posted 6-7-2001 02:42
JDW, by Zoran Kusovac (Zagreb) and Steve Rodan (Tel Aviv)
"The Israel Air Force (IAF) [sic, if, then IDF/AF] has announced that it has developed a countermeasures system to
the Almaz S-300 (NATO reporting name: 'Grumble') surface-to-air missile system in an effort to confront the
prospect that its neighbours will obtain the advanced Russian air-defence system.
A senior Israeli defence source said state-owned companies such as Israel Military Industries (IMI) and the Rafael
Armament Development Authority have developed ways to disrupt or deceive the S-300 system. IMI has developed
the Improved Tactical Air-Launched Decoy (ITALD), which is designed to deceive the S-300's radar.
Israeli defence sources said Israel acquired subsystems of the S-300 in 1998 from Croatia, which included the
radar, missiles and other components. The IAF would not disclose the exact variant of the S-300, nor would it
confirm details of the S-300 transfer. However, senior IAF officials said that the air force has been preparing for
the prospect that such countries as Egypt, Syria or Iran would obtain the system.
"The Israel Air Force began to prepare for the S-300 in the mid-1990s," a senior air force source told Jane's
Defence Weekly. "Delegates visited S-300 sites in Russia and other countries to learn about the system."
However, the origins of the IAF's acquisition of the S-300 system remain unclear. JDW sources believe claims that
Croatia might have exported parts of the S-300 missile system to Israel, or at least allowed Israeli experts to
familiarise themselves with it on-site in Croatia, may be unfounded.
The Croatian Army (HV) acquired an incomplete S-300 system in the final stages of the 1991-95 war for
independence from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, during which time it was subject to an international arms
import embargo. On 10 August 1994 a cargo aircraft brought eight containers of equipment from an undisclosed
country, followed by three further shipments in August, September and December of that year, although the HV
never had a fully-operational system.
Croatia appears to have received the following components of the system: two launchers with missiles and reload
missiles - a total of 24 missiles - and various auxiliary equipment such as the testing and maintenance station,
compressors, cranes and a complete set of technical documentation. However, the crucial components of the
system, such as the NVO-76N6 low-altitude radar, ST-68UM surveillance radar and the 30N6 command and control
station were never delivered. The components in the possession of the HV were stored in military warehouses at
Pula and Kanjiza.
Croatian sources confirm that Israeli experts toured the warehouses, but the Ministry of Defence (MoD) denied that
any missiles were ever transported out of Croatia. However, some sources in Croatia familiar with arms acquisition
deals during the UN embargo suggest that Israel may have been involved in the original purchase of the system in
An official inquiry investigating the alleged misappropriations by Gen Vladimir Zagorac, former HV Head of
Procurement, indicated that the S-300 components were purchased through an Israeli company Nevada Trade from
an owner listed as Winsley Finance.
A source suggests that an S-300 system was delivered to Israel, but that key components such as observation
and guidance radars and the control unit were retained by Israel, while Croatia received the missiles, which on their
own, have no military value."