DreamHost

Israeli Submarine Nails Russian-Made Anti-Ship Missiles in Syria

A Dolphin-class submarine with the Israeli Sea Corps destroyed 50 Russian-made anti-ship missiles in the Syrian Port of Latakia.  Said to have been coordinated with the Obama administration, the attack occurred Friday 5 July but was not reported until Friday 12 July when CNN mistakenly called it an airstrike. Rebel descriptions of the explosions in the port suggested multiple secondary detonations of missile warheads.

An Israeli Sea Corps DOLPHIN-class submarine surfaces in the eastern Med near a boxship suspected of running the Gaza blockade.  (Photo Courtesy of the IDF.)

An Israeli Sea Corps DOLPHIN-class submarine surfaces in the eastern Med near a boxship suspected of running the Gaza blockade. (Photo Courtesy of the IDF.)

The diesel-electric boat probably did the deed with a salvo of 4 “Popeye Turbo” land attack missiles, the submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) variant with a 200-mile range.   The Israeli defense firm Rafael developed  Popeye  when the Clinton administration refused to sell Israel BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles.

The Israeli Sea Corps’ targets were advanced Yakhont (“Ruby”) anti-ship missiles (NATO designation SS-N-26 “Super Sunburn”).  Their speed, surface-skimming terminal profile and the saturation tactic of firing a salvo of two or more at once  makes the SS-N-26 a serious threat to the U.S. Sixth Fleet and allied navies.  With their 180-mile range, Super Sunburns can also strike Israeli gas rigs in the eastern Med and warships moored in the Port of Haifa, a major naval training center and home to Israel’s Missile Boats Flotilla and Submarine Flotilla.

The Yakhonts targeted were  variants designed for launch from K-300P Bastion-P Anti-Ship Coastal Defense Systems and were likely poised for transfer to Hezbollah, a red line for Israel, the crossing of which consistently triggers action by the Israel military.

• The Take-Away:  Putin Keeps Obama in Check.  The submarine attack on Russian missiles in Syria must be seen in the context of Israel’s no-nonsense enforcement of red lines and Washington’s bungled, nonsensical policy toward Syria and the Middle East generally.  A third, equally dark template is the administration’s gross misperception of Vladimir Putin and failure to read his commitment to weakening the U.S. and waging a new Cold War as the Joseph Stalin of today.

The only active carrier in the Russian Navy, ADMIRAL KUZNETSOV is no stranger to the Mediterranean, having patrolled there many times since the Syrian crisis began.  She is designated an “aircraft-carrying heavy cruiser,” because she has a considerable anti-ship missile capability more akin to the “rocket cruisers” of the Soviet Navy.  (Unmarked photo from a Russian military forum.)

The only active carrier in the Russian Navy, ADMIRAL KUZNETSOV is no stranger to the Mediterranean, having patrolled there many times since the Syrian crisis began.  (Unmarked photo from a Russian military forum.)

The first Bastion/Yakhont shipment was Vladimir Putin’s opening move in his sweeping diplomatic outmaneuver of the Obama White House that began in earnest in June 2012.  At the G20 summit in Mexico,  President Obama tried to “press Putin on Syria” in a “critical showdown,” but it was another diplomatic failure.  The Russian president doubled-down on his support of dictator Bashar Al-Assad – first by dispatching warships and “naval infantry” to the Russian base in the Port of Tartous, second by showering the brutal dictator with more weapons.

The Moscow Times was unusually specific in detailing the weapons Putin was sending Assad – not just the Bastion/Yakhont ship killers, but the SA-17 Grizzly and SA-22 Greyhound surface-to-air missile systems to pressure the U.S. and NATO to abandon any notion of a No-Fly Zone.

At least Israel speaks with clarity.  Israel neither confirmed nor denied the 5 July attack. Instead, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said last Tuesday that Israel has “established red lines regarding our interests, and we maintain them.”  It doesn’t take a Russian rocket scientist to grasp his meaning.

And it didn’t take the Kremlin long to understand and respond.  On Saturday 13 July, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced a massive, no-notice military exercise, the “most ambitious … readiness test” in the post-Soviet era.  It will involve the Central and Eastern Military Districts (two-third of the country), the Russian Air Force, 80,000 troops and 70 warships, most of its Navy.

Putin’s maneuvers have effectively kept the Obama White House in check for more than a year.  With the suddenly announced “readiness test,” Putin may just be ready to use the word “checkmate.”

Did Life Imitate Art?  Location:  Waters Off Tartous, Syria.  Date:  August 2008. In the 2004 film Spartan starring Val Kilmer, actor Derek Luke portrays a special operator named Curtis (above) qualifying for special duty.  As the duo closes in on the truth about a kidnapping ring, Curtis is killed on a beach by a sniper shooting from a yacht just offshore.  After the shooting, the boat sped away.  Spartan was enormously popular in Israel, as this movie poster in Hebrew suggests.  Four years after that film was released and 11 months after Israel’s attack on the Kibar nuclear facility in Syria, GEN Mohammed Suleiman, the man in charge of Kibar, was taking a swim at a beach resort near Tartous.  Ringed with airport levels of security, Suleiman and his bodyguards paid no attention to a boat motoring slowly toward shore.  In seconds, Suleiman was shot dead by snipers on the boat using suppressed weapons.  As in the movie, the boat sped away.  (Image shown is the property of Warner Bros. Entertainment and used in accordance with fair use doctrine to describe real-life historic events prompted by the work.)

Did Life Imitate Art? Location: Waters Off Tartous, Syria. Date: August 2008. In the 2004 film Spartan starring Val Kilmer, actor Derek Luke portrays a special operator named Curtis (above) qualifying for special duty. As the duo closes in on the truth about a kidnapping ring, Curtis is killed on a beach by a sniper shooting from a yacht just offshore. After the shooting, the boat sped away. Spartan was enormously popular in Israel, as this movie poster in Hebrew suggests. Four years after that film was released and 11 months after Israel’s attack on the Kibar nuclear facility in Syria, GEN Mohammed Suleiman, the man in charge of Kibar, was taking a swim at a beach resort near Tartous. Ringed with airport levels of security, Suleiman and his bodyguards paid no attention to a boat motoring slowly toward shore. In seconds, Suleiman was shot dead by snipers on the boat using suppressed weapons. As in the movie, the boat sped away. (Image shown is the property of Warner Bros. Entertainment and used in accordance with fair use doctrine to describe real-life historic events prompted by the work.)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Listen to internet radio with The Brenner Brief on BlogTalkRadio

About the Author

Tom Wyld

- A former Navy Commander, Tom Wyld has served since 2008 as intelligence director for a private security firm specializing in training and operational support of U.S. Navy SEALs. Prior assignments include Communications Coordinator, Swift Boat Veterans & POWs for Truth, and Chief of Staff and PR Director for the Institute for Legislative Action, the lobbying and political arm of NRA.

Displaying 1 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Janna Brock Janna Brock says:

    Thanks Tom for writing this. This is absolutely critical and something we all should be keeping a close eye on. Great analysis.

Leave a comment

You must be Logged in to post comment.

Get To Know This Author

Tom Wyld

Homepage
Tom Wyld
A former Navy Commander, Tom Wyld has served since 2008 as intelligence director for a private security firm specializing in training and operational support of U.S. Navy SEALs. Prior assignments include Communications Coordinator, Swift Boat ... Read the full profile...