Israel strikes weapons convoy in Syria to halt shipment of “game changing” missiles to Hezbollah May 4, 2013Posted by Richard Clements in : Military Aviation, Syria , 1 comment so far
Although it was not officially confirmed by either side, early in the morning on May 4, news agencies reported that Israeli jets have conducted a new air strike in Syria, destroying a convoy of weapons possibly destined for use by Hezbollah.
Reuters went on to quote an Israeli embassy spokesman as saying ”We cannot comment on these reports, but what we can say is that Israel is determined to prevent the transfer of chemical weapons or other game-changing weaponry by the Syrian regime to terrorists, especially to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
Two U.S officials quoted by CNN said that they had data that suggests that Israeli jets flying over Lebanon had carried out the attack without entering the Syrian airspace, perhaps suggesting the use of missiles or some kind of stand-off weapon was used.
Some news agencies reported that a warehouse which stored chemical weapons was hit; an Isreali source was quoted by the CNN as saying ”We will do whatever is necessary to stop the transfer of weapons from Syria to terrorist organizations. We have done it in the past and we will do it if necessary the future.”
None of the media outlets have suggested what type of aircraft had carried out the strike but its thought the air strike occured in the Thursday May 2. Friday May 3. timeframe and involved 16 aircraft, including some Electronic Warfare assets, as those that were used in the last air strike in Syria.
David Cenciotti has contributed to this post
Related articlesMilitary Aviation, Syria , 7comments
Media outlets are reporting that a Russian passenger jet that was flying from the Egyptian tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh (although some sources say the flight departed from Hurgada) to the Russian city of Kazan, in Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan, came very close to being blown out of the sky.
The jet an Airbus A-320 belonging to the charter airline ‘Nordwind Airlines’ with the flight number of NWS1950 found itself targeted by two missiles whilst flying over Syria.
The crew reportedly spotted the incoming missiles and took evasive action; it must have been a quick reaction since the plane was probably crusing under autopilot control.
Both missiles exploded close to the jet with 200 passengers on board but did not cause any damage to the jet.
“The crew spotted signs of combat activities which, they believed, could pose a threat to the safety of the plane” stated Russia’s Transport Ministry, citing the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) according to Russia Today.
Details are very scarce but the incident took place on Monday Apr. 29 and according to the interfax news agency the Russian Foreign ministry are looking into the circumstances behind the incident.
It remains unclear who is responsible for the attack which could have cost 200 people their lives, although Syrian Air Traffic Control said that they were unaware of any Russian aircraft coming under attack.
The flight can been seen on the flightradar24.com website here.
The track doesn’t seem to show any route deviation that might be a sign of evasive maneuver but this maybe just a matter of scale.
For sure, the Airbus 320 was flying at FL340 ruling out the possibility that it was targeted by a MANPADS.
The Aviationist will provide more details once they became available.
Written with David Cenciotti. Giuliano Ranieri has contributed to this post
Syrian SAM (surface to air missile) reportedly downed Israeli drone February 20, 2013Posted by David Cenciotti in : Drones, Syria , add a comment
Although the event was not reported by Syria’s official news agency SANA, several Syrian and Israeli news outlets have been reporting that an Israeli drone was downed near the Syrian border with Lebanon.
According to eye-witnesses, Syrian air defenses reportedly shot down the aircraft over Deir al Ashayer, a village near Lebanese border: some people saw debris and buring wreckage fall from the sky whereas, according to The Times of Israel, residents posted on Facebook that the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) was downed by a surface to air missile fired from Syria, even if the drone crashed on the Lebanese side of the border.
Deir al Ashayer is located about 15 miles to the west of Syria’s capital Damascus, hence not far from the complex that was attacked by the Israeli Air Force last month. Furthermore, earlier on Feb. 20, Lebanese government news agency gave the news of intense Israeli combat planes activity over southern Lebanon: most probably, Syrian air defense batteries were on an heightened readiness status for any incoming threat from the border.
In June 2012, a Turkish Air Force RF-4E was downed by a Syrian air defense battery after violating the Syrian airspace.
