U.S. dominates skies: thwarts Iran’s assault on Israel; Israel strikes back today

Following Iran’s attack, it’s reported that President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “Israel really came out far ahead in this exchange.” He also cautioned about the “risks of escalation,” implying that the situation had already intensified.

Three sources confirmed that Israel launched an attack on Iran today, according to Iranian state media which reported that its forces had downed drones early Friday. This comes days after Iran carried out a drone strike on Israel as retaliation. One source informed Reuters that the U.S. had prior knowledge of the attack but was not involved.

“Israel Launches Attack Today: Regional Instability Intensifies”

Israel launched attacks on Iran, causing explosions in Tehran, Isfahan, and Shiraz, according to reports from local media.

There were also reports of explosions in Syria and Iraq. Near Isfahan’s airport and the 8th Army Air Force Base, an explosion occurred, reported Iran’s Fars news agency.

Meanwhile, Iranian air defense was active over Isfahan, with Mehr News Agency releasing a video showing the defense efforts. Flights over Tehran, Isfahan, and Shiraz were temporarily suspended by the Iranian authorities.

According to Iran’s state news agency IRIB, air defense systems across several Iranian provinces were activated on Friday to respond to incoming small drones.

The loud explosions heard in these areas were due to the air defenses intercepting these drones. Several drones were reportedly shot down over the central province of Isfahan.

In related news, the Iranian news agency IRNA reported that air defense systems were triggered in multiple provinces due to the presence of unidentified flying objects. Specifically, in northwestern Iran, defenses were activated following the sighting of an unknown object, leading to explosions west of Tebriz and near Vadi-e Rahmat, with Tebriz’s air defenses engaging the object.

The report confirmed that there were no explosions and everything is calm in Tebriz. The Israeli Defense Forces chose not to comment on matters related to Iran, according to CNN. Recently, tensions in the Middle East increased when Israel attacked the consular section of the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria. This attack destroyed the building and resulted in the deaths of seven members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, two of whom were generals.

U.S. Leads Defense, Thwarts Iran’s Attack on Israel”

According to The Intercept, the United States successfully intercepted a greater number of drones and missiles compared to Israel during Iran’s attack on Saturday night.

Over half of Iran’s weapons were destroyed by U.S. aircraft and missiles even before they could reach Israel. This event can be seen as a significant achievement for the U.S. military, as they led a multinational air defense operation and deployed American fighter jets.

The American public is unaware of the full scale of the U.S. military operation, but on Saturday  13th April 2024, the Pentagon organized a broad defense effort involving multiple nations and spanning from northern Iraq to the southern Persian Gulf.

During the operation, the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Jordan collectively intercepted most of the Iranian drones and missiles. Interestingly, the specific location from where U.S. aircraft were deployed has not been officially disclosed, and this detail has also been overlooked by the mainstream media.

Moreover, the involvement of Saudi Arabia remains uncertain, both in terms of serving as a base for U.S. operations and any potential actions taken by the Saudi military.

When assessing the scale of Iran’s attack and the significant contribution of the United States, military sources from the U.S. indicate that the initial assessment suggests that approximately half of Iran’s weapons encountered various technical issues or failures.

According to a senior officer from the U.S. Air Force who spoke with The Intercept media, U.S. intelligence assessments suggest that around half of the weapons fired by Iran either failed during launch or while in flight due to technical problems. Out of the remaining approximate number of 160 , the majority were intercepted and shot down by the United States, as disclosed by the anonymous officer who was authorized to discuss sensitive operational details.

According to The Intercept media outlet, when asked about the United States shooting down a significant number of Iran’s drones and missiles, both the Israel Defense Forces and the White House National Security Council did not provide a response. The Pentagon directed The Intercept to U.S. Central Command, which referred to a press release stating that CENTCOM forces, with support from U.S. European Command destroyers, successfully engaged and destroyed more than 80 one-way attack drones and at least six ballistic missiles. These attacks were intended to target Israel from Iran and Yemen.

