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Israeli Strikes On Syria: Weapons, Effect, Consequences

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Israeli Strikes On Syria: Weapons, Effect, Consequences

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) continue their bombing campaign in Syria. In the framework of this campaign, IDF aircraft strike what the Israeli leadership describes as Iranian infrastructure and weapon shipments to Hezbollah and pro-Iranian armed groups. Nonetheless, positions and equipment of the Syrian Armed Forces often appear to be target of Israeli strikes allegedly aimed solely against Iran. In rare cases, when Israel publicly admits strikes in Syria, it claims that the SAF is being targeted because of its “hostile actions” towards Israeli missiles and aircraft entering Syrian airspace.

The unofficial and illegal pattern of Israeli strikes, the double-faced public attitude of the Israeli leadership as well as the unwillingness of Syrian and Iranian forces to admit any damage and casualties caused by Israeli actions hinder efforts to get a real assessment of the effectiveness of the IDF military campaign. Taking into account that the IDF provided little details even into officially declared strikes, this breeds grounds for wild media speculations and rumors.

On the one hand, Syrian and Iranian media demonstrate a classic example of “there were no casualties” coverage. On the other hand, US and Israeli media, and sometimes even official Tel Aviv, time and time again destroy almost entire Iranian military infrastructure and even Syrian air defense system, which then mysteriously resurface by a next Israeli strike.

Despite this, the jets and weapons list employed by the IDF against targets in Syria are an open secret.

The core of the Israeli Air Force striking force is the F-16I Sufa. This warplane is a modified variant of the F-16D block 50 and 52 fighter and ground attack aircraft. The F-16I, which has a crew of two, differs from the original F-16 by modified avionics and weapons systems.

The F-16I is fitted with a pair of removable conformal fuel tanks provided holding 450gal of extra fuel on both sides of the upper fuselage. They increase the aircraft’s mission range and combat endurance. The fitting of conformal tanks makes the two wing inner store stations normally used for external tanks available for weapon carriage expanding the warplane’s air-to-ground weapons capacity. The F16I is fitted with a dorsal avionics compartment, which extends from the rear of the cockpit to the fin and houses additional avionics systems, chaff and flare dispensers and the aircraft’s in-flight refuelling receptacle. Among other equipment, the F-16I got the Elbit Dash IV display and sight helmet system, mission and presentation computers, and digital map display. The jet navigation system includes a combined ring laser gyro inertial navigation system, global positioning system (RLGINS/GPS) and a digital terrain system. The F-16I has the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-68(V)9 multi-mode radar, which reportedly has 5 times the processing speed and 10 times the memory capacity of the previous APG-68 radars on the F-16.

There were 102 F-16I Sufra in service with the Israeli Air Force until February 2018, when the Syrian military shot down one of these jets. It was the first occasion on which Israel lost a jet to an enemy combatant, since 1982.

At the same time, there still has not been a comprehensive evidence to confirm that any of F-35I of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has been employed in combat ever. Claims by Israeli officials that some F-35I was employed somewhere and somewhen cannot be considered as a reliable proof.

The prime striking weapon used by the IAF is the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB). Vestiges of these bombs are often being found on sites of the Israeli strikes. In particular, GBU-39 SDBs were employed on March 28 when the IAF targeted supposed Iranian targets in Aleppo city.

The GBU-39 SDB is precision-guided glide bomb developed to provide aircraft with the ability to carry a higher number of more accurate bombs. The GBU-39, which was first introduced by Boeing in 2006, has a standoff range of more than 110km due to its pop-out wings. The 250lb (113.6kg) bomb uses an inertial navigation system (INS) and GPS to hit static targets with high accuracy, although it has only 22.7kg of explosives.

Another GBU-39 advantage is its stealthy signature. The bomb has a length of 1.8m and a diameter of 0.19m, but its radar cross section of 0.015m2 only. This creates additional difficulties for enemy air defense systems in the event of a massive strike with the usage of GBU-39 bombs. In September 2008, Israel receives approval from the US Congress to purchase 1,000 bombs. Israel was the first country outside of the US to receive the weapon.

