Air Defense Expert: I Hoped Israel Would Never Need to Use Arrow System (excerpt)
(Source: The Jerusalem Post; published March 19, 2017)
By Anna Ahronheim
After initial rumors that the Israeli Air Force had used its new F-35s to attack targets in Syria, it is now clear that it used F-16I Sufa two-seat fighters as for previous strikes, escorted by F-15Is and protected by Arrow missile interceptors. (Twitted photo)
The former head of the Arrow anti-ballistic missile project, Uzi Rubin, said on Sunday that he was certain the Air Force made the right decision in using the system over the weekend to successfully intercept incoming Syrian surface-to-air missiles fired against Israeli jets early Friday morning.
“While I hoped that the state would never need to use the system, I am sure that the Air Force made the right choice in using the system,” Rubin told the The Jerusalem Post.
The Syrians claimed that one Israeli jet had been shot down and another damaged by SA-5 missiles, a claimed strongly denied by the army which confirmed the first use of Israel’s missile defense system to intercept a missile north of Jerusalem.
The Air Force is currently investigating whether or not the use of Arrow was necessary given that the system was designed to intercept much larger and significant missiles, but was still used to successfully shoot down the Syrian projectile.
Former prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak also questioned the use of the system on Saturday at a lecture in Beersheba saying that “it could be that with more thorough thought, it wasn’t worth firing.”
But according to Rubin, the Arrow system “was designed exactly” for what it was used for on Friday.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also addressed the use of the Arrow missile defense system on Sunday, threatening to destroy Syria's air defense systems if Israeli jets are targeted again by the Assad regime.
“If the IDF chooses to act, there is a real reason for it,” Liberman said at during a visit to the IDF induction center.
Liberman warned that there will be “no compromise” on the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah and if air-defense systems are used again by the Syrian regime against IAF jets, Israel will “destroy them. We will not hesitate. Israel’s security is paramount and above everything else. There will be no compromise.” (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Jerusalem Post website.
Israel Threatens to ‘Destroy’ Syrian Air Defenses After Missiles Fired
(Source: Radio Free Europe; issued March 19, 2017)
Israel has warned Damascus not to use its air-defense systems against its warplanes after the Syrians fired at Israeli jets carrying out attacks against a convoy suspected of supplying weapons to the Hizballah militant group.
"The next time the Syrians use their air-defense systems against our planes, we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation," Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on March 19.
Hizballah is fighting alongside Syrian government forces in the country’s six-year civil war. The Lebanon-based, Iran-backed Shi'ite group has been a sworn enemy of Israel and has fired thousands of rockets into the country over the past 10 decade. Israel and the United States consider Hizballah a terrorist organization and a "proxy" for mostly Shi'ite Iran.
On March 17, Israeli warplanes hit several targets near the Syrian desert city of Palmyra.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the strikes had targeted weapons being sent to Hizballah fighters.
The Syrian military claimed to have shot down an Israeli jet and hit another as they were carrying out the strikes.
Israeli denied that any planes had been hit, but it did say "several antiaircraft missiles" were fired following the raid.
"Each time we discover arms transfers from Syria to Lebanon, we will act to stop them. On this there will be no compromise," Defense Minister Lieberman said.
Lieberman said he did not want to interfere in the Syrian civil war or provoke a confrontation with Russian forces who are supporting the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Netanyahu has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent months to set up a "hotline" between the two countries to prevent accidental clashes between their forces, despite both sides having different interests in Syria.
The six-year war in Syria -- which began with a government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters on March 15, 2011 -- has killed an estimated 300,000 people and displaced millions more.
The United States and Turkey support various rebel groups, while Russia and Iran support Assad.
Fighters of the Islamic State (IS) militant group have also entered the war and are opposed by both sides