hanit navy warship 298.8.
(photo credit: IDF)
The recent delivery of an advanced Russian-made anti-ship missile to Iran has defense officials concerned it will be transferred to Syria and Hizbullah and used against the Israel Navy in a future conflict.
Called the SSN-X-26 Yakhont, the supersonic cruise missile can be launched from the coast and hit sea-borne targets up to 300 kilometers away. The missile carries a 200-kilogram warhead and flies a meter-and-a-half above sea level, making it extremely difficult to intercept. Its closest Western counterpart is the US-made Tomahawk and Harpoon.
The missile homes in on its target using an advanced radar guidance system that is said to make it resistant to electronic jamming.
The Yakhont is an operational and tactical missile and can be used against both a medium-sized destroyer and an aircraft carrier. It would pose a serious threat to the Israel Navy, according to defense officials.
"This is certainly a threat to the Navy," one defense official said. "There is a real fear that if this missile is in Iran it will also be in Syria and Lebanon."
During the Second Lebanon War, the IDF was surprised when the INS Hanit was struck by a Chinese-made ground-to-sea missile, which was not known to have been in Hizbullah hands. At the time, the IDF suspected Iran had assisted Hizbullah in the attack, which killed four sailors. While officials could not confirm that the missile had reached Syria or Hizbullah, the growing assumption is that any weapons system or missile that can be taken apart and fit into a shipping container can easily be transferred.