Israel develops countermeasures to S-300 system
Special to World Tribune.com
MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE
Thursday, July 12, 2001
TEL AVIV — Israel's air force has acquired the S-300 and developed
countermeasures as part of an assessment that its Arab neighbors will
eventually obtain the advanced Russian anti-aircraft system.
Israeli and European defense sources said Israel has acquired key
components of the S-300 Almaz in 1998 from Croatia. The subsystems obtained
include radar and fire control components that would allow Israel to
examine the operations of the air defense battery.
The system was obtained by Croatia from Yugoslavia in 1995 and then
secretly transferred to Israel during the final days of the regime of
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman. The sources said the deal was arranged by
Croatian Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Zagorec, responsible for the
military relationship between Jerusalem and Zagreb.
Israeli military sources would not confirm details of the S-300
transfer. But they said the air force has been preparing for the prospect
that such countries as Egypt, Syria or Iran would obtain the system. They
said the air force and the Israeli defense industries have developed
electronic warfare systems and decoys meant to deceive the S-300, which in
the hands of Syria could cover most of Israel's air space.
"The Israeli Air Force began to prepare for the S-300 in the mid-1990s,"
a senior air force source said. "Delegates visited S-300 sites in Russia and
other countries to learn about the system."
A senior Israeli defense source said such state-owned companies as
Israel Military Industries and Rafael, Israel Armament Development
Authority, have developed means to disrupt or deceive the S-300 system. IMI
has developed the Improved Tactical Air Launched Decoy [ITALD], which is
meant to fool the S-300 radar. The source said the advanced versions of the
SA-12 has a radar that can spot aircraft at a range of up to 300 kilometers.
Res. Brig. Gen. Shlomo Brom, a former head of strategic planning at the
Israel Defense Forces and now a senior researcher at Tel Aviv University's
Jaffee Center for Strategic Center, said the military appears to have
formulated a response to the S-300, including advanced versions such as the
SA-12. Brom said that Egypt is interested in obtaining the SA-12 as an
answer to Israel's Arrow missile defense system.
"I have no doubt that already several years ago they [Israel's air
force] learned of this system," Brom said. "The element of [Arab] surprise
is much weaker."
Brom said the S-300, regardless of which model, is an expensive system.
As a result, he did not envision that Syria would be able to purchase more
than several batteries.
Croatian sources said the S-300 was purchased through the Israeli firm
Nevada Trade from an owner listed as Winsley Finance. They said the system
was dismantled, with Zagreb keeping the missiles and Israel obtaining the