October 6, 2007:
The most recent rumors, of what
enabled the Israelis to slip past Syria's air defenses during the September 6th
raid, describe a system that has been used in Iraq to detect transmissions from
terrorist communications and zap IED detonation systems. This system is
referred to as Suter, and such a program has been described in trade journals
for several years now. The basic elements of Suter are powerful sensors, for
detecting all manner of electronic emissions. This is coupled with some very
fast computers, and a large database of known emitters. The computer software
quickly identifies the emitters, and potential entry points into enemy
communications networks. Suter transmitters can shut down some or all enemy
emitters, just monitor them, or inject misleading information.
Naturally, with a system like this, the users don't
want to discuss details. For once lots of details are known, systems like Suter
are easier to defeat. To that end, within days of the September 6 attack,
Russia had technical people in Syria, trying to figure out what Suter, or
whatever, had done to the modern Russian early warning systems Syria was using.
Iran was also demanding answers, and what the Russians told the Iranians
initially was not pleasant. The Iranians won't say what the Russians told them,
but the fall out was a lot of very unhappy Iranian military people. Some
Russian techies are telling the Syrians and Iranians that the September 6th
raid was actually a gift, because now more is known about what Suter can do,
making it easier to defeat the system. That talk sounds more like damage
control, because Suter has been described as a rapidly evolving system. The
Russian air defense radars and computers
may now be better able to deal with the September, 2007, version of
Suter. But that advantage will fade quickly over the next few months as Suter
continues to evolve.
Suter has been getting quite a workout in Iraq and
Afghanistan, which doesn't make the Iranians or Syrians feel any better. The
U.S. and Israel have been sharing a lot of counter-terrorism technology and
tactics, and this would appear to be just another example.