Monday, July 24, 2006
On July 14, 2006, an anti-ship missile fired from
Haaretz.com reported (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/738695.html) another ship, a Cambodian flagged merchantman, was struck and sunk shortly after INS Ahi-Hanit was hit. The merchantman was 60 km from the coast and 44 km down range from the INS Ahi-Hanit and was hit by the missile that missed/was decoyed from the INS Ahi-Hanit. Both Debka (http://debka.com/article.php?aid=1184) and Defense-Update.com
(http://www.defense-update.com/2006/07/ins-hanit-suffers-iranian-missile.html) are reporting a “High-Low” missile attack was conducted on the INS Ahi-Hanit with the initial C-802 being set for a higher trajectory to draw out the INS Ahi-Hanit’s electronic defenses and chaff while a second sea skimming missile came in behind it and activated its seeker while it was almost on top of the INS Ahi-Hanit.
The difference between the accounts is that Debka says the first C-802 was set for a “pop-up” trajectory and dove into the sea while Defense-Update.com says the second missile was a TV guided Chinese C-701, also known as the Kosar in Iranian service.
The C-802 series missile is clone of the rocket powered French Exocet missile upgraded with a turbojet to give it performance comparable to early marks of the US Navy Harpoon anti-ship missile.
We are of the opinion that the missile strike was indeed “high-low,” as both sites described, but we think it involved two C-802 missiles. The use of missiles of two different types implies two different launchers trucks being coordinated by radio under Israeli UAV and signals intelligence surveillance nets. The simpler and safer operational mode would be a single truck launcher with two C-802’s.We are also in agreement with it being two C-802 missiles, but not necessarily with the same-truck launcher scenario. The reason for the agreement is the damage done to the ship -it was a bit much for a 29kg warhead.
Milblogs covered much of this ground earlier, here, here, and here.
When we see advanced armaments used in the service of terrorists, we can suspect a couple of several possibilities. Either the these weapons have been sold directly to Hezbollah, or they Iranian armaments made available to Hezbollah, or used on their behalf.
Given the military sophistication of this attack, it is virtually certain that this was conducted by Iranian military personal or technicians. Hezbollah would lack the technical training or expertise with such a weapon system. These are not a terror weapons, after all, but precision guided, anti-ship munitions. Not useful at all at killing innocent civilians.
(Via Winds of Change)
UPDATE: My colleagues at Milblogs pointed out fine reporting earlier at Milblogs, and an error in identifying the C802 as French. I have added the links and corrected the error -- due to my ignorance -- and offer my apologies...
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