Intelligence: Missiles? What Missiles?

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October 23, 2006: The Israeli Navy is unhappy with its Israeli Military Intelligence service. It seems that Military Intelligence told the Navy Intelligence three years ago that Iran had delivered Chinese C-802 (Silkworm) anti-ship missiles to Hizbollah. But Navy Intelligence never saw to it that the commanders of Israeli warships operating off the Lebanese coast were aware of this during the Summer of 2006. As a result, on last July 14th, an Israeli Saar class corvette off the Lebanese coast got hit by a C-802 missile, damaging the ship and killing four of the crew. The C-802 is a 20 foot long, 360mm, 1,500 pound missile, a 360 pound warhead. The Saars displace only 1,100 tons, are 281 feet long and have a crew of 61. The C-802 has a max range of 120 kilometers, and moves along at about 250 meters a second. The Saar class ships have a Phalanx anti-missile gun system, that is supposed to be turned on whenever the ship is likely to have an anti-ship missile fired at it. The radar can spot incoming missiles out to about 5,000 meters, and the 20mm cannon is effective out to about 2,000 meters. With incoming missiles moving a 250 meters a second, you can see why Phalanx is set to automatic. There's not much time for human intervention. Israeli ships also have electronic countermeasures for missiles like the C-802.

Iran bought 150 C-802s from China in the early 1990s, but shipments were halted in 1995 because of diplomatic pressure from the United States. Iran is believed to be building its own version of the C-802, which is 30 year old technology. Several years ago, it was reported, in the open press, that C-802s had been shipped to Hizbollah. The C-802 needs a radar to spot the target at long distance, and guide the C-802 to the general vicinity of the target. In this case, the Lebanese government coastal radar apparently was used. As a result, Israel destroyed the Lebanese coastal radars after the use of these two C-802 missiles.

 


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