SA-12 Giant

    >>>S-400 Triumph

    >>>S-300PMU2 Favorit

    When compared, the Iranian version is an obvious fake. None the less, when a small yield nuke lands in Israel on the back of a medium range missile, this will be an academic discussion at best.

  18. It looks like a modified oil drum. It's a display prop!

  19. Wow how clueless is DT. It’s been known for a year that the Chinese are going to sell the HQ-9 Sam to Iran. I guess if it’s not contained in a US contractor press release DT doesn’t know about it.

  20. They do totally really believe allah will make them missiles if Israel or USA attack. They even have mock launch buttons on them really rigged with mock cables or something.. :) :)

  21. Byron Skinner | April 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Reply

    Good Morning Folks,

    They are all empty containers, welded drums or actual missile transport containers I’m snot sure if any of it matters what isn’t on those ‘turcks”. Look at the rear suspensions, all are riding high.

    Byron Skinner

  22. Remember those idiotic christian articles that used to air time to time a decade ago that no-one deared to comment because they were so affraid of lestadion assassins. Well that news about Iranian cleric blaiming immodest women of earth quaces and this article are about as effective.. :) :)

  23. Personally I'd prefer Iran wasn't equipped with anything more lethal than a sharpened mango. But does Israel really believe they have the right to veto any other nations' defence purchases? If you were an Iranian leader & were told 'nope, you're not allowed those defensive missiles', would this make you more or less likely to want to buy them (or equivalent)?

    Iran has enough internal issues to keep occupied for a long time. The only thing likely to unite them is outside pressure. Taking their photoshopped rockets and ridiculous F-5 mods seriously is a waste of time.

  24. The Iranians obviously have the unguided version of the S-300.


    Now stack those oil drums up against the Air Force's latest drone. Oil drums are a bit cheaper…….

  26. they look as sophisticated as a boxing glover on a spring!in fact i would bet that is exactly what those tubes contain!!

  27. Fake, the third tire is almost off the ground. I don't see any means of the back end being able to raise up & fire the missles. No long range antenna to communicate with the S-300 when launched. Those tires are beyond cheap & if this was real they wouldn't support the weight.

  28. THEY ARE NOT 44 GALLON DRUMS!. I don't know what they are, but they certainly are nut drums welded together. I measured the wheel rim size (given in Wikipedia), then using SOLIDWORKS, transferred the diameter to the tubes. A standard drum is 580mm Diameter (just under two feet). These tubes are 870mm diameter.

    Not only that, but the reinfocement ribs on a drum are three per segment, and the ends are not convex like these ones are. So stop kidding yourelves that they are 44 gallon drums. Also the suspension is 'not riding high' as is claimed

    Its aggrogance like this that got you into Iraq and Afghanistan. You only see what you want to see.

  29. / facepalm

    Those are Chinese Hong-9 SAMs,

    Here's a link to an article on a Chinese website about it, more pics included which make them look less like oil drums welded together.

  30. Just look at the camo on the two units. The Russian one is will blend in really well in a Eurasian mixed forest. The Iranian one is… birght red and blue? Yeah, no one will ever spot that one from the air in the Middle East.

    One is functional military hardware, the other one is a parade prop.

  31. There are pictures of the ‘s-300 radars’ are available here….

    any ideas about these…

  32. My question is: Is that vehicle pictured in either provided photograph a transporter or a launcher? I don't see any stabilization systems on either platform. Equal but opposite reaction and all when applying thousands of pounds of static thrust to a movable but stationary surface – like a launch platform.

    Second, those things we are seeing aren't the missiles themselves, just the transport cocoons. Its conceivable that the Ruskies didn't sell them the transport cocoons with the missiles… albeit fairly unlikely.

    Keep in mind also previous Iranian 'showing of arms' forgeries. Like that missile test photo that was edited. My money is on bluff, personally. Maybe an Iranian 'false flag' to goad Israel into an attack, pushing the Israelis off their shaky moral high ground. Not the first time Israel carried out attacks on Iran. I'm just wondering what our Iraqi air defenses will do when a bunch of IAF elements transverse 'our' airspace. Hell, who am I kidding? We'll probably let the Israelis tank on one of our KC-135's.

  33. Ha! That's awesome :D

  34. SkysoldierRecon | April 21, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Reply

    the TRUCKS are different. The robust Russian model, and that p.o.s. the Iranians got those barrels on. REAL missles would be too heavy 4 the Iranian truck. Then again, im not an engineer

  35. Who paints royal blue camo on a missile truck anyway, besides Iran that is?

  36. it is too soon to do judgement. let wait afterr couple months we will see it is fake or real. one important is if it be real it does the performance as russian s-300. even if it deose 75 % still is good for the third country . at least Israile will began new war.

