Belmont Club

The Flight of the Sparrow

No sooner had Russia announced the sailing of the SSV-201 intelligence ship Priazovye from Sevastopol towards the Eastern Med “on Sunday evening” than Israel claimed “it carried out a ‘joint’ US missile launch in the Mediterranean, having earlier claimed ignorance.”

Israel’s Missile Defense Organization and the US Missile Defense Agency officials conducted the flight test. The main contractor for the integration and development of the Sparrow is Rafael and the main contractor of the Arrow Weapon System is MLM of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in conjunction with Boeing,”

The flight of the Sparrow became a world mystery object for a few hours last night until it’s provenance was acknowledged by Israel and the United States.  The alleged “missile” — the Rafael Sparrow — is a target designed to simulate the trajectories of ballistic missiles Israel might face in an actual war.

Black Sparrow simulates unitary short-range theater Ballistic Missiles such as the SCUD-B. It has performed very successfully in a series of fly-out and interception test missions where various trajectories and re-entry maneuvers, were carried out.

Blue and Silver Sparrow simulates unitary and separable medium to long-range theaters such as SCUD-C/D, Shihab and others. Both targets use the same RV, incorporating a redundant Autonomous Flight Termination System and a 3-axis Attitude Control System. Blue Sparrow performed flawlessly in all its missions so far.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the test was scheduled to finish before the Priazovye could arrive on the scene and pick up telemetry and data. The ship, a Vishnya-class elint ship, reports to the Russian brass.

The source said that the ship would not be a formal part of the group of warships from the Russian Navy currently in the region and would be reporting directly to the general staff in Moscow.

A source in the general staff had told Interfax last week that Russia wanted to receive the maximum information about the possible military action in the interests of Russian state security.

“We intend … to thoroughly analyze the tactics of the protagonists in a possible conflict,” a general staff source told the news agency.

That last sentence is curiously anachronistic. The strike on Syria, which the Western news media built up to have taken place last weekend, would have been started or even completed before the Priazovye sailed from Sevastopol. The Russians must have been aware beforehand that Obama would cancel the weekend strike for its departure date to make any sense in that regard.

Similarly, the Sparrow’s test timing is itself curious. The Sparrow — if that is what it was — is a defensive test target designed to simulate incoming Iranian and Syrian missiles. Logically these exercises would have been scheduled before any planned punitive raid on Syria.  And — assuming the attack was really ‘on’ for last weekend, the test was unlikely to have been slotted for its immediate aftermath, when operations may still have been ongoing and tensions at a fever pitch.

Taken together these events are suggestive of a larger background that has not been fully explored in the media. The planned attack on Syria could not have been solely about Assad’s use of chemical weapons any more than the attack on the Libya consulate was about a video produced in LA. It was a prelude to or part of something else. Just what is not at this point clear. If so, then the collapse of Obama’s plan as exemplified by its rejection in the British House of Commons implies a far greater strategic setback than the public is being told.

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Really? Are they smoking something?  Or is the whole thing a cover for something else?

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