DPRK nuclear material nabbed in Syria?

Israelis seized nuclear material in Syrian raid

Some day this is going to make a heck of a movie:

Israeli commandos seized nuclear material of North Korean origin during a daring raid on a secret military site in Syria before Israel bombed it this month, according to informed sources in Washington and Jerusalem.

The attack was launched with American approval on September 6 after Washington was shown evidence the material was nuclear related, the well-placed sources say.

From the UK’s TimesOnline. Take it for what it’s worth.

See also Defense Tech’s What Actually Happened in the Syrian Desert?

Apparently the unstealthy F-15I Israeli aircraft were able to make it into Syria without being shot out of the sky, and some reports indicate that they snuck their way out through Turkey either with permission or without.

I’ve heard that the jamming of the Syrian air defenses was so severe that it shut down civilian comms inside Lebanon for the better part of a day.


  1. My bets on why everybody (Iran, NorK, Syria, Israel) is so mum. The Israelis got themselves some evidence and just maybe some prisoners, too…

  2. Apparently the unstealthy F-15I Israeli aircraft were able to make it into Syria without being shot out of the sky,’ Gads, I hate the stealth propaganda machine. An F-15 is a hard bird to shoot down. Especially with GPS weapons & ECM – at march 1.5 vs short/medium range ground sites, the chances of a successful missile intercept are slim even in the best of conditions. Stealth does not make you invulnerable, and not being stealthy does not make a bird cooling meat…

  3. James: Right you are. When this was first reported, someone I know expressed skepticism that it had happened. I noted that it would hardly be the first time Israeli aircraft struck targets in Syria without air defenses even reacting.

  4. True enough concerning the stealthiness of the F15/16. ‘But’ it’s not just the skill of the aircraft user and the tactics employed………..it’s the skill, training, and tactics of the air defense personnel as well. I’m sure the IAF knew their opponent, and took full advantage any deficiencies or slackness. My first two tours overseas were just outside the small W. Bank town of Jericho. Which is directly in the training flight path (you could tell it was training as the weapon racks were always empty, except on a single occasion) of many IAF exercises. About half of them were low and fast, and involved significant ‘vigorous’ manuvering (sometimes they were so sideways you could easily see the off white/brown camo pattern on top of the aircraft!), the others were medium altitude straight and level flights that were probably formation practice or just transit flights. The single time I saw weapons on the racks, there was a story in the Jerusalem Post the next day about some Hezbollah rocket positions in S. Lebanon getting the good news. Ouch! We also frequently saw IDF helicopters (last half of 2004 up to Arafat’s death, when they tapered off), both Blackhawks and AH64As. The Apaches always had rocket pods and Hellfires on the racks, though I never saw them fire on anything. I saw RPVs twice, both times during significant IDF incursions into the area to ‘ballistically debrief’ or pick up militants the local Palestinian Authorities would not arrest. The incursions involved ground forces of varying mixes (including MI and Shin Bet), what appeared to be C&C and CSAR Blackhawks, and Apaches for mobile fire support. The RPVs were probably around more often than that, but too high to be seen or heard.

  5. You know, this comes back to one of my theories. You take one of those oh so special F-22A raptors and put it up against an F-15E or better (more appropriately the vectored thrust experimental version of the F-15 just to make things even) and I would lay even odds on both planes…maybe better odds on the F-15. The 15 has Proven (in Israel even) that it can lose almost an entire wing in a mid air collision and still make it down safely. Can the 22 do that?

  6. Just to be fair to the F-22. Nobody thought an F-15 could survive losing a wing in flight. As far as I know, only the A-10 has ever been advertised to be able to fly home missing a wing of its flight surfaces. That said, given the F-22’s large flight surfaces and monster engines, assuming it had working hydraulics and its computers did not go to the blue screen of death, its could most likely make it home. There are a lot if’s in that statement and to be honest – I would my house, that if you took 10 F-15’s and clipped their wings in a mid air collision no more then one would make a controlled landing. With respect to the the F-15 vs F-22 fight. As currently configured, the F-15 will almost always lose. Vectored thrust is a neat idea (but there are better ways to improve maneuverability) , a vectored thrust missile will still blow you out of the air. While stealth is not the end all be all, it is a big deal. Now if you equip a F-15 with infrared laser radar system and good chunk of the F-22 stealth advantage goes out the window.

  7. Stealth techniques are greatly overrated. Stealth boats give themselves away from the obvious hole in the ‘soap’, i.e. where there is less radar backscatter from the waves. Similarly, once you realise how stealth techniques for aircraft work, it’s straightforward (not easy) to pick them out using a combination of ground capacitance, infra-red and sound to steer and multi-wavelength radar and separate receivers to pick up the reflections that are carefully being deflected away from the transmitter. It’s a lot harder to set up thgat sort of thing, which is what makes stealth techniques worth having – but they can be broken, with enough effort and preparation.