IAF Commander: Assad acquired advanced anti-aircraft abilities

Archive photo of IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel. Photo: IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson’s Unit

Speaking at a conference, Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel emphasized the threat posed by the Syrian regime, as well as the IAF’s capabilities and preparations

Date: 22/05/2013, 5:53 PM     Author: Iddan Sonsino

IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel addressed a national security conference today, (Wednesday, May 22), discussing Syria’s aerial defense capabilities.

“The Assad regime invested heavily so as to achieve the best possible aerial defense capabilities money can buy,” he said.  Such capabilities are not only an operative threat – they also create a sense that can lead states to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise do. These are weapons of another generation entirely, which are not similar to those of the past. But there is no system for which we don’t have a solution – the question is just the price.”

The Air Force Commander added that “Syria is changing before our eyes. If tomorrow it collapses, we could very quickly find that great arsenal dispersed and directed at us.”

Maj. Gen. Eshel also discussed the conclusions drawn from the 1973 Yom Kippur War, saying that preparation for a surprise war is far more relevant now. “A surprise war could take shape today in many configurations,” he said. “Isolated incidents can escalate very quickly and require us to be prepared in a matter of hours to operate throughout the entire spetrum – and when I say the entire spectrum, I mean to utilize all the capabilities of the Air Force.”

The Commander of the Air Force stressed that “if in the Second Lebanon War we used just a small part of these capabilities, in the next war we will need to give 100 percent, so that our activity will be very fast and powerful.”

Maj. Gen. Eshel also discussed the importance of cooperation with ground forces should the ground forces take part in combat. “The Air Force must level the path for ground forces through extremely powerful bombardment that will reach the ground and make maneuvering much easier and faster,” he said. “We must be a central component in the ground process, and we are very focused on this.”