CENTCOM stands for United States Central Command. It is one of the geographic combatant commands of the U.S. Department of Defense. CENTCOM is responsible for overseeing military operations and security in the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of South Asia.

Israel claims that Iran launched over 330 drones, low-flying cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles. This includes around 30 Paveh-type cruise missiles, approximately 180 Shahed drones, and 120 Emad intermediate-range ballistic missiles, along with other weapon types. According to Israel, all of these drones and cruise missiles were launched from Iranian territory. The IDF data also suggests that some additional missiles were fired from within Yemen.

According to IDF spokesperson Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli Air Force intercepted about 25 cruise missiles outside of Israel’s borders, likely over Jordan. None of these missiles entered Israeli airspace.

Israel claims it shot down most of the Iranian “cruise missiles,” but this might be overstated. U.S. military sources and initial reports indicate that U.S. and allied planes actually took down most of the drones and missiles. U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also mentioned that Royal Air Force Typhoons intercepted several Iranian weapons over Iraqi and Syrian airspace.

The Jordanian government suggested that its planes have also shot down some Iranian weapons. Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, stated in an interview on the Al-Mamlaka news channel, “”We will shoot down any drone or missile that enters Jordan’s airspace to prevent any danger. We are fully prepared to address any threat to our nation and its citizens with all our strength and resources.”

French jets also took down several drones and potentially some cruise missiles.

U.S. military sources report that American aircraft destroyed over 80 Iranian weapons. President Joe Biden praised the members of two F-15E Strike Eagle squadrons for their excellent flying skills and their role in protecting Israel from a major aerial assault by Iran.Two F-15 squadrons are stationed in the Middle East. The 494th Fighter Squadron from Royal Air Force Lakenheath in the UK, and the 335th Fighter Squadron from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina, have at least half of their planes at Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan.

According to the Pentagon, two U.S. warships in the Mediterranean, the USS Carney and the USS Arleigh Burke, shot down at least six ballistic missiles. Reports from The War Zone suggest this may be the first combat use of Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) interceptors by these ships. Additionally, a U.S. Army Patriot missile system in Erbil, Iraq, destroyed at least one ballistic missile. Pieces of an Iranian missile were found near Erbil and in a remote area outside Najaf province.

Iran’s assault is the first direct attack by a country on Israel since 1991. Facing great distances, Iran used many decoys and swarm strategies to try to overcome air defenses in the Middle East. Despite these efforts, two military sites in Israel were hit, including Nevatim Air Base.The IDF reports that five missiles struck Nevatim Air Base and four hit another military base. Although only a few missiles actually landed, the sight of hundreds of rockets flying through the night skies over Syria, Iraq, and Iran was enough to satisfy Tehran with its display of strength.

Mohammad Bagheri, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, stated over the weekend that Iran has met all its objectives and considers the operation complete, with no plans to continue. However, he warned that if Israel or its allies act carelessly, they will face a much tougher response.

Lt. Gen. Alexus G. Grynkewich, the air commander of CENTCOM, coordinated the operation from the Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. After the attack by Iran, he explained to Air & Space Forces Magazine that they use whatever resources are available in the area, whether under direct control or supporting roles, to integrate them effectively. This coordination helps synchronize defensive actions and responses during air defense situations.”We are working to bring together regional partners who view the threat similarly and are concerned about regional stability, primarily threatened by Iran’s numerous ballistic missiles,” explained the official. “Our aim is to share information and warnings about threats. Ultimately, we want to achieve deeper and more complete integration. We’ve already made significant progress.”

Following Iran’s attack, it’s reported that President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “Israel really came out far ahead in this exchange.” He also cautioned about the “risks of escalation,” implying that the situation had already intensified.

(The author Girish Linganna of this article is a Defence, Aerospace & Political Analyst based in Bengaluru. He is also Director of ADD Engineering Components, India, Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of ADD Engineering GmbH, Germany. You can reach out to him at: [email protected])

(Views expressed in the article are of author’s own and do not reflect the editorial stance of Business Upturn)