In the event of massive strikes on Syrian air defense systems and alleged Iranian targets, like ones in May and February 2018, and January 2019, the IDF employs a wider list of weapons. For example, the widely-covered destructions of Russia-supplied Pantsir systems of the Syrian military, airstrikes were supported by a massive usage of ground-launched IAI Harop loitering munitions.The IAI Harop is an anti-radiation drone that can autonomously home in on radio emissions. The munition can either operate fully autonomously, using its anti-radar homing system, or it can take a human-in-the-loop mode. If a target is not engaged, the drone will return and land itself back at base.

Thanks to a small radar cross-section, the IAI Harop is intended to target enemy air-defense systems in a first line of attack and can evade SAMs and radar detection systems, which are designed to target much larger aircraft or to intercept fixed-trajectory missiles. It has a flying time of 6 hours and a full range of 1000 km. The IAI Harop has a weight of 135kg, a length of 2.5m and a wingspan of 3m. Unlike other drones that carry explosive warheads, the Harop itself is the main munition with an onboard explosive of 23kg.

Taking into account a wide economic and military support from the US and its coalition, the Israeli military enjoys a relative freedom of operations and has almost an endless stock of offensive means to engage Syria and its Iranian allies in this kind of individual air attacks, which it is currently being employed. A military technical advantage over the Syrian Armed Forces allows Tel Aviv to employ its strike policy almost without suffering real consequence. However, incidents like one in February 2018 demonstrates that this advantage is not something fully irresistible. Over the past few years, Damascus has achieved a visible progress in training and strengthening of its air defense forces, first of all thanks to Russian support. A relatively low efficiently of Israeli strikes on Syria, especially in comparison with the picture provided by pro-Israeli sources, is a demonstration of this. At the same time, modern Syria has  no means and resources to repel a wide-scale Israeli aerial operation, if Tel Aviv make a fundamental decision to fully suppress Syrian air defense forces. The issue is that military and diplomatic cost of this “success” that Israel will have to pay for this may appear to be too big. Therefore, the current status quo will remain unchanged in the near future and the IDF will continue to make separate strikes on alleged Iranian targets, which will face limited responses by the Syrian Air Defense.

This puts Russia, which is a key Syrian ally in the sphere of the military technical cooperation, in a complicated situation. So far, Moscow has limited its response to Israeli actions to diplomatic steps, a widely promoted S-300 delivery and a declared modernization of the Syrian air defense network. This “limited” response was predetermined by a role of “neutral force” ready to work with all sides to de-escalate the conflict, which Russia seeks to play in the region. This attitude has weak sides. Currently, most of Syrians see the Russians as heroes and allies that had helped to reverse the course of the war. Nonetheless, the Russian inaction in response to Israeli actions, especially amid the low intensity of military actions on key frontlines, undermines this image. If the situation develops in this direction, in 2-3 years, Russia may lost the hard-won support from the Syrians. In this event, and especially in the event of a lack of success in other fields, Moscow may find itself operating in a very different environment on the ground.

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  • **رآجّـيةّ آلَفُـردٍوٌسِ* * #

    Translation: Battalions of Faith https://youtu.be/0jloLCvpaLc

  • John Whitehot

    “the unwillingness of Syrian and Iranian forces to admit any damage and casualties”

    Or perhaps Israel lies about strikes being effective, since photoshopped pics and deactivated pantsir hits videos are the norm after these “daring raids”

    • Concrete Mike

      Daring using civilian aircraft on christmas as cover daring?

      Yeah those guys.

      Point is, Israel using stand off ammunition after 8 years of their minions running amok in the ground, is feeble at best.

      • John Whitehot

        “Daring using civilian aircraft on christmas as cover daring?”

        that’s why i put “daring raids” between quotes.

        the israeli air force commander previously stated that air strikes will never make Iran leave Syria, and that Russia is the only one who could do that.

        practically, it’s an admission that the only value these strikes have is propagandistic.

        Bibi has built his political success on fearmongering, by presenting the “iranian threat” as existential, and then sell himself as the only one able to protect Israel.

    • Arch Bungle

      How many of those targets are decoys and dummies set up specifically to draw israeli fire?

  • Xoli Xoli

    My people Israel is busy destroying Syrian forces.Even Iran weapons are destroyed.Damaged effect update collector is Putin.

