"Yahalom" Battery Intercepts Syrian Jet
(Source: Israeli Air Force; issued July 25, 2018)
An Israeli Air Force Patriot battery fired two missiles and shot down a Syrian air force Su-24 Fencer strike aircraft after it penetrated two kilometers inside Israeli airspace. (IAF photo)
Two "Yahalom" (Patriot) missiles were launched at a "Sukhoi Su-24" fighter jet. The aircraft was monitored throughout its flight – it infiltrated about two kilometers into Israel's airspace before its interception. This is the second hostile fighter jet interception performed by a "Yahalom" weapon system since the beginning of its operational service. The IDF will continue to operate against the violation of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement.

Two "Yahalom" (Patriot) missiles were launched at a "Sukhoi Su-24" fighter jet. The aircraft was monitored throughout its flight – it infiltrated about two kilometers into Israel's airspace before its interception. Since this morning, there has been an increase in the internal fighting in Syria and the Syrian Air Force's activity. The IDF is in high alert and will continue to operate against the violation of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement.

"Over the past days there has been an increase in combat and its proximity to Israel's territory. During the day, we detected extensive aerial activity near Quneitra", said Brig Gen. Ronen Manelis, the IDF Spokesperson. "The intercepted fighter jet is a 'Sukhoi' aircraft which took off from the T-4 airbase and headed for the Golan Heights. Two 'Patriot' missiles intercepted the aircraft, it fell in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights and the pilots' status is currently unknown. We are monitoring the situation in Syria, and we consider the Syrian regime responsible for all activity in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights".

This is the second hostile fighter jet interception performed by the "Yahalom" weapon system since the beginning of its operational service. In 2014, the weapon system performed its first interception – a hostile fighter jet. It was the IAF's first fighter jet interception since 1985 and the first Su-24 interception in the world.

Capt. (Res') Tomer Ohayon, then commander of a "Yahalom" weapon system battery in Birya, spoke about the historic event: "One day, we heard a siren go off in the battery. We had just intercepted a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) three weeks prior so we were prepared for action. Two officers were scrambled to the event, where Syrian fighter jets neared the border with Israel. One of them crossed the heightened alert line, and then another line. At this stage, the Air Traffic Control Unit had already approved our interception.

“As soon as we got the necessary clearance, the responsible officer launched the missile. The battery was shaking as a result of the launch, we heard a sonic boom and the missile flew towards the target. We waited to see if the missile would hit. It reached the target, and then the systems showed us that the interception was successful".

Last Month: Two UAVs Intercepted

The "Yahalom" (Patriot) weapon system is responsible for defending Israel’s skies from infiltrations by aircraft and cruise missiles. Last month, "Yahalom" combatants intercepted two UAVs that infiltrated Israel's territory from Syria. The “Yahalom” (Patriot) weapon system became operational in the beginning of the 1980s, when it functioned as an anti-aircraft system. At the beginning of the 1990s, it converted to anti-surface-to-surface missiles and was deployed in Israel during the Gulf War as a solution to Scud missiles. After the war, the system returned to its original function.

The “Yahalom” (Patriot) battery has advanced detection capabilities and is capable of facing small UAVs and numerous targets in various ranges. The “Yahalom” (Patriot) battery is composed of a radar system, launchers and a control center. The radar is very advanced, capable of performing both near and far aircraft monitoring and detection missions at any altitude. The radar’s capability isn’t affected by weather conditions and has high resistant capabilities against electronic warfare systems.

The system's first UAV interception was performed during Operation “Protective Edge”. Since it became operational, the “Yahalom” (Patriot) battery has intercepted five enemy UAVs and two enemy aircraft.

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