Archive for July 17, 2018

Fighter Showdown: Air Force F-22 Raptor vs. F-14 Tomcat (That Iran Still Flies)

July 17, 2018

by TNI Staff July 18, 2018 The National Interest

Source Link: Fighter Showdown: Air Force F-22 Raptor vs. F-14 Tomcat That Iran Still Flies

{I feel the need for speed. – LS}

Even if the Raptors had run out of AMRAAMs and were forced to engage within visual range, the F-22s can use their stealth to close in unobserved to less than 1000ft to either kill the F-14s with Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinders or 20mm Vulcan cannon fire. Indeed, F-22 pilots flying during exercises such as Red Flag or Northern Edge will often sneak into guns range to make unobserved kills from very close distances by taking advantage of the Raptor’s stealth. More often than not, the Raptor’s quarry is caught completely unaware.

With the United States withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with Iran, a war with Tehran seems to be a distinct possibility.  In the event of a military conflict between Washington and Tehran, there is also the ever growing possibility that the White House might seek regime change in Iran.

A full-scale military campaign against Iran would require the United States to destroy the Iranian air force—which to this day flies American-built warplanes. The best of Iran’s decrepit fighter aircraft fleet is the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. The Imperial Iranian Air Force purchased 80 of the powerful fourth generation fighters before the 1979 Islamic revolution, but deliveries were halted at 79 aircraft. Additionally, Iran had purchased 714 Hughes (now Raytheon) AIM-54A Phoenix long-range semi-active/active radar guided air-to-air missiles, which have a range of roughly 100 nautical miles.

When the F-14A was developed, it was amongst the most capable fighters developed by the United States during the late 1960s. The jet entered service with the U.S. Navy in 1974 equipped with the AWG-9 long-range pulse Doppler radar, which had a range of over 115 nautical miles and was the first American radar set to incorporate a track while scan mode to allow for a multiple shot capability. Coupled with the AIM-54, the AWG-9 could target six enemy bombers simultaneously. On paper, the Tomcat provided the fleet with a potent capability—though the reality did not quite meet the Navy’s public relations hype.

Iran has upgraded its Tomcats with new avionics and potentially new weapons, but only a handful of Tehran’s F-14s are in flyable condition—perhaps as few as 20 aircraft. However, other than perhaps 20 Russian-made Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrums, the venerable Tomcat is the Islamic Iranian Air Force’s most capable fighter. In the event of a war, the F-14 would be Iran’s first line of defense against an American onslaught.

The stealthy Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor air superiority fighter would almost certainly lead an American attack. Compared to the antiquated F-14, the Raptor is a technological marvel and is equipped with some of the most sophisticated sensors ever developed for a military aircraft.

The F-22 combines extreme stealth and sustained supersonic speed—it can cruise at just above Mach 1.8 without afterburners—with integrated avionics and extreme agility. The Raptor’s Northrop Grumman AN/APG-77 (V)1 active electronically scanned array radar and ALR-94 passive electronic support measures suite would spot an F-14 from many tens of nautical miles away before the Tomcat had any idea that an F-22 was in the vicinity.

The Raptor, having detected a flight of Iranian F-14s and given the go-ahead to engage, would likely turn toward the enemy and launch its Raytheon AIM-120D AMRAAM missile—which reported has a range of 96 nautical miles when launched from a conventional fighter—from high supersonic speeds exceeding Mach 1.5 and at altitudes well above 50,000ft. It would be all over for the Iranian F-14s before anyone in the enemy formation would have any idea they were under attack.

Even if the Raptors had run out of AMRAAMs and were forced to engage within visual range, the F-22s can use their stealth to close in unobserved to less than 1000ft to either kill the F-14s with Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinders or 20mm Vulcan cannon fire. Indeed, F-22 pilots flying during exercises such as Red Flag or Northern Edge will often sneak into guns range to make unobserved kills from very close distances by taking advantage of the Raptor’s stealth. More often than not, the Raptor’s quarry is caught completely unaware.

However, if by some bizarre circumstance the F-22 is embroiled in a dogfight with the F-14, the chances are the Raptor will kill the Tomcat unless the American pilot suffers from extremely bad luck or makes a serious error. The Raptor holds all of the cards in terms of instantaneous and sustained turn rates—which in the F-22’s case is greater than 30 degrees per second—and energy addition. The Raptor’s incredible specific excess power and sheer maneuverability combined with its new AIM-9X missiles makes it so that the odds are grotesquely stacked in the F-22 pilot’s favor. It would be like clubbing a baby seal.

