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Brief Summary Of Israeli Missile Programs And Capabilities

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Brief Summary Of Israeli Missile Programs And Capabilities

Jericho 3 ballistic missile launch

Although Iran has advanced considerably in terms of its missile programs and capabilities – particularly in terms of land-based missiles, whether against land air or sea targets – Israel remains the most advanced in terms of the diversity, range and capabilities of its missiles. Moreover, Israel possesses the full range of launch platforms – land, air, sea (surface and submarine), as well as likely nuclear weapons.

Somehow, year after year Israel refuses to sign onto the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons treaties and conventions, and at the same time remains immune from any pressure or criticism whatsoever, much less sanctions or any other consequences. Instead, Israel continues to obtain some of the most advanced and destructive technologies and weapons systems from many countries, often at a huge discount (particularly from Germany and the US, which have footed most of the bill for several of Israel’s most advanced and powerful weapons systems and platforms).

While experts generally agree that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, no such current open source consensus exists on the status of Israel’s offensive chemical or biological weapons programs. Israel also possesses a sizeable arsenal of short- and medium-range ballistic and cruise missiles, and is working towards a multi-layered and comprehensive missile defence capability.

Israel is not a party to any of the major treaties governing WMD non-proliferation, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). It has signed, but not ratified, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). LINK

The Missile Threat Initiative states of Israel’s missile programs:

Although the full extent and details of Israel’s missile capabilities are difficult to ascertain, it is believed that the country has one of the most technologically advanced missile arsenals in the Middle East. Aided by foreign assistance and collaboration over the past six decades, Israel domestically produces numerous cruise and ballistic missiles, and has engaged in the export of missile systems to numerous other nations. While the bulk of Israel’s missile forces consist of shorter range, tactical systems, it also possesses a contingent of long-range ballistic missiles, the Jericho series, for strategic deterrence.

Despite not officially acknowledging any nuclear program, it is widely believed that Israel does possess nuclear weapons. Israel is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, nor a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)…

In addition to strike systems, Israel also deploys a sophisticated, layered missile defence shield, developed jointly with the United States. The collaboration between the Israel’s missile and the space industries, moreover, has facilitated the domestic production of satellite launch vehicles… LINK

Brief Summary Of Israeli Missile Programs And Capabilities

Israel’s Ballistic and Cruise Missiles

In addition to its formidable missile capabilities, Israel’s air force also possesses powerful long-range nuclear-capable strike forces based around its fleet of F-15s, F-16s and F-35s. LINK

The Israeli Missile Defence Systems

Israel has a multi-layer missile defence network which includes the ‘Iron Dome’ system for short range projectiles, the mid-range ‘David’s Sling’ interceptor, and the Arrow 1-3 and Patriot systems designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles.

Brief Summary Of Israeli Missile Programs And Capabilities

Israel’s Intercept Missiles

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-air missile defence system, co-developed by Raytheon and Israeli weapons firm Rafael, is a short-range anti-rocket system. A ship-mounted version of Iron Dome [Tamir-Adir] has also been declared fully operational for use on a gunship offshore. It has been installed on the Sa’ar 5-class INS Lahav.

The ‘David’s Sling’ interceptor is designed to deal with missiles coming from between 40 kilometres and 300 kilometres away, making up the middle tier of Israel’s advanced air defence array. Each interceptor launched by the system costs an estimated $1 million. David’s Sling, which was declared operational in April 2017, is meant to replace the Patriot missile systems in Israel’s defence infrastructure.

It is an advanced missile defence system jointly developed by Rafael and Raytheon, designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles.

In terms of Israel’s long range missile defence, the Arrow “anti­-tactical ballistic missile” program began on 6 May 1986, when Israel and the United States signed an agreement (the contents of which are secret) for Israeli participation in the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars) research. Under SDI, Israel began developing the missile with US funding.

It consists of Arrow anti-missile interceptors, the Elta EL/M “Green Pine” early warning radar, the Elisra “Golden Citron” command and control centre, and the Aerospace Industries “Brown Hazelnut” launch control centre.

The range and speed of Arrow 2 — capable of reaching a height of 30 miles at nine times the speed of sound — allows hostile missiles to be intercepted high enough that any weapons of mass destruction would not detonate or be dispersed over Israel. This also allows time for a second Arrow missile to be fired if the first does not intercept the target. It is reportedly able to detect and track missiles as far away as 300 miles and then destroy the incoming warhead by exploding within 40 to 50 yards of the target.

Brief Summary Of Israeli Missile Programs And Capabilities

Arrow interceptor missile launch

In 2011, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) tested the most advanced version (Arrow 3) for the first time, designed to destroy medium-range ballistic missiles while they are still in space.

