August 10, 2008:
seeking to intimidate Russia into halting shipment of S-300 surface-to-air
missiles to Iran. The threat comes in the form of an Israeli announcement that they
have developed an electronic warfare device that can defeat the S-300 radar. If
Iran gets the S-300s, Israel threatens to sell the electronic warfare
technology to nations who might have to deal with S-300 systems, thus greatly
reducing the effectiveness, and value, of current S-300s. It would also make it
more difficult for Russia to sell the S-300 in the future.
This could be a bluff, but the Russians have to face the fact that the
Israelis have a long track record of successfully defeating radars, and
anti-aircraft missiles, especially those of Russian manufacture. Russia, on the
other hand, has an equally impressive record of having their systems either
fail, or get smoked by Western countermeasures. Now playing this kind of game
is usually done in private by military equipment salesmen. Rarely do you hear
this stuff tossed about in public.
Of course, the Russians are going to think that, if the Israelis do have
such a device, they are going to sell it to selected customers anyway. But the
Israelis may have made an offer, behind the scenes, to withhold the device from
the general market, if the Russians will halt S-300 shipments to Iran. Then
again, the Russians are not without talent in the electronic warfare
department, and may see this as an opportunity to either test the S-300 radars
and counter-countermeasures against a possible Israeli attack, while also
calling the Israelis bluff. In any event, it's an interesting, and rare,
exercise in Information Warfare.