Of course, that’s just in the case that Iran’s leaders are foolish enough to take the United States head on. It would be much smarter for Iran to use asymmetric means to take on the United States instead of challenging America in the air.




Netanyahu’s secret consent to hand Golan crossing to Syria led to Trump-Putin deal on Israel’s border security 

July 17, 2018

Source: Netanyahu’s secret consent to hand Golan crossing to Syria led to Trump-Putin deal on Israel’s border security – DEBKAfile

DEBKAfile Exclusive: Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin joined in their support for Israel’s security at their Helsinki summit on Monday, July 16, after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told them both that he had withdrawn his objections to the Syrian army reinstating its line of outposts in the Quenitra district, including control of the Ein Zivan-Quneitra border crossing.

This is the only transit point between Israel and Syria. Our sources reveal that Putin insisted on the Syrian army assuming control of this crossing, in the same way as he stipulated the handover to Syria of the Nassib crossing to Jordan.

Monday morning, the Syrian army captured the strategic Tel Al Harrah hills from rebel hands. That line of hilltop positions is the key to controlling the Quneitra district. Our military sources note that only 20 percent of the Syrian army consists of Syrian troops; the other 80 percent are Hizballah and other Shiite militias loyal to Iran. Today’s Syrian and allied victory therefore brings these hostile forces to within 3-4 km from Israel’s Golan border.

Up to 22 killed, including 9 Iranians, in Syria strike blamed on Israel – report

July 17, 2018

Earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 9, said raid targeted an Iranian Revolutionary Guard center

Syrian rebel forces claimed that 22 people, including nine Iranians, were killed in an overnight strike in northern Syria blamed on Israel, the Qatar-based al-Jazeera network reported Monday.

An Israeli F-16 during an exercise on November 25, 2013. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

The figure, which could not be confirmed, was much higher than an earlier report of nine deaths provided by a Syrian watchdog group.

The al-Jazeera report did not cite its sources or give any further details.

Syrian state media has accused Israel of carrying out the bombing of a military position in Aleppo province late Sunday, in what would be a rare Israeli attack so far north in the war-ravaged country.

“The Israeli missiles targeted an Iranian Revolutionary Guard center, near the Neyrab military airport,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor.

He said those killed included at least six Syrians, but could not specify the nationalities of the remaining fighters.

The position is a logistics hub used to provide equipment and food to pro-regime forces fighting at nearby fronts, but it did not store weapons, Abdel Rahman said.

Earlier Monday, the country’s official news agency SANA reported there was only damage to the site, identified as the Al-Nayrab airbase, adjacent to Aleppo’s international airport.

“The Zionist enemy (Israel)… targeted with its missiles one of our military positions north of the Nayrab military airport, but the damage was only material,” SANA said citing a military source.

Al-Nayrab has in the past been linked with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps militia.

The Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside the country, said it had recorded a wave of blasts around Nayrab on Sunday night.

It said that a suspected Israeli missile strike had targeted “positions held by Syria’s regime and its allies at the Nayrab airport” and its surroundings.

The base was reportedly previously struck by Israel on April 29 as part of a large raid that also targeted weapons depots near Hama.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, which rarely confirms such attacks.

Suspected Israeli airstrikes have hit Syrian army positions near Damascus and in the central provinces of Homs and Hama in the past. However, they rarely occur as far north as Aleppo.

The raid came hours before a high-stakes summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, where Syria and Iran are expected to be on the agenda.

Israel has been pushing Russia to remove Iranian-aligned militia fighters from Syria, and has vowed to stop them from getting a foothold anywhere in the country. Russia has reportedly only agreed to removing them from the Golan border region.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Putin in Moscow last week, said Sunday he had discussed the issue with Trump a day earlier.

Netanyahu reportedly told Putin during their Wednesday meeting that Israel would not challenge Assad’s control of Syria, in exchange for freedom to act against Iran.

On July 8, Israel was accused of carrying out an airstrike on the T-4 military base near Homs, also thought to be used by IRGC fighters.

