Tag Archives: Israeli Defense Force

Here’s how the Russian Air Force moved 28 aircraft to Syria (almost) undetected

It’s not easy to move 28 aircraft and keep the deployment confidential.

Satellite imagery released in the last couple of days has exposed the presence of 28 Russian aircraft at al-Assad airfield, near Latakia, in western Syria.

The photographs taken from space gave us the possibility to identify the combat planes as 4x Su-30SMs, 12x Su-25s (based on their color scheme, these are Su-25SMs belonging to the 368th Assault Aviation Regiment from Budyonnovsk) and 12 Su-24M2s along with about a dozen helicopters, including 10 Mi-24PN, Mi-35M and a couple of Mi-8AMTSh choppers, from the 387th Army Aviation Air Base Budyonnovsk.

One of our sources with IMINT Imagery Intel experience, who has had access to the imagery in the public domain, noticed something interesting on one of the Su-30SM: the first on the left (the one closer to the runway threshold) should be equipped with a KNIRTI SPS-171 / L005S Sorbtsiya-S mid/high band defensive jammer (ECM) at the wing tips. To be honest this is almost impossible to verify unless more high-resolution images become available.

Whilst satellite shots provided much details about the deployed assets, they obviously didn’t help answer the basic question: how did they manage to reach Syria undetected?

According to one source close who wishes to remain anonymous, the Russian combat planes have probably deployed to Latakia trailing the cargo planes that were tracked flying to Syria and back on Flightradar24.com, something that other analysts have also suggested.

There is someone who believes that during their ferry flight, some if not all the formation (each made of a cargo plane and four accompanying fast jets), may have made a stopover in Iran before flying the last leg to Latakia. This would also explain why some Il-76s (with an endurance that would allow a non-stop fly from Russia to Latakia) were observed stopping at Hamadan on Sept. 18-19, just before the Sukhois started appearing on the tarmac at Latakia.

Also interesting is the activity of several Israeli aircraft, including a G550 “Nachshon Aitam,” a sort of mini-AWACS equipped with 2 L-band antennas, on both sides of the fuselage, and 2 S-band antennas, on the nose and tail of the aircraft.

The G550, a so-called CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) asset, flew a mission over the eastern Mediterranean Sea off Lebanon on Sept. 20 (and could be tracked online on Flightradar24.com…).  Just a coincidence?


Top image credit: Sergey Kustov via Wiki. Bottom image credit: Flightradar24.com


U.S and Israel plan “limited surgical strikes” on Iranian enrichment facilities before presidential elections

David Rothkopf (DR), a former Clinton administration official has written an article on the Foreign Policy website stating that U.S. and Israel have decided on a limited surgical strike on the alleged Iranian enrichment facilities.

He quotes a close inside source as saying that the most likely action to be taken is a joint surgical strike as Israel cannot do it alone as it does not have the aircraft to carry the weapons needed to destroy the underground facilities (namely, the huge 30,000 lb Massive Ordnance Penetrator).

DR goes on to say that the strike would take only “a couple of hours” in the best case scenario and a couple of days in the worst case scenario and would be launched from the air using bombers with drone support.

Rothkopf points out that the U.S. Israeli administrations still have differing views on what would trigger the strike but it would seem progress has been made in what type of attack should take place.

The very limited strike would be more palatable for a war weary population in the U.S. (Iraq and Afghanistan) therefore would be less politically risky for the Obama administration which would also disarm some of the comments made by Obama’s political opponent in the lead up to the presidential elections.

The article does not give a time line for an attack but suggests that due to its limited nature, the strike is more likely to take place rather than something more elaborate and risky as a full scale air campaign.

There are rumours on websites that the attack will come before the Nov 6, day of presidential elections in the U.S.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

The Israeli Air Force practices to prevent a 9/11 type attack

The Israeli Defence Force website reported that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has performed a series of exercises designed to simulate aerial attacks on Israeli territory.

Although the news was released on Sept. 11, the exercises, that took place shortly before the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US, were aimed to prepare for similar terrorist attacks on Israel. Since the IAF continues to train for any eventuality, combat squadrons of the IAF spent a week training to handle several different scenarios in which aircraft threatened Israeli skies.

First Lt. Ronen, instruction officer of the Defenders of the South Squadron, whom are responsible for the squadron’s training, said “We are flying in scenarios that we face routinely, but through them we are practicing identifying civilian or enemy aircraft that are invading our aerial territory and threatening Israeli skies.”

Ronen added “During this exercise, the pilots face a civilian aircraft that does not respond in the communication device, a hostile UAV collecting intelligence, and a helicopter landing forces in our territory” he went on to add further “They need to know how to handle these kinds of situations.”

The training activity was supported by other units whose planes played the aggressors role or “Red Formations”; one of the IAF Boeing 707s simulated a hijacked civilian airliner.

Actually, other air forces train for such “renegade” scenarios as well.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: IAF

Israeli Air Force grounds its fleet of CH-53 Yasur helicopters

The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli Defense Force has grounded its entire fleet of Sikorsky CH-53 helicopters (thought to be between 25 – 38 aircraft) after one of them had a problem with its rotor system and had to make an emergency landing.