Image credit: Haaretz
Air strike on Damascus military complex shows Syrian Air Defense can do nothing against Israeli Electronic Warfare February 1, 2013Posted by David Cenciotti in : Military Aviation, Syria , 10comments
The Israeli air strike on a weapons convoy and military complex near Damascus, on the night between Jan. 29 and 30 has something in common with a similar air strike, the Israeli Air Force launched in 2007: the bombers entered and egressed the Syrian airspace almost completely undetected by the Syrian air defenses.
On Sept. 6, 2007, ten F-15I and F-16 jets attacked a nuclear facility being built in Syria. The success of that mission, dubbed “Operation Orchard“, was largely attributed to effectiveness of the Israeli Electronic Warfare platforms that supported the air strike and made the Syrian radars blind: some sources believe that Operation Orchard saw the baptism of fire of the Suter airborne network system against Syrian radar systems from some ELINT aircraft.
It is quite likely that Israel’s EW capabilities, most probably furtherly improved since 2007 (someone speculated Israel is capable to inject malware from its F-16s), have played a major role in the recent strike that hit a target located only 5 kilometers from Assad’s headquarters.
Although the current status of the SAM (Surface to Air Missile) coverage around Damascus is quite difficult to assess, since some of the batteries protecting the capital town may have been sabotaged or hit by the rebels activity, the area is still believed to be heavily defended by several Soviet-made anti-aircraft system (even if most of all not so up to date).
The following image comes from 2010′s survey of the Syrian SAM deployment, published on the interesting Sean O’Connor’s IMINT & Analysis blog.
Although probably outdated, it still gives an idea of how crowded of SAM systems the area surrounding Damascus is.
In June 2012, a Syrian anti-aircraft artillery battery downed a Turkish Air Force RF-4E Phantom that had violated the Syrian airspace at low altitude over the Mediterranean Sea, thus proving that Damascus’s air defense are still somehow dreadful for enemy fighter jets.
Even though EW coverage (embedded in the strike package or supporting it from distance) has probably contributed to the successful outcome of the air strike making the bombers somehow “stealthy”, another key factor in last night’s attack was the relatively short distance of the target area from the border and the local orography, that has helped the Israeli jets flying at low altitude achieving some terrain masking.
The following image, drawn by The Aviationist’s contributor Giuliano Ranieri, shows a possible ingress route that exploits the terrain masking provided by the Mt. Heron and overflies a scarcely populated area.
It’s just a hypothesis, still, likely, not too far from the route actually flown by the Israeli fighters.
Some videos have been uploaded to Liveleak allegedly showing the Israeli fighter over Damascus at dawn. The one you can watch here has nothing to do with the air strike though: the type of contrails, the type of formation and, above all, the altitude of the planes depicted in the footage are not consistent with the IAF raid.
Israel strikes weapons convoy and research center inside Syria January 30, 2013Posted by Richard Clements in : Military Aviation, Syria , 1 comment so far
According to several reports appearing on media outlets, 12 Israeli jets flew three air strikes on a heavy weapons convoy within Syria in the night between Jan. 29 and 30.
The convoy was probably on its way to Lebanon and was carrying SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles possibly heading into Hezbollah’s hands.
The SA-17 is part of a system that has a command vehicle, a target acquisition radar vehicle and a transporter erector launcher vehicle and has a range of some 19 miles with the missiles having a top speed of around mach 3.
The strike came on the Damascus – Beirut road and was very close to the border. Lebanon also said that Israel violated their airspace during the attack while Jerusalem Post downplayed the attack saying that the target was a truck rather than a convoy and was carrying both anti-aircraft missiles along with anti-tank missiles. The Israeli government did not comment on the attack.
The Syrian government denied that a convoy had been attacked claiming that a research center was actually hit by the Israeli fighters. The New York Times quoted Syrian state TV as saying: “Israeli warplanes violated our airspace at dawn, bombing directly one of the research scientific centers in the Jimraya district in rural Damascus,” Syria called the attack a violation of their sovereignty.
The exact details are unclear and widely unconfirmed, but it would seem that some sort of attack took place involving Israeli jets flying below radar and striking either a convoy of trucks or research center or even both.
Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com
Image credit: IAF