Radar joins IAF mother of all bases
The X-band has arrived, along with a large contingent of US personnel in what will be a fully enclosed mini US base complete with PAC-3 air defense. The additon of the X-Band gives a few more minutes lead time for the Hetz / Arrow 2 in Shahab & scud interceptions pushing them out beyond Israel itself and into neighboring atmospheres, extending Israel’s own Green Pine radar system which is welcome.
The x-band radar itself while certainly useful is eclipsed by the second detail, the global network it is hooked up to known as JTAGS which is the US global satellite / radar system for Ballistic Missile launch detection, and ground / strike targeting of related assets. The X-band and ground control station is deployed at the IAF’s new superbase in Nevatim. The IDF facility is about a month old and will house the bulk of the IAF going forward, including strike fighters & transports. It’s quite a consolidation into the heart of the Negev desert featuring some of Israel’s latest & longest air strips, as evidenced by the monstrous C5 Galaxies that brought the US gear and support personnel this week.
Strike prevention? Not so quick there Tanto..
The popular interpretation of the Xband arrival is that it prevents Israel from striking without US permission, that there was some form of quid pro quo given on its delivery. Of course this is nonsense on numerous levels. Firstly Israel would never agree to place its defense solely in the hands of another country USA or not, the notion is absurd. The xband is a bolster to Israel’s missile defense, it is not the end all by far in Israeli defense. It is truly ludicrous to suggest Israel needs permission to carry out its own self defense. The man most responsible for getting the system into Israel and ramping US House support, Congressman Mark Kirk agrees. When asked about this allegation floated in the media primarily by those opposed to strikes this was his response..
[...] “There is no quid pro quo,” he said.
“You mean that the US did not say that in exchange for deploying the X-Band system Israel needs to receive US permission to attack Iran?”
“No, the US made no such demand,” Kirk said.
“The basic idea is that a US ally getting nuked is a bad thing. The X-Band system increases the likelihood that such an attack would fail,” he continued.
Moreover, far from sending a message that the US would work to block an Israeli preemptive attack against Iran, Kirk argued that the deployment of the X-Band system manned by a US crew “will send a message to Iran, that Israel has powerful political support from its ally against any Iranian threat.”
Kirk also argued that the US will support a decision by Israel’s government to attack Iran. As he put it, “If the Israeli government makes the difficult decision [that it must launch a preemptive attack against Iran], that is when Israel will need its allies the most. And that is when the US will be called in to show what it means to have us as an ally.” [...]
History is not on the side of absurdity either
Israel has through historical precedent acted with a US red light, and no light previously. The six day war was totally opposed by the US as a pre-emptive strike, as reported famously from the era. The Osirak Iraqi reactor strike was a surprise to the Reagan administration which opposed the effort (miss ya Gipper), and even the recent Syrian reactor strike was carried out without full blessing according to reports. Not too mention the Lebanon war II which had US support but which rolled far too quickly to suggest any massive US Israeli coordination and quickly devolved to full scale war. If anything Israel seems to chart its own course more often than not. I would chalk this up as yet another wishful dream for those opposing Iranian strikes as a last resort to a nuclear Iran.
Everything a strike package needs in one convenient spot
As mentioned, Nevatim is the new IAF / IDF superbase, the new command center for Israel’s air force. Now it also houses a US mini base on site as well the 1st of its kind – a Joint Tactical Ground Station. The system ties all US sat, radar and sensor information together in order to paint a real time view of the full war theatre. Useful for spotting & tracking incoming missiles, but also the system used to direct offensive forces on precision strikes, guiding fighters to targets in real time (right to the cockpit as necessary) to take out defenses & missile launchers.
That could be handy indeed it seems not just to report and intercept incoming missiles, but to pre-empt them as well before they launch via strikes. If anything the xband arrival spells coordination, between Israel and US assets in the Gulf, Med, & Red Sea, tying in the US Aegis ABM & THAAD systems across the theatre. This was done to bolster Israel’s strengths and defenses, not tie its hands.