Iran is placing guided warheads on its rockets and smuggling them to Hezbollah in Lebanon, a senior Defense Ministry official said Tuesday.
Speaking at the Israel Air and Missile Defense Conference in Herzliya, Col. Aviram Hasson, who is involved in preparing IDF air defenses, said Iran was converting Zilzal unguided rockets into accurate, guided M-600 projectiles by upgrading their warheads.
Hasson, who is in charge of upper-tier missile defenses at HOMA – part of the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure – described Iran as a “train engine that is not stopping for a moment. It is manufacturing new and advanced ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. It is turning unguided rockets that had an accuracy range of kilometers into weapons that are accurate to within meters.”
Hezbollah, he continued, “is getting a lot of accurate weapons from Iran. It is in a very different place compared to the Second Lebanon War in 2006.”
For Israel, the “ultimate defense is a combination of counter-attack, active defenses, and passive defense [civilian compliance with Home Front Command safety instructions],” he argued.
Riki Ellison, founder and chairman of the US Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, also spoke at the conference, which was organized by the iHLS defense website and the Israel Missile Defense Association.
The alliance is a nonprofit organization advocating for the deployment and development of missile defenses.
Ellison said the US always kept at least one warship in the Mediterranean with an Aegis naval missile defense system to ensure that Israel was protected against long-range Iranian ballistic missiles.
“It can stand off the coast and shoot long-shots coming in from Iran,” he said.
The US is keen to see Israel complete its multi-layered blanket of missile defenses, which would enable it to defend against Iranian missiles without the Aegis and thereby free up the US Navy’s ships for deployment elsewhere, he added.
Ellison told the delegates that the US remained firmly committed to Israel’s security, irrespective of recent disagreements between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He added that the US could deploy its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries “if necessary, to come into Israel to support your country’s defense.”
America is “fully supportive” of Israel getting fully capable Arrow 3 and David’s Sling defense systems, Ellison said.