The system’s development is jointly funded by the United States and Israel. Since 1988, the United States has provided Israel with more than $3.5 billion in grants for research and development of the Arrow missile programs through the defence budget. LINK

The Israeli Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), in cooperation with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), conducted a series of tests in July 2019 at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska (PSCA) in Kodiak, Alaska. During the 10-day-long testing period, Arrow 3 system fired three interceptors on three separate occasions against mock ballistic missiles, successfully destroying each one, according to IMDO and MDA.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Boeing have been developing Arrow 3, the latest member of the Arrow series, together since 2008 with heavy financial and other support from the U.S. government. LINK

Israel’s Offensive Missile Capabilities

Key components of Israel’s offensive missile capabilities include the LORA (Long-range Artillery Weapon System), cruise missiles and the Jericho-series of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. These are complemented by Israel’s German-built submarine fleet, which is widely considered to be armed with nuclear weapons.

On 2 June 2020, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced that it had successfully carried out a sea-based firing test of its LORA (Long-range Artillery Weapon System).

The trial was held in the open sea, with, the mobile launcher placed on a civilian vessel. Also on board was a command trailer. Tests included the launch of 2 missiles (dual operational firing trial), one at a range of 90 km, the second at 400 km.

Brief Summary Of Israeli Missile Programs And Capabilities

LORA test launch

In the past, the range of the rocket was indicated ‘from 90 to 300 km’, however, even then, many sources estimated the maximum range at up to 400 km.

LORA is a sea-to-ground and ground-to-ground system which comprises a long-range ballistic missile, a unique launcher, a command and control system, and a ground/marine support system. The LORA system provides ballistic assault capabilities for multiple ranges with a precision level of 10 meters CEP.

Brief Summary Of Israeli Missile Programs And Capabilities

LORA system specifications

LORA was developed at IAI’s Systems, Missiles & Space Group. The Group boasts a long record in air-defence systems, participating in R&D programs such as the Arrow 2 and 3, the Barak 8, and numerous missile and satellite systems, such as observation satellites, nano-satellites, and communication satellites (including Dror, the national communication satellite). The Group was also involved in building the Beresheet spacecraft which travelled to the moon on its first mission. IAI is a national and global technological hub for air defence, radars, satellites, unmanned vehicles, civilian aviation, and cyber technology.

However, the Jericho series of missiles and submarine fleet are Israel’s most formidable long-range strike weapons.

The Jericho I, developed in the 1960s with assistance from French weapons producer Dassault, was decommissioned during the 1990s.

The Jericho II (YA-3) is a solid fuel, two-stage long-range ballistic missile system and a follow on from the Jericho I project. It is thought that around 90 Jericho 2 missiles are based in caves near Zekharia (Sdot Micha Airbase), southeast of Tel Aviv.

The Jericho II is 14.0 m long and 1.56 m wide, with an estimated launch weight of 26,000 kg and a maximum range of about 7,800 km with a 500 kg payload. It has a maximum payload of 1,000 kg, capable of carrying a considerable amount of high explosives or a 1 Megaton yield nuclear warhead. It uses a two-stage solid propellant engine with a separating warhead. The missile can be launched from a silo, a railroad flat car, or a mobile vehicle.

It is believed that the Jericho III is a nuclear-armed ICBM that entered service in 2011. The Jericho III is believed to have two or three-stages, using solid propellant and having a payload of 1,000 to 1,300 kg. The payload could be a single 750 kg (150–400 kiloton) nuclear warhead or two or three low-yield MIRV warheads. It is estimated by missilethreat.com that it has a range of 4,800 to 6,500 km (2,982 to 4,038 miles), though a 2004 missile proliferation survey by the Congressional Research Service put its possible maximum range at 11,500 km.

According to the report submitted to the US Congress in 2004, it may be that with a payload of 1,000 kg the Jericho III gives Israel nuclear strike capabilities within the entire Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and almost all parts of North America, as well as large parts of South America and North Oceania.

On 6 December 2019 Israel conducted what it described as a ‘rocket propulsion system’ test. The few details that are available prompted speculation that the launch is related to the development of a new version of the country’s top-secret Jericho nuclear-armed ballistic missiles. An article posted at The Drive subsequently commented:

The launch occurred at Palmachim Air Base, which is situated south of the major Israeli city of Tel Aviv, on Dec. 6, 2019. Video and pictures subsequently emerged on social media showing a single long contrail rising from the base. Plane watchers using online tracking software had also seen flights headed for Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv move to different routes and clear a path in the Mediterranean Sea extending beyond the Greek island of Crete ahead of the test.

Avi Scharf, the editor of the English edition of Israel’s Haaretz newspaper posted on Twitter that a plane belonging to Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) that is specially configured to record rocket and missile telemetry data was airborne at the time. He added that two of the Israeli Air Force’s specially configured Gulfstream G550s, which the service operates in the Eitam airborne early warning and control and Shavit intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance configurations, also appeared to take part in the test, along with a number of C-130 Hercules aircraft.

