Jun. 24, 2016
- Israel’s Most Decisive Air Force Victory – Uri Milstein
In 1982, the Soviet Union believed that the West lacked the capability to withstand its surface-to-air missile batteries (SAM). But during the First Lebanon War, within two hours on June 9 of that year, the Israel Air Force (IAF) destroyed 15 of 19 SAM batteries in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley while downing 90 Syrian aircraft at the same time. To this day, the details of the operation remain classified. It was perhaps the IDF’s greatest military achievement, maybe even surpassing the opening air strike at the start of the Six-Day War, when Israel practically destroyed the Syrian and Egyptian air forces.
When the First Lebanon War broke out on June 6, the IAF had the intelligence capability to know at any given moment where its targets were located. It also had the capability of disrupting the Syrians’ electronic communications, and could destroy the missile batteries with electro-optic missiles from a distance of 40 km. During the next two days the remaining batteries were destroyed, together with a total of 97 Syrian planes, without even one Israeli aircraft being hit. (Jerusalem Post)