Don't Blame the Ship
10:55 AM, Jan 11, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
One of the most worrisome developments of last summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah was the death of four Israeli sailors aboard the INS Hanit, one of the Israel's three Sa'ar 5 class missile ships which are the most advanced in the Israeli fleet. The sailors were killed when an Iranian version of the Chinese made C-802 anti-ship cruise missile struck their ship.
News of the attack was quickly disseminated by Hezbollah's television station Al Manar, and the world was left to wonder if Israel's vaunted military was, in fact, quite vulnerable to Iran's increasingly sophisticated missile systems. Well, it turns out that the failure was not the ship's, but the crew's.
Defense News reported this week on an Israeli investigation into the attack. It seems that the Israelis can fault an "electronic warfare systems officer, who switched active defense systems into standbye mode without informing the ship's commander." The INS Hanit was armed with the Israeli-made Barak ship point missile defense system, seen below, which, according to DN, has "demonstrated an intercept capability of more than 95 percent in thousands of simulation and dozens of live-fire tests in Israel and abroad."
So, although the attack on the Hanit remains the most embarassing of the IDF's many mistakes this past summer, the threat from Iranian cruise missiles is clearly less significant than it seemed at the time. Hopefully the U.S. Navy has learned from the mistakes of the IDF.