It’s hard to discern much from the available pictures and video and virtually impossible to estimate the rocket motor’s range capabilities without knowing how the test article was configured and how high it flew before apparently plunging into the Mediterranean. However, how tight-lipped Israel is being about the launch, combined with Palmachim being the launch sites, does seem to point to a test related to the country’s Jericho ballistic missile family.

Very little is known about these weapons, the first of which Israel developed initially with French and later American assistance in the 1960s. This was followed by the Jericho II, which IAI reportedly developed between the 1970s and the 1980s with American assistance.

Jericho II is reportedly a two-stage intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), meaning that it has a range of somewhere between 1,864 and 3,418 miles. Experts believe that Jericho II served as the basis for the publicly acknowledged Shavit series of space launch vehicles, which IAI produces. LINK

Israel’s submarine fleet

Between 1999 and 2000, Israel commissioned three Dolphin class submarines from German company Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft. Germany ‘donated’ two of the vessels but split the cost of the third with Israel. The fourth and fifth submarines, agreed to in 2006, are advanced Dolphin-class vessels equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP). The INS Tanin was commissioned in September 2014 and the INS Rahav was commissioned in 2016.

The second batch of submarines are bigger than the three Israeli Navy Type 800 Dolphin-class submarines built in the 1990s: 68.6 meters long versus 57.3 meters for the older subs; 2,050 tons’ displacement on the surface, 2,400 tons submerged versus 1,565 tons and 1,720 tons.

Weapons include ten swim-out torpedo tubes – four 650 mm-diameter and six 533 mm-diameter tubes. Published sources credit them with carrying DM-2A4 Seehake wire-guided torpedoes, UGM-84C Harpoon antiship missiles and Triton anti-helicopter missiles. LINK

It is widely thought that Israel’s submarines have been refitted to carry missiles armed with nuclear weapons. The German government has refused to comment on whether the Dolphin-class submarines delivered to Israel were modified to fit cruise missiles that could be armed with nuclear warheads. However, German officials such as former Head of the Policy Planning Staff of the German Ministry of Defence Hans Rühle, have stated that they assumed Israel intended to equip the submarines with nuclear weapons.

In June 2002, former U.S. State Department and Pentagon officials confirmed that the U.S. Navy observed Israeli missile tests in the Indian Ocean in 2000, and that the Dolphin-class vessels have been fitted with nuclear-capable cruise missiles of a new design. Experts disagree on whether Israel adapted Harpoon cruise missiles to carry an indigenously developed nuclear warhead or if it modified the Gabriel 4LR anti-ship missile.

Germany is due to deliver a sixth modern diesel-electric Dolphin-class submarine to Israel in 2020. This submarine, the INS Dragon, is also said to be capable of carrying nuclear missiles. In 2016 Israel and Germany signed an agreement for three additional Dolphin II-class submarines. These new submarines are expected to be completed around 2027 and will replace the older three Dolphin submarines. LINK

Each Dolphin-class submarine is capable of carrying a combined total of up to 16 torpedoes and Popeye Turbo submarine-launched cruise missiles. The cruise missiles have a range of at least 1,500 km and are believed to be equipped with a 200 kiloton nuclear warhead containing up to 6 kilograms (13 lb) of plutonium. LINK

Brief Summary Of Israeli Missile Programs And Capabilities

The Tanin at Kiel shipyard, Germany, 2014.

When the Rahav departed Germany for Israel the Times of Israel reported:

The INS Rahav cost Israel a reported $2 billion (NIS 8 billion), but the Navy officer was loath to discuss its price.

“We’re not speaking about the cost,” he said.

The price tag, seen by some as exorbitant, of the Rahav was offset by a considerable discount from Berlin that is rooted in a contentious 1953 reparations agreement between Germany and Israel for the Holocaust.

The controversial agreement, which significantly boosted Israel’s economy during the early days of its independence, has brought billions of dollars of military and economic aid to Israel throughout its history and was further invoked to purchase the new line of naval vessels.

The Rahav is equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance systems to track other ships and countermeasures to allow it to avoid detection by enemy craft, as well as satellite communications capabilities and other systems for electronic warfare, the Israel Navy officer said.

Last year, the INS Tanin — crocodile, in Hebrew — arrived in Israel. The nuclear-capable submarine, similar in most ways to the new Rahav, came equipped with 10 torpedo tubes, capable of holding a variety of missiles, according to Defense News. LINK

The commissioning of the third series of submarines has been plagued by irregularities and has also become embroiled in the corruption allegations against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu:

Germany’s national security council approved the sale of three more nuclear-capable submarines to Israel for a combined price of some $1.3 billion, in a deal marred by controversy surrounding corruption allegations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli Navy currently maintains a fleet of five state-of-the-art German underwater vessels of the Dolphin Class, which can be equipped with nuclear warheads, with a sixth due for delivery this year…

The approval of the deal on Friday was first reported by Der Spiegel which did not cite the source of the information.

