Israel’s enemies are upgrading their arsenals with precision-guided rockets and missiles that could overwhelm current defenses and wreak massive destruction, The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.
Dr. Uzi Rubin, who founded and first directed the Ministry of Defense’s Israel Missile Defense Organization, and ran the Arrow program, gave a harrowing assessment of the growing threat at a conference at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv.
Rubin warned of precision-guided heavy rockets and ultimately GPS-guided ballistic missiles in the hands of Iran, Syria and Hizbullah.
“Iran possess over 400 ballistic missiles that can reach Israel, with warheads of 750 kilograms. Syria possesses 200 to 300” such missiles, having expended part of its arsenal in its civil war, he added.
There are thousands of Syria and Hizbullah heavy rockets, and tens of thousands of light rockets, Rubin said.
“That’s the bad news. The worse news is that these rockets are being turned into smart rockets. The Iranians took the Zilzal 2 and turned it into a guided rocket. The third generation of it contains a homing censor and a GPS. The Syrians can have this capability too, to create a fully guided M-600 rocket with GPS. Hizbullah probably has these.”
Displaying a photograph of Tel Aviv and the Ministry
of Defense/IDF General Headquarters site at the Kirya, Rubin said that one M-600 strike could level half of the area.
“That would change the skyline of Tel Aviv. This is not a tactical threat, it’s not harassment. This is a strategic threat. Even worse news is coming; ballistic missiles are becoming smart,” he added.
An aerial assault of this type could “degrade the IDF’s ground capabilities,” Rubin warned, by accurately targeting army mobilizations and staging grounds.
“It can paralyze Israel’s war economy. And of course, it can inflict massive casualties. I’m not talking about Dresden, but Coventry, perhaps,” he said, referring to a British city devasted by Luftwaffe bombing in World War II.
In such a scenario, the IDF will have to divert missile defense from the general population to military sites to “preserve Israel’s capability to fight a war, and save lives as far as possible. Priorities will inevitably change.”
On the bright side, he did say that existing Israeli defenses can intercept incoming nuclear or conventionally-armed missiles.