Could any other country withstand a strike like Iran's? Why the onslaught on Israel is a future war wake-up call (2024)

Over five hours of missile and drone strikes on Saturday night, Iran launched an attack on Israel unlike anything the world has seen.

The skies were alight, sirens blared and fighter jets roared as waves of strikes were launched towards Israeli territory.

But despitemore than 300 munitions being fired in Iran's unprecedented blitz, Israel says more than "99 per cent" were intercepted.

The minimal damage was being attributed to Israel's multi-layered defence systems and a "coalition" of allies that came together for the first time to counter Tehran's attack.

Analysts say it's unlikely any other country could have withstood such an onslaught, and the attack is a lesson in how to prepare for future conflicts.

Could any other country withstand a strike like Iran's? Why the onslaught on Israel is a future war wake-up call (1)

Only one direct target hit

Last week,the US warned Tehran was planning a "significant attack"in response to several Iranian military leaders being killed at the start of April in an air strike – believed to have been launched by Israel –on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria.

And late on Saturday night, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) launched its first-ever direct attack on Israel fromits territory.

The Israeli military said hundreds of drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles were fired by Iran.

But the majority were intercepted while travelling the more than1,770 km to Israel.

US officials said Iran's intent was to "destroy and cause casualties" and that if successful, the strikes would have caused an "uncontrollable" escalation.

At one point, at least 100 ballistic missiles were in the air with just minutes of flight time to Israel, the officials said.

Could any other country withstand a strike like Iran's? Why the onslaught on Israel is a future war wake-up call (2)

Just a few missiles made it through defences and the only damage was reported at the Nevatim air force base in southern Israel's Negev desert.

It was reported to be "lightly hit" and the Israeli military spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said the base was "still functioning".

The only serious injury reported withinIsraelwas a seven-year-old who was hurt by shrapnel.

Most of the attacks were launched from Iranian territory, but the Pentagon said US forces intercepted "dozens of missiles" and drones from Iraq, Syria and Yemen that were headed toward Israel.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah group in Lebanon said it had fired two barrages of rockets at an Israeli military base in the annexed Golan Heights.

Iranian forces also operate in Syria and Iran is allied with militant groups in Iraq and Yemen.

How were the strikes intercepted?

Israel's multi-layered air defence capabilitieswere readied for the attacks, and they managed to shoot down most of the projectileswith help from the US, Britain, France and Jordan.

Israel's air defences are made up of three key systems that the US has been helping to develop, providing $US3.4 billion ($5.2 billion) in funding since 2009.

  • Iron Dome:Intercepts short-range surface-to-surface rockets (bottom layer)
  • David's Sling:Intercepts short to medium, and medium to long range surface-to-surface missiles (middle layer)
  • Arrow-2 and 3:Intercepts medium to long range, and long-rangemissiles (upper layer)

Loading...

Malcolm Davis, senior analyst in defence capability at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), said Israel has the mostsophisticated integrated air and missile defence systems in the world.

The US comes close, but it doesn't have anything comparable to Israel's Iron Dome, he said.

Director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) Moshe Patel told politico that 40 years of investment in Israel's Star Wars missile defence program had paid off.

"All of the defence systems proved themselves well," he said.

Iron Dome

Israel's Iron Dome has been described as one of the most effective air defence systems on the planet.

It was designed to respond to short-range threats from Gaza and southern Lebanon, and has intercepted thousands of rockets since it became operational in 2011.

Israel has 10 Iron Dome batteries deployed around the country.

They are equipped with a radar that detects rockets and uses a command-and-control system and its own interceptors to quickly thwart threats.

It canprovide city-sized coverage against rockets with ranges of between 4 and 70 kilometres, according to the Israel Defense Force (IDF).

Could any other country withstand a strike like Iran's? Why the onslaught on Israel is a future war wake-up call (3)

David's Sling

Developed with the US, David's Sling is meant to intercept medium-range missiles, such as those possessed by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

It is designed toshoot down rockets fired from 100km to 200km away.

