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Israeli “Radar-Evading” Missiles Target Iran’s S-300 Air Defense Systems Guarding Nuclear Plant in Natanz

According to The New York Times, which cited two senior Western security officials, the launch of three ballistic missiles by Israeli fighter jets was intended to make Iran "think twice" before it retaliates against Israel.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — American media outlets have reported that Israeli fighter jets launched three ballistic missiles at an Iranian airbase’s S-300 air defense systems, which protect its uranium enrichment facilities in Natanz, located near Isfahan Province, a few days ago.

These Israeli-launched ballistic missiles are claimed to be capable of striking targets undetected by Iran’s air defense systems.

According to The New York Times, which cited two senior Western security officials, the ballistic missile attack was intended to make Iran reconsider any potential retaliatory strikes against Israel.

The sources stated that the missiles were meant to signal to Iran that Israeli ballistic missiles can effectively evade and neutralize Iranian air defenses.

The New York Times also quoted senior Iranian officials who acknowledged that the Israeli ballistic missiles targeted the S-300 systems guarding Iran’s nuclear facilities in Natanz.

Israel
Satellite images alleged destruction at the site of Iran’s S-300 air defense system.

 

Western satellite images indicate some damage to these air defense systems, though Iranian authorities have denied such claims.

Israeli media have suggested that satellite imagery shows the S-300 air defense systems at the Shekari Airbase in Isfahan, which oversee the nuclear facilities in Natanz, were damaged by the Israeli missile attack.

However, Iran has denied this, claiming its air defenses did not detect any foreign aircraft or missiles.

The Iranian Foreign Minister downplayed the incident, stating that the Iranian military faced an attack from small quadcopter drones that night, dismissing them as mere “toys for children.”

Tehran also denied any significant explosions resulting from ballistic missile strikes in Isfahan or other crucial locations.

Sparrow

Natanz hosts Iran’s key uranium enrichment facilities, which are central to its nuclear weapon development efforts.

 Located approximately 120 km from Isfahan, Natanz is a primary target for any planned Western strikes to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

 The facility reportedly houses 19,000 centrifuges enabling uranium enrichment to weapons-grade levels.

In addition to above-ground facilities, Iranian authorities have constructed underground uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz, further complicating efforts to destroy them via airstrikes.

Western intelligence only became aware of these enrichment facilities in 2002, leading to heightened scrutiny of the region.

Isfahan
Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz.

 

The claims of a ballistic missile attack by Israel seem plausible, especially after farmers in Iraq found debris believed to be from two Israeli ballistic missiles in the areas of Latifiya and Al-Aziziya, over 100 km from the Iranian border.

 Military observers suggest this debris could be from the “Sparrow” Air Launched Ballistic Missile (ALBM), developed by the Israeli defense firm, Rafale.

Israeli media reports suggest that Israeli F-15 fighter jets launched the “Blue Sparrow” ballistic missiles at Iran while still in Syrian airspace.

The “Sparrow” missile family, developed by Israel’s defense industry, is capable of striking targets up to 2,000 km away and can function both as a target and a stand-off weapon equipped with explosive warheads.

Sparrow missiles have three variants: the short-range Black Arrow, and the mid-range Blue and Silver Arrow versions.

Israel
The debris of “Sparrow” air-launched ballistic missile found by Iraqi farmers.

Israel

Another possible weapon used by Israel may have been Rocks missiles, an air-launched precision missile similar to the Sparrow.

Both are made by Israeli defence tech group Rafael.

Israel originally developed Sparrow missiles to test the effectiveness of its Arrow air defence system, which is used to down incoming ballistic missiles.

 Israel subsequently manufactured a variant with a live warhead. Rocks missiles are a derivative version of the Sparrow.

Before attacking Iran, Israeli fighter jets had targeted Syrian air defense positions to “clear” the area of threats, enabling them to launch ballistic missiles into Iran and return safely to Israel. — DSA

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