Air Defense: Israel Goes Easy on Iran


May 7, 2024: In April Israel initially considered a major counterattack on Iran after a major attack on Israeli failed, with nearly all the hundreds of cruise and ballistic missiles as well as slower armed UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) being destroyed. All Iran achieved was some minor damage on the runway of an Israel air base where some of Israel’s new American made F-35 fighters were based. Another Israeli air base had a C-130 transport suffer some minor damage.

Iran was dismayed at the extent of their failure and announced that their war with Israel was concluded. Israel did not agree but did not want to start a war with Iran that could drag on for months or years and cost both sides a lot of money and a few Iranian casualties. So, Israel attacked an air defense system guarding the Natanz nuclear weapons research facility. Israeli aircraft launched two missiles at the target but after the first one hit the target, Israel ordered the second missile to self-destruct in the air.

This demonstrated that Israel could attack any Iranian targets without risk because Israel used missiles launched from their aircraft flying outside Iranian airspace. The missiles were designed to fly low and avoid detection by ground radar. The only possible way to detect such attacks is to have AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft that can detect aircraft or missiles traveling close to the ground, usually to avoid detection by enemy air defense radars. Iran does not have any AWACS aircraft. Most of the recently designed and built AWACS aircraft have their equipment mounted in a twin-engine business jet. Because of numerous trade and military sanctions imposed on Iran, none of these new AWACS aircraft are available to Iran.

The original Israeli counterattack plan included attacking numerous targets in Iran, including many air defense systems, including those around Tehran, the Iranian capital. Israel realized that plan would probably result in a prolonged war with Iran. Israel’s main ally, the United States, agreed with Israel that a prolonged war with Iran was counterproductive, especially since the major Iranian attack on Israel was such a total failure.




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