It was first successfully deployed in May 2023 during cross-border fighting with Gaza militants.

Could any other country withstand a strike like Iran's? Why the onslaught on Israel is a future war wake-up call (4)

The Arrow

The long-range Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 system, developed by Israel with an Iranian missile threat in mind, is designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside the Earth's atmosphere, using a detachable warhead that collides with the target.

On October 31, Israel's military said it had used the Arrow aerial defence system for the first time since the October 7 outbreak of the war with Hamas to intercept a surface-to-surface missile in the Red Sea fired towards its territory.

Israel helped by how the attack unfolded

Dr Davis says what was seen from Iran was "something entirely new".

"Certainly this is one of the largest attacks we've seen involving ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and also drones," he told the ABC.

He said the sophistication of Israel's air defence systems played a major role in stopping the barrage from reaching targets, but how the attacked played out also gave them an advantage.

Iran was expected to launch drones first — the slowest of the weapons— followed by the cruise missiles, then the ballistic missiles last.

This would have meant they were timed to reach Israelsimultaneously and overwhelm air defence systems, Dr Davis said.

"What actually happened was that the Iranians launched the ballistic missiles quite early in the piece," he said.

"And because they're a lot faster, it allowed the US the UK, France, as well as the Israelis, to attack each component of that attack sequentially, rather than having to deal with it simultaneously."

He said it could be argued this was due to Iran's "incompetence" but it seemed more likely to be a deliberate decision, to give Israel less justification to retaliate.

But if that was the strategy, it didn't work.

On late Monday local time, the Israeli military said the attack "will be met with a response".

Could any other country withstand a strike like Iran's? Why the onslaught on Israel is a future war wake-up call (5)

International coalition played a 'crucial' role

Israeli leaders credited a "strong fighting" international military coalition led by the US for its ability tothwart the Iranian attack.

"This was the first time that such a coalition worked together against the threat of Iran and its proxies in the Middle East," Rear Admiral Hagari said.

It is unknown which Middle Eastern countries were involved, but Jordan was named by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a video message posted to X on Sunday.

"Thanks to an international coordinated effort, which the UK participated in, almost all of these missiles were intercepted, saving lives not just in Israel but in neighbouring countries like Jordan as well," Mr Sunak said.

However, Jordan said its actions were in self defence.

"There was an assessment that there was a real danger of Iranian marches and missiles falling on Jordan, and the armed forces dealt with this danger," Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi said in an interview on Al-Mamlaka state television.

Could any other country withstand a strike like Iran's? Why the onslaught on Israel is a future war wake-up call (6)

President Joe Biden lauded American forces who helped Israel down "nearly all" of the drones and missiles fired by Iran.

TheUS, supported by US European Command destroyers, took out more than 80 one-wayattackdrones and at least six ballistic missiles aimed at Israel fromIranand Yemen, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Monday.

This included a ballistic missile on its launcher vehicle and sevenunmanned aerial vehicles(UAVs) destroyed on the ground prior to their launch in areas controlled byIran-backed Houthis in Yemen, CENTCOM said in a post on X.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement the US took out dozens of the attacks, but did not provide details on ships or aircraft involved in the operation that commanders had been preparing for over the past two weeks.

Could any other country withstand a strike like Iran's? Why the onslaught on Israel is a future war wake-up call (7)

Mr Sunak said British fighter jets had shot down "a number of drones".

The UK's Royal Air Force (RAF) had deployed several jets to the region in response to Iranian threats.

The drones were intercepted in Syrian and Iraqi airspace, but the Ministry of Defence (MoD) did not specify how many RAF Typhoons were airborne.

Dr Davis said the international support in the attacks was "crucial".

"The fact that Israel had UK, US, France there shooting down ballistic missiles as they were coming in, and shooting cruise missiles, really allowed the Israelis to concentrate on the slower cruise missiles and drones," he said.

A lesson for future conflicts

Iran's onslaught gives an indication of what can be expected of future warfare, where the battle space is flooded with large numbers of attack drones, Dr Davis said.

