Skip to main content

Israeli strikes on Syria, success on many levels

Israeli F-35I and F-16I


On May 9th the Iranian Quds force that belongs into the Revolutionary Guards Corps launched a rocket salvo against the Israeli forces in the Golan heights. The IDF had anticipated the move and placed several Iron Dome batteries to protect the region, so the attack did very little damage and several rockets were shot down.

There have been conflicting reports on whether the weapon used to attack Israel was a Russian built BM-27 Uragan or an indigenous Iranian Fajr-5.

The Fajr-5 system is an indigenous Iranian 333 mm artillery rocket that is mounted on Mercedes-Benz 2624 trucks in 4-tube launchers. System has a maximum range of 75 km and rather abysmal accuracy with a 3 km CEP. Combination of a 900 kg class conventional warhead and the low accuracy makes the FAJR-5 more of a terror weapon than any kind of precision battlefield instrument.

BM-27 Uragan (Photo: Russian Propaganda)

The Israeli Air-force had apparently been waiting for a provocation as the resulting counterattack against the launchers and the Iranian military infrastructure was an overwhelming one. Unlike in the response for the February drone incident, the IAF was well prepared with a large strike package that had a sizable SEAD element on hand.

While nothing precise is known about the composition of the Israeli force, it managed to force the Syrian army to turn on the air defense systems Russia had supplied to it. The Syrian army managed to shoot several of the longer range SAM:s against the IAF fighters, but none hit their intended targets. The Israeli’s claim to have struck against most Iranian installation in Syria.

Map of the Israeli strikes (IDF)

The Israeli SEAD element managed to destroy at least some of the SA-2, SA-22, SA-5 and SA-17 launchers and radars during the engagement. It’s noteworthy that the SA-22 aka. Pantsir-S1 systems that are designed to act as a point defense against cruise missiles were unable to defend themselves against the limited number of Israeli munitions sent their way.
Pantsir-S1 (Photo: Spjutnik)

The Russian air-defense systems deployed to protect the Russian expeditionary force in Syria didn’t engage the Israeli strike package. It’s highly likely that Russia was informed about the attacks in advance as the Israeli Prime Minister was visiting Moscow on 9.5.2018.

It’s interesting to see what aircraft the Israeli Air-force used in the attack and  that was the F-35I employed. This also casts a further shadow of doubt over the Russian air-defense systems and their ability to intercept coordinated attacks. On the other hand the level of training and integration of the Syrian army might be too low to effectively use these systems without direct Russian support.

It’s also interesting to see how the Russian-Iranian relations develop as Russia doesn’t seem to be willing to protect Iran or Syria from Israeli strikes. As an open conflict against a high tech nation like Israel could tax the limited number of advanced Russian weapon systems available for expeditionary ops, it's not surprising that the Kremlin seems to avoid that scenario.

As Iran seems to be unable to respond with a symmetric way against Israel, the next retaliation by Tehran is most likely an asymmetric one.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Quick guide to identifying the Russian tanks Part 1: main platforms and T-72 variants

As most of the western nations have reduced their inventories to a few or mostly one type of main battle tank model in their active inventories, the myriad of tank platforms and distinct versions employed by the Russian armed forces may feel overwhelming. Here is a quick guide to identifying Russian MBTs. When you come across an image (or the actual thing), follow the steps to identify it properly.



Family of the tankRussian Armed Forces currently operates, or at least storage, the following tank platforms/families: -T-55 (<2000 in storage) -T-62 (2000 in storage) -T-64 (2000 in storage) -T-72 (2000 active duty, 8000 in storage) -T-80 (2000 active duty, 5000 in storage) -T-90 (350 active duty, 600 in storage) -T-14 (20 in field testing)
So how can you identify what type of a tank are you looking at?
There are two features that can be used to distinguishing the tank families: The roadwheel placement and the exhaust ports. The older and smaller T-55 and T-62 have five roadwheels in their suspe…

9000 Tons of Steel: Russian Tank Drills in the Urals

After a flurry of rather disinformative “Tank Carousel” news from Russia the latest reportage from the Russian armed force tank exercise is much more interesting. At the beginning of August the handily named 90th Guards Vitebsk-Novgorod twice Red Banner Tank Division held it’s first divisional sized combat and live fire exercise at Cherbakul in the Chelyabinsk region.
The 90th division, that is stationed in the Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk regions, was founded in 2016 and is one of the heaviest hitting Russian formations around. It has a similar structure as the 4th Kantemirovskaya Tank Division that is part of the 1st Guards Tank Army.
The 90th Tank Division consists of the following units: •Headquarters •6th Guards Lvov Tank Regiment  •80th Tank Regiment •239th Guards Tank Regiment •228th Motorized Rifle Regiment •400th Transylvania Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment  •Anti-Aircraft Regiment •30th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion •351st Separate Engineer Sapper Battalion •33rd Separa…

Commandos in the Northern Wind 2019

There have been very few times in history, when a peacetime military training exercise of a non-aligned country has carried as much weight as the recent Swedish Northern Wind 2019. The 10 000-soldier exercise was the biggest showcase of interoperability and co-operation the region has seen.
The unscripted force on force exercise provided a perfect platform for two separate integration experiments. A Swedish/Finnish brigade was formed around a Swedish mechanized battalion. The joint brigade contained a 1500-man Finnish contingent. This was the largest military force Finland has sent beyond its borders since 1944, and it was gathered from several Finnish brigades and consisted mostly of conscripts. The combined Finnish and Swedish force with their heavy armor and artillery assets were assigned to delay and defend the northern Sweden from the other joint force coming from the north west.
Norwegian army gathered up a combined arms brigade, which was then reinforced by United States Marine C…