After President Donald Trump ordered an air strike on the Syrian Shayrat Air Force Base in retaliation for the Syrian chemical weapons attack on the town of Khan Shiekhoun, one of the biggest concerns for the USAF ops planners was the presence in the area of the deadly Russian S-400 air defence system. Well, the slow-moving, low flying Tomahawk cruise missiles could have been shot out of the sky by the S-400. the question is why weren’t they fired?
One can speculate that there was a deal struck between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that permitted the US to carry out the strikes by 59 Tomahawks unmolested by the S-400 anti-aircraft missiles so long as the cruise missiles did not target the tarmac nor overly inconvenience the Syrian Air Force. Sure enough, as the Independent newspaper of London reports, Syrian attack aircraft, parked in hardened shelters dotting the air field, or flown out for the duration of the US attack, began staging out of this base the day after the cruise strikes. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/syria-air-strikes-us-bashar-al-assad-regime-air-base-bombed-shayrat-f-you-donald-trump-lindsey-a7675851.html)
In fact Trump lamely explained that other than the runways were targeted because modern technology facilitated very fast repairs and recovery and, implicitly, that the cruise missiles would be wasted. This raises the question: What exactly did the Tomahawks take out?
Apparently not the runways, nor the ATC paraphernalia. That leaves only the radar and communications systems. Perhaps, these were was knocked off but without destroying them fully. Otherwise, the air activity out of Shayrat couldn’t have resumed so quickly and without a decent interval for capability restoration.
Something smells here! And the odour is of a Trump-Putin deal — the US cries retribution and is allowed by Russia a minor score against Shayrat even as the Trump-Putin communications line is not endangered, kept open for future mutually beneficial transactions. There’s no other explanation that so many cruise missile with great terminal accuracy do so little damage.