The incident took place on the evening of Wednesday Aug. 15 near Tel Nof airbase south of Tel Aviv.

An IDF Spokeman said to the JP reporter that: “A technical issue arose during the flight, and the helicopter landed in an open field,” he also added that “the helicopter and crew are unharmed”.

The article went on to say that the technical fault lay in the rotor system and the grounding was standard procedure to ensure that the fault is not linked to the general design of the helicopter. The IDF spokesman said “We will keep the helicopters grounded until the cause of the fault in the motor components has been identified”.

A technical team is investigating the problem.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: Israeli Air Force

[Updated] A possible blue print for an Israeli attack on Iran. Including special munitions, radar evading tech, ballistic missiles

US Blogger Richard Silverstein has published details of a potentially leaked Israeli document that allegedly gives a clue on how the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) would launch an attack on Iranian targets.

According to Silverstein, who was also interviewed by the BBC on this “scoop”, it’s an Israeli briefing document outlining Israel’s war plans against Iran that he received by a high-level Israeli source who received it from an IDF officer.

Here’s the translation of the document Silverstein has published:

“The Israeli attack will open with a coordinated strike, including an unprecedented cyber-attack which will totally paralyze the Iranian regime and its ability to know what is happening within its borders.  The internet, telephones, radio and television, communications satellites, and fiber optic cables leading to and from critical installations—including underground missile bases at Khorramabad and Isfahan—will be taken out of action.  The electrical grid throughout Iran will be paralyzed and transformer stations will absorb severe damage from carbon fiber munitions which are finer than a human hair, causing electrical short circuits whose repair requires their complete removal.  This would be a Sisyphean task in light of cluster munitions which would be dropped, some time-delayed and some remote-activated through the use of a satellite signal.

A barrage of tens of ballistic missiles would be launched from Israel toward Iran.  300km ballistic missiles would be launched from Israeli submarines in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf.  The missiles would not be armed with unconventional warheads [WMD], but rather with high-explosive ordnance equipped with reinforced tips designed specially to penetrate hardened targets.

The missiles will strike their targets—some exploding above ground like those striking the nuclear reactor at Arak–which is intended to produce plutonium and tritium—and the nearby heavy water production facility; the nuclear fuel production facilities at Isfahan and facilities for enriching uranium-hexaflouride.  Others would explode under-ground, as at the Fordo facility.

A barrage of hundreds of cruise missiles will pound command and control systems, research and development facilities, and the residences of senior personnel in the nuclear and missile development apparatus.  Intelligence gathered over years will be utilized to completely decapitate Iran’s professional and command ranks in these fields.

After the first wave of attacks, which will be timed to the second, the “Blue and White” radar satellite, whose systems enable us to perform an evaluation of the level of damage done to the various targets, will pass over Iran.  Only after rapidly decrypting the satellite’s data, will the information be transferred directly to war planes making their way covertly toward Iran.  These IAF planes will be armed with electronic warfare gear previously unknown to the wider public, not even revealed to our U.S. ally.  This equipment will render Israeli aircraft invisible.  Those Israeli war planes which participate in the attack will damage a short-list of targets which require further assault.

Among the targets approved for attack—Shihab 3 and Sejil ballistic missile silos, storage tanks for chemical components of rocket fuel, industrial facilities for producing missile control systems, centrifuge production plants and more.”

The document certainly doesn’t read as a military document, indeed Silverstein argues that the document is to be used to persuade ministers who oppose an attack on Iran into agreeing to an attack.

On a military level the document raises some questions.

The carbon Fibre munitions mentioned in the document would suggest the use of BLU-114/B ‘Soft Bomb’ a sub munition similar to a cluster bomb where the ‘bomblets’ dispence clouds of ‘hair like’ carbon fibres which short circuit power stations. The delivery of such a weapon could prove risky, it would require an aircraft to fly over the target area which would mostly be heavily defended.

Unless Israel has developed a stand off weapon similar to the AGM-154A Joint Stand Off Weapon (JSOW)  capable to deliver the munition and provide the ability to keep aircraft out of harms way.

Another comment that stands out from the document is the comments regarding the 300km missiles launched from subs in the Persian Gulf being not armed with unconventional warheads. Is this an admission that Israel possesses weapon of mass destruction whether they are Nuclear, Chemical or Biological? Something that has never been confirmed, at least officially.

The final paragraph of the document mentions an unknown electronic warfare capability that renders IAF (Israeli Air Force) aircraft invisible. Unless Israel developed a radar jammer or ‘cloaking’ device for its aircraft it certainly looks like the document is talking about the SPJ-20 self protection system.

Eventually it appears that the alleged source of the document is actually a speculation post that originally appeared on an Israeli forum.

According to several sources (see also this blog’s comment thread) well over 90 percent of the document was previously published on Fresh forum.

Silverstein claims that the leaker also leaked the document to the forum even though no one seems to have ever claimed the document was a secret Israeli memo rather than pure speculation.

Based on the information contained in the memo and the lack of military consistency of the theory, it seems like the document is really nothing more than a nice speculation worth a message board.

Richard Clements for The Aviationist. Updated by David Cenciotti

Image credit Israeli Air Force