  • Manuel Flores Escobar

    Israel only attack empty warehouse or ammo depot taken to terrorist( Pantsir truck parked was an easy and propagandist target)….only one time attacked Iranian troops in Homs airbase and Iran launched 55 rockets to israel in response!….Russia Won´t attack Israel jets with S-400…..israel also know that SAA , Hezbollah and Iranian troops are not Gaza fighters and their home made rockets!…they can launch enough rockets, ballistic missile, attacks drones and cruise missile ( Bastion P) to collapse many parts of Israel!

  • RichardD

    I don’t agree with the video’s assessment that the SADF is incapable of dealing with a large scale IAF offensive. That may have been the case prior to the post IL-20 downing and subsequent satcom and S-300/400 upgrade. But now with a fully integrated 1,000 launcher strong IAD which includes coverage deep into Israeli territory. The SADF knows where most of the enemy planes are 24/7 and can hit them on the ground and almost anywhere in their flight path from take off to landing.

  • Rodney Loder

    Why should Russia give everything for Syria, when the situation compared to the bluster coming for Trumps Administration is more like a stable peace after the war.

    And israeli attacks with these miniature bombs is just about publicly appealing to the home crowd.

    The Trump campaign is chasing some kind of absolute military and economic advantage without going beyond brinkmanship, believing they will never have to deliver.

    Since Russia has to play the villain wouldn’t it be better for Russia to get something out of it closer to home like the Ukraine.

  • ©igare☘☘e👽Sm⚽️k🚬ng🦉Man️🎲

    The world has had enough of Isramerica and NATO and their evil wars over natural resources commodities and trade routes!

    It’s high time for some equilibrium, it’s time for Russia and China to get their share.

    Come on then, no more time wasting, time is of the essence.

  • Real Anti-Racist Action

    Russia has yet to avenge the murder of the Tsar family. Till that is done Russia will not be getting around to anything else either.
    The group responsible and their families who murdered the Tsar must receive the full measure of justice from Russia is Russia believes in any justice at all.

    • El Mashi

      The Tsar kept the Russian people hungry, illiterate, drunk, and sick. The Tsar only had two universities to educate the elites. Russia progressed once they got rid of the backward and medieval Tsar. Do you think anybody in France is mourning the beheaded King?

      • xyz

        And he was the only leader who acted so towards his own people? Most of them do the same once they are high in power, get real. Tell me and us again how Russia progressed after communism was installed. Anyway, the Tsar did not deserve to die like that.

      • cechas vodobenikov

        precisely—no society in history improved conditions for ordinary people as much as the USSR

      • Nigel Maund

        Correct!

      • Alberto Garza

        and the communists kept everyone happy and fed ? remeber the 5 hour lines to buy bread in moscow in the 1980 ?

  • Ono&Dsz

    One thig is for sure here – some kind of deal with Russia is arranged. Don’t forget how eassy SAA was liberated south Syria and Israel didn’t react. For me that was big surrprise that israel leave that without any gain…so, it is clear that now is time for payback…

  • ©igare☘☘e👽Sm⚽️k🚬ng🦉Man️🎲

    Member of the German Parliament, the Bundestag, Alexander Neu:

    “Especially over the last 20 years, NATO has shown its true face, starting with the war of aggression against Yugoslavia in violation of international law or the almost equally long-lasting war in Afghanistan and numerous other foreign missions that claimed countless victims. It is always solely about maintaining and securing resources”.

  • Taz T

    More like Israeli Aggression / occupation
    forces.

  • slorter

    There so called great weapons did not effect the outcome of the war! They do not have control of the airspace over Syria and provide childish little skirmishes and exaggerate!

  • Nigel Maund

    Russia cannot sit forever on the fence over this developing situation, otherwise it will, as the video suggests, lose all the hard won support from the Syrian people. Someone has to stop the IAF doing as it pleases and inflict serious material losses to make them rethink. Give a bully a bloody nose and he quickly becomes a coward.

  • Slava Slavia

    Obviously the SAM does not work! Get something that works and shoot down one by one.
    And dig, go underground….

  • Arch Bungle

    Syria needs to get rid of the s300/400 rubbish from Russia and buy better, lower cost alternatives from China like the PLA HQ-16:

    http://missiledefenseadvocacy.org/missile-threat-and-proliferation/todays-missile-threat/china-anti-access-area-denial-coming-soon/hq-16/