Navy probe blames faulty intelligence for missile ship hit

The Israeli warship's crew had only twenty seconds in which to identify the threat and respond.

An Israel Navy investigation into last Friday's strike on the missile ship "Hanit" has found that the only fault was the lack of intelligence that Hizbullah had Iranian C-807 missiles. The investigation also found that the actions of the Hanit's crew were based on information supplied by IDF Military Intelligence, and that there was no negligence in applying operational procedures.

The investigation found that at around 8 pm the Iranian-made missile was fired at the missile ship and exploded above it. The explosion and shock wave caused a fire and a hole in the vessel. Four crew were at first reported missing; they were later found dead.

According to the results of the investigation, in the absence of intelligence about anti-ship missiles, no such threat was defined in advance, and the missile ships' systems were deployed in standby mode and not in ready-to-fire mode.

Although the ship's defense systems spotted the incoming Iranian missile, the problem was cognitive. Because of the missile's speed and the short distance of the ship from shore (16 kilometers), and because the crew was unprepared for this kind of threat, the radar and electronic warfare systems operators had only 20 seconds to realize that they were under attack by an enemy missile.

The probe also found that a greater disaster was only narrowly avoided. Hizbullah fired two missiles at the ship. One missile hit and destroyed a Cambodian vessel with an Egyptian crew sailing a few dozen kilometers from the Israeli missile ship. The second missile hit the Israeli warship. Luckily, for unknown reasons, Hizbullah did not fire a third missile. The assessment is that a third missile could have sunk the Israeli ship.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on July 20, 2006

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2006

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