The German paper further reported that the council decided the deal would be called off if an investigation into corruption suspicions yielded any indication of wrongdoing, according to Channel 2.

Both Israel and Germany opened separate probes into allegations Netanyahu’s personal lawyer allegedly swayed multi-billion shekel deals in favor of the German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp he represented in Israel. The company was awarded the contracts to build the submarines. LINK


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Zionism = EVIL

Zionist cunts live on stolen technology, stolen lands and western taxpayers handouts. Shameless kosher swine!

Decatur Guy

I don’t doubt Musk’s SpaceX funnels US IP into Israel’s defense program. Just a hunch.


That’s right SF, especially the Arrow3 + the Jericho3 that might be used against Iran if they provike us too much. We are not the U.S, if Iran shoots their missiles over here, we will shoot back at Tehran and trust me, it will be alot painful for them.


Let’s be honest, you’ll shoot missiles even if they don’t, like during every other “assault” on Israel in its short history.


Well if they shoot at Israeli centers then ofcourse we will shoot back at their centers, and they know it too. Why else would they use proxies? they don’t mind letting other countries get destroyed, but when it comes to them then they play it safer. Anyway, Iran will leave Syria dead or alive.


Hzebollah kicked your ass real bad in 2000 and 2005. israHell is a colony full of cowards just good enough at terrorizing unarmed civilians (especially women and children). Other than that your troops are the worst. Gutless cowards… Once again, remember how IDF got owned by Hezbollah. Imagine what Iran would do to the apartheid state…


Tell me, does it hurt to be stupid and believe your own lies? not that you would know, since you’re stupid.

cechas vodobenikov

I doubt Israelis are cowards, but they are a US colony—they cannot conduct a war today given advanced weaponry that can destroy all their population centers…Iran will neither leave Syria or Iraq…they are invited there….Israel can cry and their incompetent pilots can attack sand dunes for as long as the amerikans fund them

Rodney Loder

The homosexual Sid Loder used my intellectual property to continually develop isresli capabilities, Freemasons are laughing.


Amazing extensive thorough content and reporting. Hard to find any site doing better up to date coverage over a spans of geography.




IDF can only defeat unarmed civilians. Even with the best equipment in the world, they are still gutless cowards. Hezbollah put them to shame in 2000 and 2006 remember? They had to retreat like little bitches they are. That’s why they need proxy states like the US, to send their soldiers to fight for israHell…

Joseph Scott

It doesn’t do one any good to believe propaganda just because it favours the side you prefer. The IDF wasn’t defeated, the Israeli PM pulled them back in a failed attempt to keep his job. The Israeli public didn’t believe the war was worth the price. The IDF was fully prepared to continue, and if you look at Hezbollah’s own admitted losses, the casualty exchange ratio favoured the Israelis by 2 to 1. Now, that’s actually pretty good compared to Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq, but it still does not amount to parity, much less superiority over the IDF.

If you want to defeat Israel, you had better be prepared to make an objective assessment of their capabilities. This kind of rose-tinted, subjective thinking is exactly why Arab forces have been so resoundingly defeated by the Israelis over and over again. You may well detest their geopolitical policies, but from the perspective of doctrine, personnel management, training, and cost effectiveness of equipment, they have one of the best militaries on the planet. If you all keep on pretending they are incompetent cowards just because it makes you feel better, you will achieve nothing. You are just beating your heads against the wall here.

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

Swift Laggard II

no need to whitewash history. The Winograd Commission has a lot to teach you. 2006 was a debacle for the IDF, and even their Generals admit that fact. What happens in future is not for me to say, but 2006 was a clear defeat

Joseph Scott

You might want to actually read the report. The report directs almost all of it’s criticism at the senior policy level. Olmert, Perez, and Halutz waffled back and forth about whether to commit ground troops or not, then threw them in at the last minute with insufficient preparation, and gave them 60 hours to accomplish their mission, which wasn’t enough, then called off the whole thing before the ground forces completed the mission. That’s what the report states. “…a missed opportunity…”

The report also praises the performance of the IAF, is mostly favourable in it’s assessment of the Israeli navy, and even speaks positively about the morale of the ground forces.

It was a defeat only to the degree that Olmert made it one. No military is immune to stupid political decisions. Despite Olmert’s profound failings, however, the IDF enjoyed a 2 to 1 exchange ratio (according to Hezbollah’s own counting), and Hezbollah proceeded to pull the majority of their forces behind the Litani after the Israeli attack, which was Israel’s objective in the first place. Who is whitewashing here?

