Saturday, July 15, 2006

Hezbollah Employs Anti-Ship Missile

UPDATE: Original reports said the the weapon employed was a UAV. Later reports say the weapon was a Chinese-designed, Iranian-supplied C-802 anti-ship cruise missile.

DefenseTech reports that the Lebanon-based militia Hezbollah has hit an Israeli missile corvette with an Iranian-supplied UAV equipped with a warhead.

UAVs are difficult targets. They have small radar cross sections and are surprisingly quiet and difficult to spot visually at even moderate altitudes. More importently, they can, in effect, be made into cruise missiles, which is apparently what Hezbollah has done.

As John Pike of Global Security said, it doesn't take "rocket science to put explosives on the thing and then use the TV camera to home in on the ship." However, it does require some imagination. And failure of imagination is one of the most basic of military blunders.

The Israelis have learned another lesson about underestimating their foe. It is a lesson that the US should consider in its standoff with Iran, as Iran was almost certainly the source of the equipment, expertise, and imagination. US ships in the Persian Gulf are as vulnerable as Israeli ones standing off the coast of Lebanon.

UPDATE: Maybe there's some rocket science after all. There are reports that Iranian soldiers are in Lebanon assisting Hezbollah with their UAVs, and that the systems are radar guided:

A senior Israeli intelligence official said Iranian troops helped Hezbollah fire a missile that damaged an Israeli warship off the Lebanese coast Friday night.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information, said about 100 Iranian soldiers are in Lebanon and helped fire the Iranian-made, radar-guided C-102 at the ship that killed one and left three missing.

Damn. Still, it's not the first time the Israeli navy has been caught napping. In October 1967, destroyer Eliat was sunk by a radar-guided Styx missile with a loss of 47 of her crew. Here is an eyewitness account of the event.


At 9:40 AM, Blogger Robert Sulentic said...

This isn't good news for the US Navy either. From what I've seen, I don't think they're even thinking about this yet.

At least its known, now.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Michael Puttre said...

I imagine that Iran and their proxies in Lebanon have given quite a bit of thought to the problem of dealing with blockading warships. Let's hope the US is proactive for a change.

After all, the IED threat seems to have caught us flat-footed.


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