Correct me if I'm wrong but did the IAF fly through it undetected a couple years ago?While the Syrian Air Force isn't much of a threat, the ADA system is,
I'm guessing our pilots have studied that mission to see how the defenses can be exploited to get in and out undetected just like they did.
Of course the Syrians could just decide to move as much target WMD material around as possible, leave the ADA net mostly off-line to avoid losing too much of its heavier elements to radiation-homers, and just absorb the damage, with lots of pictures of the collateral damage and dead civilians the next day (Although so far OUR press has ignored any dead civilians from the 'Wrong side' as thoroughly as they did in Libya, still you can bet the Arabic and Farsi press won't).
I've been removed from ACC for the last 5 years, so I'm not as boned up on this topic as I was back in the day, but I do know that our F-16's are pretty much designed to handle the suppression of air defenses, Russian backed or not. I'd have to imagine that we're in close talks with Israel getting as much info as we can regarding where their defenses are, how they've gotten around them, and best methods to destroy them.
This is if we actually bother sending aircraft in. It's possible that we could just make a $400,000,000 statement with 4 destroyers worth of Tomahawks.
I expect the strike will be just cruise missiles, possibly some of them with refinements beyond GPS like terminal active guidance or radiation homing after hitting a designated GPS release point (Just speculation, I have no actual information on that, but the technical capability certainly exists to field it operationally). I doubt if Obama wants the spectacle that would ensue if we lost any actual aircrew to either air defense or operational mischance, though, particularly if they survived being captured by the people they were trying to kill on the ground - which is always pretty iffy when the bomb-droppers fall into the hands of the targets.
My only other thought on this is that we do have one regional ally who could be a real player in this, and that is the Kurds. Syrian Kurdistan borders Iraqi Kurdistan (which also borders Iranian Kurdistan), and the Kurds are not only our allies, they are also the most effective native fighting force among Muslims. The Syrian Kurds, like their brethren, are Sunni, but not Arab, and they have been viciously suppressed by the Assad regime. Arming them and allowing them to establish their own safe haven would severely weaken Assad and the Muslim Brotherhood/al Qaeda and help stabilize the region. Any thoughts?
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