But don’t just take my word for it, take Hassan Nasrallah’s: “We did not think that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me if I had known on July 11 … that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not.”


The report also praises the performance of the IAF, is mostly favourable in it’s assessment of the Israeli navy

What did IAF do? In the first few days they hit all their targets, nothing changed after that, the daily rockets didn’t stop at all, their only solution was to go back to the same targets and attack them again and again and again and what did the navy do? Killing civilians in beirut and off coastal towns? After Hezbollah struck the ship off Beirut, the navy cowards did nothing after that, and i remember correctly they were criticized as well. BTW quoting Hassan Nasrallah out of context doesn’t make anything you’ve said true, and if you’re going to quote him, don’t take the parts you like and leave the rest. What Nasrallah said in that interview and afterward in his speeches / interviews is : We didn’t want a war, and if I knew it would lead to war I wouldn’t have done it, but we knew they were getting ready for a war right after they withdrew in 2000, so that made us prepared for another war, the only problem was we didn’t know when it happened, our prediction was 1 or 2 years and we were ready for it back then.

Joseph Scott

The IAF did what it was asked to do, nearly perfectly. The problem was that Israeli senior leadership assumed the IAF could basically win the war on it’s own, which was a fallacious assumption. Air power is very useful, but it cannot substitute for ground forces. Olmert thought he wouldn’t really have to fight a ground war.

Hezbollah did an excellent job preparing their positions, both in their construction, concealment, and in the setting up of decoys. I don’t think there was much more the IAF could do. Yes, they were sent to attack the same targets again, because Olmert was hopping to avoid using ground troops. But that again goes back to Olmert.

The navy was criticised for the loss of the ship, but otherwise were credited in the report for the support they provided to the ground operation.

How did I quote him out of context? Nothing you added has changed the meaning of the quote I provided. So, Hezbollah prepared. And?

Swift Laggard II

[So, Hezbollah prepared. And?]…..and they defeated an IDF invasion


Exactly Joseph, well written!

Swift Laggard II

[however, the IDF enjoyed a 2 to 1 exchange ratio (according to Hezbollah’s own counting), and Hezbollah proceeded to pull the majority of their forces behind the Litani after the Israeli attack, which was Israel’s objective in the first place. Who is whitewashing here?]

exchange ratios are irrelevant to the dynamics of hezbullah’s way of war. I am sure the ratios were far worse during your two decade occupation of south Lebanon, but that did not stop Hezbullah from kicking you out.

The Israeli objective was not to push Hezbullah to the Litani, it was to stop the rocket fire, an objective they did not manage to attain. The invasion was supposed to push all the way to Litani in the hope that they could stop Hezbullah firing rockets by occupying territory – that did not happen. Not only were they not able to get to Litani, the missiles never stopped for even a single day – so that was a failure to attain a key objective.

I would be much more afraid of Nasrallah that boasting in his admission. A man who can admit with total honesty that failings have occured and that his reading of the situation was incorrect is a very dangerous opponent who does not revel in fantasy but lives in hard reality. That is why I guess Israel has not attacked Lebanon since 2006 though they would love to do so, because Nasrallah has outlined what the event of such an invasion will be for Israel.

I am no fan of Hezbullah, in fact I lean a bit on the Israeli side, but I strive to be objective and factual when analysing events in that region. There is absolutely no doubt IDF is a very powerful force, but somehow Hezbullah has managed to establish a state of mutual deterrence with this powerful army. An entity that can achieve such a feat deserves to be respected, whether or not one accepts their religious-political programme and ideology


“However, the IDF enjoyed a 2 to 1 exchange ratio (according to Hezbollah’s own counting

Considering the level of overwhelming force applied by the IDF against Lebanon (emphasis on Lebanon, and not curtailed to Hezbollah even by intent, the notion of collective punishment and degradation of national morale with hopes to saw discord and create fractures within Lebanese society being one of the Israeli strategies) and both the numerical and technological gap massively in favor of the Israeli military, that ratio in itself is proof to Hezbollah’s prowess and what led to Olmert’s cabinet to withdraw its ambitions and retract from a prolonged assault. Swift victory turned to quick declaration of victory and evasion.

After all this is the core of the asymmetrical doctrine for any paramilitary or guerrilla force in the world throughout history. The Vietcong did the same and intelligently combined their guerrilla tactics with conventional means provided by a friendly superpower, but they never behaved, thought or calculated their moves with anything even remotely close to military parity or fighting the enemy on its own terms. At the contrary, the objective was to bring the enemy to fight on theirs and accept the underlying, incompressible losses inevitably incurred by fighting an immensely superior enemy.

