Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Electronic Warfare

Debka reports that American Electronic Warfare (EW) experts are flocking to Israel to learn Iran/Hizbolla's electronic tricks.

The American EW experts are interested in four areas. 1. The Israeli EW systems’ failure to block Hizballah’s command and communications and the links between the Lebanese command and the Syria-based Iranian headquarters.
Knocking out command and control is a standard element in American/Israeli war plans. If it can be knocked out it gives the attackers a very big advantage.
2. How Iranian technicians helped Hizballah eavesdrop on Israel’s communications networks and mobile telephones, including Israeli soldiers’ conversations from inside Lebanon.
The most up to date mobile phone systems are supposed to encrypt all communications. Military communication networks are designed to be encrypted. Hizballah's breaking into them is a significant disadvantage for Israel/America. Breaking the codes used on such nets is supposed to be very difficult. So difficult that even if codes can be cracked over time the information becomes tactically useless.
3. How Iranian EW installed in Lebanese army coastal radar stations blocked the Barak anti-missile missiles aboard Israeli warships, allowing Hizballah to hit the Israeli corvette Hanith.
Tactically the answer to this is the destruction of all coastal radars. Which Israel did once the problem was identified. Note also the coastal commando raid which was probably done to snatch the equipment for technical evaluation.
4. Why Israeli EW was unable to jam the military systems at the Iranian embassy in Beirut, which hosted the underground war room out of which Hassan Nasrallah and his top commanders, including Imad Mughniyeh, functioned.
This may be a harder one to figure out, since what is inside the Embassy is not available for evaluation. However, it may be possible to figure this one out from captured equipment. Communications to be truly useful must be two way.
Both intelligence services underestimated the tremendous effort Iran invested in state of the art electronic warfare gadgetry designed to disable American military operations in Iraq and IDF functions in Israel and Lebanon. Israel’s electronic warfare units were taken by surprise by the sophisticated protective mechanisms attached to Hizballah’s communications networks, which were discovered to be connected by optical fibers which are not susceptible to electronic jamming.
Such networks are vulnerable to bombing once the cable routes are mapped out. Repeater stations and routers can also be bombed.

This kind of intense EW got its real start in WW2 and was called the Wizard War. Americans and Israelis are very good at this sort of thing. I'd expect that systems that can be fixed with software will be fixed in weeks. New hardware should be out in a few months.

As I have pointed out, this battle has lead to an Intel Bonanza.Electronic Warfare will not be the only beneficiary. Tactical lessons will be learned as well.

Despite all the EW advantages Hizballah had, they still couldn't keep the Israeli Army from the Litani when it decided to go.

3 comments:

Fares said...

Looking for a good Syrian General

Anonymous said...

The supposed suppression of a ships anti-missile system is a serious matter, especially around the Straits of Hormuz. Is there any confirmation of this capability other than the notoriously unreliable DEBKA?

M. Simon said...

Anon.,

The first confirmation is the effectiveness of the attack.

Most of the early reports said the supression systems had been turned off to avoid an electromagnetic incompatibility. i.e. systems interfering with each other. But you know, it is war, there won't be any reliable information for 20 years.

What ever the problem the US and Israel are working on countermeasures. Furiously.

So it is hard to say.