Two days after an Iranian pilotless helicopter breached Israeli air space, Israel Monday, Oct. 8, stationed Patriot missile interceptor batteries in different parts of northern Israel, including Mt. Carmel, near Haifa, in what one Israeli official called a routine step. debkafile’s military sources disclose that the Patriot, which has extremely high interception capabilities, was in fact rushed into position as the country celebrated Simhat Torah, lest Iran or Hizballah plan a follow-up aerial intrusion and in view of the current deterioration in Syria which Turkish President Abdullah Gulf called Monday “the worst case scenario.” These batteries are only normally deployed during joint US-Israeli drills or in times of eve-of-war tension.
The IDF is clearly acting fast to correct the air defense weaknesses which permitted the UAV Saturday, Oct. 6, to fly undetected from north to south along Israel’s Mediterranean coastline over its gas and oil rigs and close to its Haifa Bay industrial center, power stations and Navy bases in Haifa and Ashdod. Most worrying was the Iranian drone’s flight over IDF’s sensitive the Palmachim rocket launch site not far from the Nahal Soreq nuclear research reactor, without triggering any early warning tracking systems.
In all, Israel’s air and missile defense systems failed to respond to incoming aerial threats from the north – Syria or Lebanon – and the West – the Mediterranean.
After the incident, a high-ranking Iranian commander, Jamaluddin Aberoumand, deputy coordinator of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the incursion exposed the weakness of Israeli air defenses. He told the Fars news agency, that it indicated Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile defense system "does not work and lacks the necessary capacity."
This was taken by the Israeli army command as pointing to more Iranian and Hizballah aerial intrusions in the works.
Israeli military researchers, investigating the incident have, according to debkafile’s intelligence sources, found fragments of the downed Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle had been made out of a certain type of fiberglass which is absorbent to radar beams. This explains why it was not detected by Israeli air defense radar.
This alerted the investigators to the possibility that Iranian engineers were able to reverse-engineer the stealth and radar-repellent elements embodied in the secret US RQ-170 drone they captured on Dec. 13, 2011, and incorporate them in the UAV which breached Israeli air space.
Iran then claimed its cyber war experts had downed the US RQ-170 intruding over its territory and recovered it complete with all its systems intact. The Americans still claim the secret drone came down in Iran when a technical fault forced it off course after taking off from Kandahar in S. Afghanistan.
Whatever happened then, Iran managed to commandeer the most secret American drone, a huge prize, together with its highly sophisticated electronic systems. The incident Saturday showed that the IDF had not taken into account that, in the interim ten months, Iran had learned how to use the stolen American RQ-170 stealth and counter-radar capabilities to upgrade unmanned aircraft of its own.
Indeed, on Sept. 17, a Revolutionary Guards general Seyed Mohsen Kazzemeini boasted that Iran had built a number of stealth aircraft from the seized American RQ-170.