Hezbollah took every page of the Vietnamese book, the goal being to impose a level of unforeseen attrition against IDF forces and specially the reserves, that would gradually draw down the invader’s resolve both on the front-lines and at the home-front, and both crumbled one after the other. In that regard the Winograd report puts a lot of insightful analysis on the mistakes of the Israeli intelligence apparatus that significantly underestimated Hezbollah’s war-fighting capabilities in terms of individual prowess with small arms fire, concealment, adaptatives, mobility and overall organization level as a fully-fledged military structure with ranks and the notion of discipline.

They similarly failed at understanding even the basics of Lebanese society when it comes to the collective perception of Israel : an enemy with a traumatic history of aggression and destruction of large swathes of their livelihood and namely Beirut’s ruin in the 80s, plain and simple. It became apparent when christian village called upon their own local militias that themselves collaborated actively with Hezbollah and Syrian-Palestinian brigades to come to their aid, which they did. This phenomenon alone contributed a lot in mobilizing a larger part of Lebanese citizens whom developed a collective nationalistic sentiments that put aside longstanding fumes against their own, and to degrade Israeli morale of which servicemen did not want to feel fighting a whole country rather than an isolated paramilitary force.

Bottom line is : Nobody in their right minds would believe that a leading military power massively supported by every single major western power in the world and the USA first in line would military, etymologically “loose” a one-on-one war against a guerrilla force without air-defenses or armor. Like every case of stand-off between a given national entity and a much greater power, the idea for the former is to lure the latter it in an unwinnable quagmire, accepting the sacrifices to be made, and ultimately force it to leave. The Vietnamese did it, the Russians, Chinese, Serbs and Libyans notably did it in WWII, The North Koreans did it in the 50s, then the Algerians and Vietnamese against France then the US.

The Lebanese simple adopted then honed their skills at that doctrine through 17 years of low-intensity warfare against the Israeli occupiers in their water-rich southern lands and did it again in a miniature version of it in 2006. And by all account, are more than ready and equipped to face them yet again considering global resentment against the state of Israel in their country despite their own fratricidal struggles currently taking place.

Joseph Scott

I completely agree. If only everyone else on here grasped what you wrote, instead of trying to mythologise it into something else.

Joseph Scott

I’m not Israeli, nor part of the American power structure, so they didn’t kick me anywhere. I’m just an observer discussing events.

Olmert called off the operation before it was complete. He never gave the ground forces the time they needed to complete the mission, due to his unrealistic expectation that airpower alone could win, and his fear that public outcry over casualties would cost him his post (which it did). So yes, Olmert was defeated, and at the political level, Israeli decisions were badly flawed. Everybody agrees about that part. However, Hezbollah’s withdrawal substantially limited their ability to operate against Israel, and led to a relatively quiet border afterwards.

I have no objection whatever to your assessment of Nasrallah. He is a shrewd and capable leader, and that sort of objectivity is exactly what an organisation needs in it’s leadership if is going to maintain it’s capabilities and improve. He certainly outplayed Olmert. whose own calculations were nowhere near so clear-sighted. No about it is exactly that kind of leadership that allowed Hezbollah to do what it did in the war, and to perform as they have in Syria since.

Likewise, I do have no disagreement with your assessment of Hezbollah. The fact that what is essentially a militia managed to stand in the field with one of the world’s best fighting forces , and outperform all the professional Arab armies that Israel has faced by a large margin is certainly a tremendous accomplishment. Their planning for the the operation, their fieldcraft, were excellent. They are probably the second most capable fighting force on a per-fighter basis, in the whole region.

All I am objecting to is this persistent claim that the IDF are incompetent fools, merely because Olmert misused them and expected the impossible, against a capable enemy.

cechas vodobenikov

joey cannot comprehend reality—delusional “reports” are not required to comprehend that Israel was defeated


“the casualty exchange ratio favoured the Israelis by 2 to 1” You keep repeating the 2:1 ratio, but that is completely false and i can tell you that because it revealed later that number was close to 128 i remember correctly because the martyrs were celebrated with their faces all over the entrances and roads of the villages and cities they came from.

Joseph Scott

So…you are claiming Mahmoud Qomati, Deputy Chairman of the Hezbollah Political Council is lying, when he states 250 dead?

And what did you do, travel to every single town and village and count every picture personally?

cechas vodobenikov

the amerikan fear of death again expressed—the IDF was humiliated by Hisbollah…can you be more ignorant? your stupid slogans r typically amerikan

Joseph Scott

Eh? What fear of death? What is that supposed to mean? I’m not on the front line, and I have no love of the American Empire, so it’s slow demise doesn’t keep me awake at night.

As for slogans, that is actually a Chinese proverb, and doesn’t sound very American at all, aside from the decades old corporate fad of quoting the Art of War.