  37. I'd be more worried about the Wookie Battalion glimpsed around the 20s mark

  38. If I only had a few, I wouldn't parade them around. I would use"decoys". I would have the REAL STUFF hid and the FAKES on the street.


    The Israeli newspaper "Haaretz" (Tel Aviv, Israel) reported today – 4/23/2010 (link pasted above), that Israeli experts also detected a radar that resembled a Russian or Chinese copy of radars used with the deployment of S-300 PMU1 SAMs. Naturally, they cannot discern if this radar is a real or a fake one. Even if it is a real one, it does not substantially alter Iranian air defense capabilities within the near future.

  40. I would rather have them attack with drums because they wouldnt be able to throw the drums to far. Maybe roll them off and crush some people.

  41. Yeah, keep thinking they are drums…..until they blow yoour shit aircraft out of the sky. The Poles in 1939 believed their own propaganda that the German tanks were made of canvass and wood.

  42. if the s300 canisters are real then some video footge of them in action would go a long way in proving they are not fakes. lets see the aquisition radar and the other phased array units that complete the system. i do believe the iranians are capable of making a s300 eqivalent but i think iran has a pretty strong SAM capability without the S300s. their S200 SAMS (with a 315km range!) have been modified to use more than 1 firing channel and all their missile seeker heads have now been digitized to improve ECCM capalilites. their new shain missile system is brand new too, with advanced signall processing and ECM resistance. iran can now produce electonic warfare equipment and lets not forget they already have 2 REAL S300PMU units in Tehran which they can reverse engineer if they so wish to.

  43. This site:… shows pictures of Russian operated S-300 and S-400 systems. First the post labelled "S-300pmu2" shows the lauchers deployed. Notice the relatively small profile of the erector. Lower down under "S-300 systems Russian Army" the launch tubes are shown in the transport position. Note that the erector is not visible at all from this position. This belies the assertion on Aviation Week by an unnamed Israeli "intelligence analyst" that the system must be a mockup because the erectors are not visible. Also note the identical design and dimensions in all these photos of the launch tubes including the ribbed supports on the tubes. Thus; the system is most likely a Russian S-300pmu1 or 2 system and not a Chinese one given the prominent erector and different support rib design used on by the Chinese system.

  44. The trucks' rear suspension has to be a little high in this configuration; when the tubes go up, the weight transfers to the back.

  45. iran cannot be attacked without using nukes now. they are too powerfull.

  46. Looks like dead jews to me


  48. Hello and asalam alikom to every one!
    If Iran wants to say that our country is an islamic country and we are muslim people so why they kill inoccent people of Afghanistan, Iran protect taliban in Afghanistan to kill our innocent people and kill nato military.
    Iran, Pakistan and UAE is the mother of Taliban and the mother of these country are USA.
    America in one day ******** taliban in Afghanistan, but today their is 54 country in afghanistan for fighting against of Taliban.
    Why they can’t defeat Taliban?
    the answer is simple…. Taliban is poppet of these countries.

  49. thats total Bullsh*t. we all know Iran bluffs sometimes bout their military power but really? Air defences? do u rely think they would joke bout such an important tool of defence against an Air strike? Naww. it is said that those s-300 systems are either Chinese or were deployed to Iran from a former soviet nation like Kazaghystan , idk the exact country.

  50. iran is poweful contry in the world..

  51. FROM IRAN: with s300 or without s300 not a difference, we can still defend our selves we are use to do it for about 17000years against 1000s of punk ass forces like US and still we are standing and this means Iranians have won all those battles. US & UK want to put a puppet leader in Iran so that they can take advantages out of it, like before 1979,

    US, Israel,Australia, you people don't have even a land of your selves you have invaded those lands by killing all the natives(philistines and native Americans and Australians) , you don't have history and no culture, you don't have even an honor, your honor is to bomb another people, that is all you got, to leave as leeches cuase again there is nothing in the lands stolen by you so that you can make money out of it , that is why you are leeches and you will be livving as a leech forevr

  52. David Fulghum has deleted his analysis, he was wrong.

  53. Restore Palestine | April 29, 2013 at 3:03 am | Reply

    The Russian S-300 is vastly superior to the Patriot, which was a POS according to Israeli engineers before repeated software updates had been installed. Even now, the Patriot is nowhere as reliable and potent as the S-300. To say S-300 is comparable to the POS aka Patriot is an insult to the S-300.

  54. Ah US propaganda in favor of Israel. If they are oil drums, why hasn't mighty Israel sent jets to take them out?

  55. Well, whatever these are, I guess we all should work together over resolving issues among countries. Seeing tankers like these on parade (whether real or fake) surely is scary. Makes you think what's going on.

    brisbane welding

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