Israeli navy to upgrade missile defense capabilities: report

08:44, September 13, 2010      

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The Israel Navy is testing out a new radar-jamming missile defense system for its fast patrol boats and is set to purchase several unmanned drones for reconnaissance missions, local media reported on Sunday.

The system is slated to be installed on vessels that routinely patrol the waters off the Gaza Strip and that are likely to be dispatched to the Lebanese coast in case of war.

It includes a radar that can detect incoming missiles, integrating an electronic warfare system to jam their signal and divert them from their course, Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post reported.

The new system is still under development at the Defense Ministry's Research and Development Directorate, MAFAT.

The system is being developed in light of Hamas and Hezbollah's improved anti-ship capabilities and the growing threat they pose to Israeli vessels which often conduct their missions close to the shoreline, said the report.

In the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the INS Hanit, one of the Israeli Navy's main missile boats, sustained four deaths and severe damage after, according to Israeli media, a direct hit by a surface-to-sea missile fired by Hezbollah.

An inquiry later concluded that the ship's crew underestimated Hezbollah's ability to strike at sea and had not employed the sophisticated electronic warfare systems at their disposal.

The navy is also bolstering its reconnaissance and intelligence- gathering capabilities, and is set to buy an unspecified number of Israeli-made "Orbiter" unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to the report.

The navy's decision to procure the UAV was met with criticism by the Israeli Air Force senior officers. Local media last week quoted naval commanders as saying that the UAV will enable them to collect critical intelligence at sea at any given time without having to rely on the IAF's UAVs, which often require a relatively long waiting period prior to deployment.

The IAF, on its part, claimed all aerial activity, including that of UAVs, has always been and should remain within its exclusive jurisdiction.

Source: Xinhua


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