October 18, 2007

"IAF versus Russian Radar in Syria: Facts and Rumors"

October 18, 2007 - A few recent reports have Iran, Russia and Syria worried over Israel's ability to penetrate Syrian (that is, Russian) air defenses, as shown in the recent raid on Syria, by jamming missile radar (see Aviation Week, Haaretz, and Times Online). Supposedly, this raid was a "test" of "new" technology that would be used to jam Iranian air defenses in an Israeli raid.

There are some problems with this thesis. One is that Israel would hardly give away the secret of mission-critical technology essential for a raid on Iran, by announcing that it has it in a minor raid on Syria. If Israel is indeed planning a raid on Iran, it will not rely on that technology.

A second is that in principle, Israel has been developing electronic solutions for Russian radar-guided missiles at least since 1982, so this ability is not so new, though the particular system used here may have used advanced technology. Syrian radar operators are well aware of this fact. At any given time, Israel either has the solution for the particular system that is deployed, or is working on one. The electronic solution apparently depends on having an aircraft, perhaps unmanned, that is either out of range of the radar or not easily detectable, and that can latch on to the missile-guiding radar and jam it. Another solution may be to know the precise location of the system and to fire a missile at it from a distance, out of range of the system.

IAF versus Russian Radar in Syria: Facts and Rumors
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