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    Monday, July 24, 2006

    C-802 Hezbollah's devatsating secret weapon - more shots in the locker ?

    A fascinating snippet can be found at Global Security which has received zero coverage in the published discussions of the armoury of Hezbollah. Initial reports of the attack on an Israeli ship suggested a modified drone. However ...

    "Hizballah seriously damaged a Saar 5-class missile ship named the "Spear" that was helping to enforce Israel's blockade of Lebanon on 14 July 2006. One Israeli sailor was killed and three were initially missing after the attack. Israel initially believed that an aerial drone armed with explosives hit the warship, but it became clear that Hizballah had used an Iranian-made C-802 cruise missile to strike the vessel. Another Hizballah radar-guided anti-ship missile hit and sank a nearby Cambodian merchant ship around the time the Spear was struck. Twelve Egyptian sailors were pulled from the water by passing ships."

    The history of the Chinese designed and manufactured C-802 is a fascinating story and the effctiveness of it's use as a land mased missile on nearby craft at sea holds a message of those interested in the security of the Straits of Hormuz where 30% of the world's energy passes every day.

    Reports of the inventory held by Iran vary enormously, but they certainly have at least 15 naval patrol vessels equipped with the missiles and several shore batteries - notably Queshm Island.

    It is little surprise therefore that the US / Israeli forces have put a block on releasing any information about the attack on "Spear".

    “The INS Spear is one of 3 Saar-5 Class warships, larger than a corvette and is one the most advanced warships in Israel's naval arsenal. They were built in Pascagoula, Mississippi, by Northrop-Grumman shipyards, using U.S. military aid funds. (i.e they were given to Israel) The INS Spear entered operational service in 1995. The defense suite of the Saar-5 destroyers is made in its entirety by Israel defense industries. Each vessel displaces approximately 1,300 tons, has a crew of 64, and is capable of independent operations for about 20 days without re-supply. The ships are capable of carrying up to two helicopters, in addition to intelligence and air force personnel.”

    No doubt Hezbollah have a few more surprises in their locker. Certainly when the Iranians put on a show for the US in April, they had to sit up and take notice.

    It is not only cheap T shirts in Wal Mart that bear the label "Made in China" that threaten the well being of the US.


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