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Tuesday, November 16, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israeli general: Iran has equipped proxy's rockets with guidance systems

JERUSALEM — Iran has significantly enhanced its rocket arsenal.


Officials and analysts said Iran and its allies in the Middle East have converted their unguided rockets into guided weapons. They said the conversion has transformed the rocket arsenals of Hamas, Hizbullah, Iran and Syria from what was termed a terror threat to a military threat.

"We are facing a significant leap in the projectile capability," Brig. Gen. Doron Gavish, chief of the Air Defense Command, said.

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At an aerospace conference on Nov. 15, Gavish and leading defense executives and analysts asserted that Iran was converting its Scud-based missile and rocket arsenal into precision weapons, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the effort was facilitated by the availability of navigation and guidance systems based on the U.S.-based Global Positioning System and Glonass, the Russian acronym for GLObal NAvigation Satellite System.

"The enemy has achieved aerial supremacy without even having aircraft," Uzi Rubin, former head of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, said.

Rubin, regarded as a leading consultant on ballistic missiles, cited Iran's new rockets, which have been exported to Hizbullah and Syria. He said Iran's Fateh-110 rocket, with an enhanced range of 300 kilometers, has become fully-guided.

"There is guidance from launch, maybe throughout the entire flight," Rubin said.

As a result, officials and analysts said, Iran's new rockets could have a circle error of probability of up to 200 meters at a range of 90 kilometers. They said this would enable Hizbullah and Syria to strike Israeli critical facilities with dozens rather than hundreds of rockets.

Syria was also said to have been enhancing its Scud-D ballistic missile, tipped with a chemical warhead. Rubin said Syria, with technology from Iran and its allies, was believed to have reduced the Scud-D's circle error of probability from several kilometers to several hundred meters.

Rubin said Hizbullah and Syria have accumulated 13,000 missiles and rockets that could hit targets from Israel's northern border to the southern city of Beersheba. Of those weapons, he said, 1,500 warheads could strike the Tel Aviv area. Hamas has also acquired rockets with a range to hit Tel Aviv.

"This is a revolution," Rubin said.

Officials said the new Iranian capability would force Israel to revise its missile defense doctrine. They said Israel was expected to deploy its multi-layered system by 2015.

"The new missile threat requires a revision of doctrine, and IMDO and the defense industries are working on this," Capt. Guy Aviram, a senior official in IMDO, said.

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