Also, you are simply making my point again. You assume I must be deriving my conclusions subjectively, on the basis of emotional preference, like most of you do, hence your purely ad hominem response devoid of contrasting facts. I don’t derive my conclusions on the basis of whom I like. I derive them from observable empirical data, from the lessons of history, from statistical modelling. I have no emotional investment in the argument. Try bringing some data to prove me wrong, otherwise you are just proving me right.


and you do very well to adopt that well-thought rationale, stealing the spotlight I was contemplating with that Chinese proverb as well ;-)

All in all, the IDF’s objective against Hezbollah, the supporting policy-making and strategic assumptions, mismanagement of the home-front and a clumsy mobilization of the reserve, the exact nature of its ultimate failure basically all mirror what happened in between US armed forces agains the NVA/Vietcong. An overwhelming numerical AND technological advantage hobbled by over-optimistic thinking replacing objective assessment, assuming any credible was done, with regards to the enemy here, i.e. Hezbollah’s actual preparedness levels and accurate capabilities.

The IDF basically went all-in on very short-term, deciding almost literally overnight that Southern Lebanon should be occupied again all the way up to the long-coveted and regretted Litani.

They through mimicking the American Shock & Awe would work in fracturing Lebanese society as a whole and leading it to pointing fingers at their own for the mayhem they triggered, but the exact opposite happened : even in Christian villages, IDF columns were attacked by the local militias that hastily put together some kind of military entente with Hezbollah. That umbrella resistance force also involving Syrian paramilitaries and even some Palestinians groups was a completely unforeseen development by the Olmert cabinet and its military advising board, along with the political unity behind Hezbollah that proved solid until the very end of the war and beyond, while they also grossly underestimated the pre-existing resentment that characterized the bulk of its population against Israel as a whole, with memories of past war still very fresh in the minds of many.

On pure military terms, the guerrilla proved much more resilient, mobile and adaptive, and enjoyed a significantly more complex, diverse and concealed communication infrastructure that expected on paper as per their intelligence assessments, and their war-fighting abilities on front-lines were also dismissed as secondary, while in fact regular fighters showed a level of professional prowess that sapped IDF morale on many occasion, especially when it came to conscripts.

The acknowledged 1:2 ratio while technically favoring Israel was actually abysmally bad when one considered the level of firepower and technology apparatus supporting the Israeli side : a world-class US-built and supported air-force and large ground force supported by the most modern navy assets against a purely defensive paramilitary group devoid of air-defense and credible armor, essentially armed with ATGMs, small and medium caliber arms and lots of unguided, inaccurate legacy MRLS.

Even with the right political thinking and a willingness to continue the war, the growing cost and inherent attrition would have favored Lebanon, with an emphasis on the country rather than just Hezbollah. As the war dragged on , an increasingly vigorous nationalistic engulfed regular Lebanese of all faiths and mobilization was growing even in spite of Hezbollah with volunteers coming in greater and greater numbers to bear arms anywhere they were. On the longer run , albeit with catastrophic human and material losses due to absolute air superiority of the Israeli side of course, a quagmire situation bogging down the average IDF infantryman was inevitable and economically unsustainable in modern Israel, and decision-makers knew it full well, hence the gradual retraction from their initial ambitions.

Just like they weren’t able to withstand 17 years of low-intensity warfare, they certainly could not have coped with constant rocket salvos raining on their border areas and their soldiers dying and moving back and forth in localized battlefronts, specially when you assume that additional Arab countries were dangerously starting to overtly state their desire to participate in replenishing and equipping even the regular Lebanese armed forces should the Israel continue basically flattening pro-Hezb neighborhoods in and around Beirut.

That is the definition of victory for a popular mouvement and asymmetrical tactics. Nobody in their right minds decently expects a unquestionably inferior military entity to win over a vastly superior one in all respects. The question is to provoke unacceptable costs and drag an undesirable fighting posture for the attacking and superior side in order to convince it it its effort is not worth the expected results.

All kinds of voice similarly complained of the US government’s decision to draw down its Vietnamese expeditionary force after Operation Linebaker II, and adopted the very wording that pro-war advocates in Israel echoed after the short-lived 2006 conflict : “political bickering prevented brave men from winning”, “we were on the path of achieving our objectives” and so on. The initial goals, the flawed assumptions, the mechanics involved in war-fighting, the surprise absence of a quick and easy victory, the inexorable temptation to then declare victory and run, and the military complaints of the militaristic camp are invariably the same throughout history, irrespective of geography, and will probably remain so until the geopolitical paradigm radically changes, in which day if it ever materializes will be part of a completely different world altogether.


This as a good historical view. it does not seem to reflect much of what is going on in the current instances of contact. Israel isn’t doing that well, frequently hitting sand over there in Syria. Every once in a while they admit it. As far as missile defence, Iron dome has been shot down, so to speak and the Patriot has proven useless.

