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Upgraded Israeli Barak missile intercepts mock-Yakhont anti-ship cruise missile in secret test • Test is part of upgrade of Israel’s naval defenses, which also protect civilian drilling rigs • Syria, Hezbollah believed to possess Yakhont missiles.
The Israeli Navy secretly tested an upgraded anti-missile system designed to protect naval vessels several months ago. The test was crowned a success. The defense system, which uses Barak missiles, was upgraded to confront the growing threat of Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles. The Yakhont missiles pose a threat mainly because of their potential use by Israel’s neighbors. Russia has been supplying Syria with Yakhont missiles since 2010. Hezbollah, in southern Lebanon, is also believed to possess these shore-based missiles.
The test was conducted as part of a general overhaul of the navy’s defense systems, which also provide protection for offshore drilling rigs. Not all the details of the test were released, but according to the military, the exercise involved a mock-Yakhont missile fired from sea, which was successfully intercepted by the Israeli Barak missile, fired from an Israeli Navy missile boat.
The Israel Defense Forces have been upgrading the Barak system for years. According to defense officials, the advancing enemy technology requires Israel to constantly upgrade its defenses. IDF officials confirmed that the success of the latest test ensures maximum protection from the threat of these cruise missiles. The officials further remarked that the naval defense system is modeled after the Iron Dome rocket defense system, which has successfully protected most of the Israeli homefront from projectiles fired from Gaza.
They added that the latest upgrade was in the system’s ability to identify projectiles fires at ships. The Israeli defense system was developed by Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries. The mock-Yakhont missile used in the test was developed by an Italian company.