IDF: Hamas Plans to Strike Israel with Exploding Drones

July 17, 2018

Investigative Project on Terrorism News July 16, 2018

Source Link: IDF: Hamas Plans to Strike Israel with Exploding Drones

{If Hamas is successful, it will be their own undoing. – LS}

As Israel moves more Iron Dome anti-missile batteries to its border with Gaza, Hamas terrorists are moving forward with plans to spread their arson-by-air attacks deeper into the country. Israel held an emergency cabinet session Sunday after another Hamas provocation over the weekend. Israel’s military hit dozens of Hamas targets in Gaza after terrorists launched an estimated 200 missiles at Israeli communities on the border.

According to Palestinian media reports, Israel also deployed three drones to strike Palestinians launching incendiary kites and balloons, wounding three terrorists.

“It’s important to emphasize that we have no intention of tolerating this – not rockets, not kites, not drones – nothing,” warned Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman during the cabinet meeting.

For years, Hamas has been diverting resources intended for civilian re-building efforts in Gaza to enhance its military capabilities, including a growing drone program. Hamas, like other terrorist groups, has used drones for a variety of purposes including attacks, reconnaissance, and testing state air defenses. In the past, Hamas hasdeployed several drones to infiltrate Israel and exploited these incidents as propaganda victories. Now Hamas may have found another potential use for drones: to enflame its arson terror campaign.

Looking beyond incendiary kites and balloons, Israeli defense officials believe that Hamas wants to deploy exploding drones to increase the organization’s arson-based terrorist efforts.

According to an Israel Hayom report, Hamas is preparing to mount explosive material on unmanned aerial vehicles to target Israel communities situated deeper into the country. The terrorist group has also already started to affix timers to incendiary aerial devices, to delay their detonation and maximize damage to Israeli land.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan warned that “we are seeing an obvious trend” and that Hamas operatives “are constantly increasing their kites’ range and they are using ‎other airborne devices” which “may even reach Judea ‎and Samaria (West Bank).”

Previous reports pointed to Iran building a fleet of suicide drones for its main terrorist proxies, including Hamas, to assemble and launch kamikaze style attacks. But Hamas also maintains an increasingly sophisticated domestic drone program as well.

Israel’s national security is threatened by several militant groups with established drone programs on its borders, including Hizballah, the Islamic State, and al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria. Even Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) now threatens Israel directly by deploying drones into its airspace to test Israel’s resolve.

Like Iran, Hamas is attempting to create “new rules of engagement” in its war against Israel. The terrorist organization recognizes that Israel’s military will likely avoid direct responses against terrorist cells launching incendiary aerial devices into Israel territory.

Israel’s air force struck several Hamas military targets after terrorists deployed incendiary kites and balloons that caused severe fires in Israeli communities on the Gaza border. Hamas escalated the violence last month by launching 45 mortar shells and rockets at Israel. Similar tit-for-tat incidents have emerged since Hamas began encouraging and planning this new method of arson terrorism during the violent border riots on the Gaza border at the end of March.

Many of these devices continue to land on Israeli territory, sparking destructive fires that burn thousands of acres of crops and natural forest area. Containing the fires is amajor strain on Israel’s resources and significantly disrupts civilians’ lives. Israel has largely relied on firing warning shots at Palestinians launching incendiary devices.

On Sunday, Israel’s security cabinet directed the military to adopt tougher countermeasures against Hamas’ use of arson terrorism. But considerable debate within Israel’s security establishment remains on how to tackle the threat.

In a reportedly heated exchange on Sunday, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot challenged Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s push to allow the military to directly target cells launching incendiary aerial devices – a more aggressive policy than the current use of warning shots. Eisenkot allegedly argued that lethal force in this situation is immoral.

Israel has increasingly relied on drones in an attempt to take down incendiary kites and balloons. There may be an emerging “drone, counter drone” struggle between Israel and its terrorist enemies – similar to the dynamic between the United States and global jihadists. To address the wider UAV terrorism threat, Israel has reportedly assassinated key drone experts abroad, while continuing to target enemy UAV storage facilities in airstrikes and intercepting shipments of UAV-related material to terrorist organizations.

UAV terrorism will grow as the technology becomes less expensive and more effective. A sophisticated militant organization should have no issues launching explosives-laden drones. The Islamic State, for example, deployed its first suicide drone attack using a modified commercial UAV.

Amid Hamas’s new provocative strategy, Israel will continue evolving its efforts to counter emerging terrorist threats – including drone-based arson attacks.