Almost three months have passed, but it is still not completely clear what happened that evening on September 17, when the Russian Il-20 was shot down. As a result of the crash, several Russians died, and this is a tragedy. True, they investigated it somehow not very deeply. They agreed that Israel was to blame. Representatives of the Ministry of Defense presented what the radar had fixed, some other images. It seemed to be convincing, but certain circumstances blurred, so to speak, the picture. For example, Russian President Vladimir Putin called this incident a “chain of tragic random circumstances.”
It turned out that the Israelis did not intend to make dangerous maneuvers with the aim of putting the Russian plane at risk. All this is an accident, no more. However, the initial behavior of our military was harsh, and one could even say that it was contrary to the tone Putin used when explaining the vision of the situation. So, almost immediately after the crash, it became known about the urgent transfer of S-300 complexes to Syria. These air defense system transferred to the local army, and that it will exploit them after the Russian instructors finished with the training of the Syrians. And in general there were ambitious plans to create a no-fly zone in western Syria, off the coast and even near Cyprus located nearby. And all these promises were confirmed by actions. S-300 really quickly sent and placed where necessary, but in relation to Israel behaved very strictly. And even, as they say, Putin refused Netanyahu to meet, although they had something to talk about. In general, on the one hand, our president was quite tolerant towards the Israeli antics, but on the other – we clearly pointed to the blame for Israel.
True, then, as reported by foreign media, at a meeting in Paris, Putin proposed Netanyahu friendship, and everything seemed to have smoothed out. Since then, the history of the plane forgot a little. Remember about it rarely. Unless they started talking again recently, when suddenly the Arab media started writing about an Israeli fighter allegedly shot down by Syrians.
It is also noteworthy that Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose military shot down the IL-20, practically did not say anything about what had happened. He was silent for several days, and then he expressed condolences and joined the accusations of our Ministry of Defense against Israel. Demonstrated that he agreed. That’s all. But recently he gave an interview to the Omani media that arrived in Syria in connection with the meeting of the Omani Foreign Minister (in Oman, this post is correctly called a little differently: Minister responsible for foreign affairs) Yusuf bin Alavi with Assad.
Of course, the leader of the SAR spoke a lot about good relations with Oman, who always supported his country, despite the separation of different Arab and Muslim countries. However, at some point we started talking about the Russian IL-20. Here Assad was already frank. He stated that there was no chance.
In fact, the Israelis had a goal to put the Russian plane under the attack of the Syrian air defense systems. Intentionally. Moreover, he says that the Russian military are in agreement with this position of the Syrians, and they have a common view on the actions of Israel.
It turns out that his words are somewhat contrary to what Vladimir Putin said. Assad considers this purposeful action, and our president – a tragic accident. However, it can only be a matter of wording.
Russian military expert Alexei Leonkov believes that there is truth in the words of Assad, and the Israelis really had such a goal. Technical details favor this.
“This is really possible, because the Israelis know very well the principles of operation of the C-200 complex.” They studied the details thoroughly and therefore can seamlessly bypass these complexes and not fall under their shelling. Well, except for one case where the C-200 still punished one pilot (talking about the Israeli F-16 shot down in February 2018). Israel acknowledged this incident, so there is no doubt. But the rest of the Israelis are coping with these complex.
Israel acknowledged this incident, so there is no doubt. But the rest of the Israelis cope with these complexes. The fact is that the C-200 is such a complex that has been refined with regard to the jammer. This happened in the 1980s, just at the time of the escalation of the Arab-Israeli conflict. At that time, Israel for the first time used a jammer which was graciously provided by his big brother, the United States of America. And these jammers, of course, disrupted the radar.
– And how did the complexes work before?
– The radar set targets, and the rocket launched to the target and hit it. This is the so-called radio command guidance method. And here, in connection with these jammers, it suddenly became clear that the radar station cannot aim at the target, because it is being jammed with interference. And how to be here? Then came up with a new technology. Worked over the rocket head. And now the rocket can literally start independently in the direction of the target, where it was last fixed, and first of all it selects the brightest signal that comes from the jammer, and destroys it. In the case of the IL-20 – it was a more contrasting target for missiles than the F-16. Therefore, the rocket reacted to it. The Israelis are well aware of this, so they had no doubt that the rocket would choose the IL-20. It should not be forgotten that the Israeli EW plane was flying near the said French frigate, which was not far from the Syrian coast at that time. And I suspect that the F-16, according to which the radar was originally designed, rushed in the direction of the IL-20, so that the Israeli EW aircraft as another interfering provider would not become a priority target. This plane covered the work of Israeli fighters. This concentration of Israeli aircraft in the Syrian sky suggests that this operation was very important for them, and they apparently had to perform it with an absolute guarantee and without loss. And when our plane became visible to the Israelis, they decided to take advantage of this to avoid losses. So it happened.
– So, first of all they just saved themselves, or had a goal to substitute the IL-20? If the IL-20 was not in the sky at that moment, then how would the Israelis move away from the attack?
- Well, they, apparently, had several goals. First, they provoked Syrian air defenses. Probably, they wanted to train the French, who recently began to actively build up their forces in Syria. Released C-200 missiles could fly in the direction of the French frigate, which, in fact, is an anti-aircraft ship, and for him such large missiles are an acceptable target. Well, when the IL-20 appeared, they confused their cards. So they made a decision on the spot, in the air. In addition, I suspect that the equipment of our aircraft was turned on at this moment. This is what made it the main target for the C-200.
– Why was it included?
- IL-20 flew to this in the north, above Idlib. This happened right after the armistice agreement in this governorate. He checked the work of various militant complexes there, after all they have some kind of equipment and conduct at least radio communications. And then he flew out of the zone and was just “shining” in the direction of the whole grouping that participated in this raid. I’m not sure, but I suspect that this is what happened.