Israeli Sparrow targets trigger ballistic panic

With the situation around Syria and the potential for Western military intervention there keeping things more than a bit tense, Israel and the USA could perhaps have done a little bit more to flag up the fact that they were planning to fire a couple of air-launched targets over the Mediterranean Sea earlier today. Designed to simulate the trajectory of a “Scud” ballistic missile, the Rafael system is seemingly pretty good at that, as Russia’s defence ministry got spooked after detecting unidentified “ballistic objects” in the air.

Following some frantic activity on the Twittersphere, and probably some calls involving red-coloured telephones, it was confirmed that Syria’s main ally had in fact picked up returns from two Sparrow-series targets (Blue Sparrow pictured below, in a Rafael-sourced image), which had been released from an Israeli air force Boeing F-15.

f-15 blue sparrow 560

Our Tel Aviv-based colleague Arie Egozi has filed several stories over the last few months about the plans to use the Sparrow in support of Israel’s development of the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system, and covered today’s incident elsewhere on Flightglobal.

Maybe more people in the region should be checking out his coverage on Flightglobal’s Ariel View blog? It might help to calm their nerves.

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6 Responses to Israeli Sparrow targets trigger ballistic panic

  1. RC 3 September, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    “Israel and the USA could perhaps have done a little bit more to flag up the fact that they were planning to fire a couple of air-launched targets over the Mediterranean”

    Unless, of course, the whole point of the exercise was to spook the Syrians and their Russian friends and/or probe their radars, in which case it’s a full success…

    • Bull 3 September, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

      RC Bingo!

  2. Koz 4 September, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    I agree with RC. When the Russian’s sent their destroyers to the eastern Med, it seemed like a great way to provide Assad with an offshore early warning capability. USA/Israel just did a magnificent job of confirming it.

    • sferrin 9 September, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

      Fat lot of good it would do them.

  3. sferrin 9 September, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    I think the only people in a “panic” were journalists trying to drum up hits.

    • Craig Hoyle 10 September, 2013 at 11:46 am #

      Wow, sferrin – and I thought that journalists were supposed to be the cynical ones!

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