The Israeli navy “has answers” for the supersonic Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missile, which is reportedly finding its way into the hands of Hizbullah terrorists, a former navy chief told The Jerusalem Post.
Described as the most advanced missile now in use, the Yakhont flies at low altitude “right over the sea,” reaching speeds of between Mach 2 and Mach 3, faster than other subsonic speed missiles. The added velocity means that the navy will have between half and a third of the time to respond compared to other threats, said Vice-Admiral (res.) Eliezer Marom.
While he admitted that western military experts know very little about the weapon, Marom said that “Israel has answers for these missiles, and these are being developed all of the time.”
Additionally, with a range of about 200 miles, it can reach every location on the Israeli coast, including gas drilling rigs in the Mediterranean, civilian shipping, and ports.
Marom was not optimistic about the prospects of the IDF interdicting the smuggling of Yakhont components into Lebanon from Syria.
The ability to do so “depends on pinpoint intelligence, and the ability to carry out pinpoint attacks,” Marom said. “There are serious difficulties in this kind of option. In addition to intelligence and military capabilities, it needs a government decision.”