Every now and then a former IDF commander or Mossad official comes out and to their credit, just puts it right out there; Israel cannot survive an all out slugfest with the other side. It can inflict great damage on it’s adversaries but, everything from geography, population density, a target rich environment within it’s boundaries, indicate that it is the virtual sitting duck. By design Israel is undefendable, probably intended by its original promoters ( the elite Brits, with whom betrayal and usefulness are always in the mix ) in case it became too much of a pain. It will be gone as a functioning entity, within a short time of the outset of major hostilities.

Thank you for the article SF. Cool stuff in the article but, it doesn’t mean a whole lot where the rubber meets the road as of today. My take. I wish well to all.

chris chuba

“The trial was held in the open sea, with, the mobile launcher placed on a civilian vessel. … a range of 90 km”

Could you imagine the hysterical cries if Iran tested a launch platform like this? Pompeo, Cotton, Hannity, Graham, … would be demanding immediate bombing of their cities.

Swift Laggard II

Israel cannot match Iran when it comes to missiles. The only area they may have an edge would be defensive SAM systems, otherwise there is no way they can match Iran in offensive missile capability


A big chunk of their strike packages would not survive the journey there and back to begin with, as they would be flying for several hours, without close proximity of refuelers or SIGINT/AWACS support planes, on their last legs with little to no margin for advanced maneuvers in case of need, while the Iranian side would be operating the entirety of its air and ground + GCI apparatus with known C3I and sensor fusion abilities to box in and attack incoming Israeli formations with maximum efficiency via both fully fueled air-defense interceptor squadrons comprised of modernized F-14s with new PESA radars replacing their old AWG-9 and homemade digitized long range AAMs called “Fakour” derived from the AIM-54 that Iranian R&D worked on for a decade along with obvious foreign help, operating very close to their home-bases and escorted by shorter-range Russian-modernized Mig-29s and even Chinese-modernized F4s in air-to-air configuration boosted by ECM-resistant AAMs and upgraded digitized radar, themselves further supported by a modern multi-layered IADS. That’s a lot of tiers to confront for 80 or so Israeli planes coming from 2500 kilometers away at the farthest.

Bottom line : before even the very first MRBM salvos blast-off their silos and TELs for a massive counterstrike on IDF launchpads such as Palmachim and Hatzerim, Israeli pilots will suffer tremendously in the air over Iran. And that is exactly why such a strike will never happen without direct American involvement, or done by it entirely. With Trump gone and the UN arms embargo expiring in Ocotber and allowing Iran to finally achieve certain fighter purchases and ToT from both Russian and Chinese manufacturers, chances are we won’t see it happen in decades down the line.

Swift Laggard II

i doubt very much that Iran will be given the opportunity to buy new fighters. China, and especially Russia, are not reliable countries


Considering past letdowns particularly from Russia (Iran hasn’t put serious efforts on orders on Chinese planes in the past few years even though repeatedly posturing in that direction every once in a while through vague declarations of intent , semi-official military visits and nothing more), I would tend to agree.

But one also has to consider that last time Iran seriously applied for Russian planes, namely Su-30s in significant numbers it was back in 2007-8 and the geopolitical context,US-Russia relationship and relevant international stakes were quite different, to say the least the arms embargo was in place and even pre-existing orders of defensive weapons such as S-300s were ultimately denied at the last minute… only to be allowed after the P5+1 nuclear deal was inked, an element worthy of attention.

Now we live in a world were despite real differences and occasional crises, core issues concerning part of the Middle-Eastern areas of influence and namely the Mediterranean regarding Syria, Moscow and Tehran have seen eye to eye as far as for the latter to allow strategic bombers wings of the former to land on the path to Syrian targets, a never-seen-before move by Iran in several decades, if at all in the post-revolution era.

Besides, the fact that both Beijing and Moscow have spared no official declaration at the UN and their respective news outlets to warning the US its intention to extend the arms embargo is bound to fail and be hammered by their double veto, as for their ludicrous ambition to trigger a sanction snap-back without even being a party to the deal anymore, are all indications that the two powers are about to change their longstanding flexibles stances as to engage into true, deep military-technological cooperation with Iran.

We won’t have to see how it unravels anyway, the deadline is pretty much in sync to Trump’s highly probable “departure” from American politics and the world scene, which will open-up a lot of frozen options for all parties involved.

cechas vodobenikov

anyone that believes that Israeli weapons are relevant is stupid—Israel was easily defeated by Hizbollah with less advanced weapons. Israel is geographically small; the major cities can all be obliterated with missiles from Iran—thisis why Israeli planes only attack sand dunes in Syria and nations with astute leaders avoid major conflicts with other nations


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