Syria poised to transfer Iranian mobile anti-air missiles to Lebanese Hizballah

Israel’s government changeover catches its armed forces on a high war alert on two fronts – its southern border with the Gaza Strip and its northern borders with Lebanon and Syria, DEBKA-Net-Weekly reported Feb. 6. Iran is deeply involved in both. The northern borders may be the more flammable, our military sources report, after Israel warned Damascus, through US, Egyptian and Turkish channels, that its delivery of scores of mobile anti-air missile systems to Hizballah in Lebanon would cross a red line.
Their possession would make Hizballah the first terrorist group in the world to be armed with an independent air defense weapon system.
In Hizballah’s hands, this air defense system would seriously endanger Israeli air movements over Galilee and the Mediterranean, impede US Sixth Fleet flights and endow the Lebanese Shiite group with total military superiority over the Lebanese army and the UNIFIL peacekeepers in the south.
According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s military sources, scores of missile carriers painted in Hizballah’s colors stand ready at four Syrian military depots ready to cross the Lebanese border. In the last six months, hundreds of operatives trained in their operation in Iran and Syria. Iranian and Syrian missile officers have picked Lebanese sites for their deployment. Hizballah has placed them off-limits to civilians.
The highly-mobile, low-altitude, single-stage surface-to-air missile has a radar system that can detect, track and engage aircraft independently, picking up targets at 30 km and begin tracking them at 20-25 km.
Two separate missile guidance radars are used (with offset frequencies to reduce the effectiveness of Electronic Counter Measures (ECM), so that if one is jammed or shut down, the new missiles can track targets optically. It is armed with a 19-kilo fragmentation warhead with contact and proximity detonation capability.
A battery consists of two launch vehicles, each armed with 6 missiles and two transload vehicles with 18 missile reloads. The lethal radius at low altitude is 5 meters.
It is highly mobile, fully amphibious, air transportable and can be relocated to a new site within four minutes from system shutdown.
The integration of the newbatteries with the C-802 shore-to-ship missiles (of which Hizballah has taken delivery of more than 1,000), when deployed along the Lebanese Mediterranean coast would sharply inhibit the movements of the US Sixth Fleet.
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