And countries need to start better preparing their defence systems.

Iran reportedly used many of its one-way Shahed attack drones during the weekend strikes.

They are the same "kamikazedrones" Iranhas supplied to Russia throughout its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Theyhave been used to exhaust Ukrainian air defences and hit infrastructure far from the front lines.

"What we saw in the skies of Israel was ironically a fairly small attack compared to what could happen," Dr Davis said.

"Particularly in a major power war, for example involving China, who have large numbers of drones."

He said Australia was among the countries that should be taking note to start building integrated air defence missile systems.

"It's an area really Australia is completely lacking in and after the events of the weekend," he said.

"I think the government should be lighting a fire under Defence to get them to move more swiftly on integrated air and missile defence."

ABC/wires

Posted, updated

Could any other country withstand a strike like Iran's? Why the onslaught on Israel is a future war wake-up call (2024)

FAQs

Which country is more powerful, Iran or Israel? ›

Comparable army strength

According to the Global Firepower Index 2024 , the Israeli and Iranian militaries are not too far apart in terms of overall military power. Iran is ranked 14th in the global ranking, followed by Israel in 17th place. The index has also included a direct comparison of the two armed forces.

Can Iran survive a war with Israel? ›

Indeed if the Iranian response triggers full scale war with Israel, it is doubtful that the Islamic Republic can survive.

Which countries support Iran? ›

Iran and Syria have had a strategic alliance ever since, partially due to their common animosity towards Saddam Hussein and coordination against the United States and Israel. Syria and Iran cooperate on arms smuggling from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon, which borders Israel.

Did Israel bomb Iran in 2024? ›

On 19 April 2024 at 5:23 a.m. IRST, the Israeli Air Force launched airstrikes targeting an air defense facility within Iran. The limited airstrikes targeted an air defense radar site at an airbase near Isfahan, in central Iran. Israeli missiles appear to have hit their target directly.

Who is more powerful, India or Israel? ›

According to size, population, army strength and nuclear warheads - It's India. But in capability - It's always Israel.

Can Iran hit Israel with missiles? ›

The Israeli military said that “99%” of projectiles fired by Iran were intercepted by Israel and its partners, with only “a small number” of ballistic missiles reaching the country. The Iranians claim they managed to hit two locations inside Israel, including the Nevatim airbase in the Negev desert.

Can Israel defeat Hamas in Gaza? ›

Only an Israeli operation in Rafah can defeat Hamas.

Destroying a Hamas stronghold: The bulk of Hamas' remaining forces and leadership in Gaza are located in Rafah. They must be defeated to complete the destruction of Hamas' terror capabilities.

Does Iran have nuclear weapons? ›

In December 2007, the United States National Intelligence Estimate (which represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies) concluded, with a "high level of confidence", that Iran had halted all of its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains frozen.

Does Turkey support Iran or Israel? ›

In the past, Turkey's ties with Israel have caused various disagreements between Ankara and Tehran. However, Turkey's neutral stance with regards to the disputes between Israel and Iran has secured the maintenance of friendly bilateral relations.

Is Iran still a US ally? ›

The crisis led to lasting economic and diplomatic damage. On 7 April 1980, Carter severed diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States and they have been frozen ever since. Since 21 May 1980, Switzerland has been the protecting power for the United States in Iran.

Who are Israel's allies? ›

Arab–Israeli alliance
TypeUnofficial coalition
PurposeRegional security
RegionMiddle East
MembershipIsrael Bahrain Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Jordan Morocco

Does Israel have nuclear weapons? ›

Estimates of Israel's stockpile range between 90 and 400 nuclear warheads, and the country is believed to possess the ability to deliver them in several methods, including by aircraft, as submarine-launched cruise missiles, and via the Jericho series of intermediate to intercontinental range ballistic missiles.

Why is Iran attacking Israel? ›

Iran said it was retaliation for the Israeli bombing of the Iranian embassy in Damascus on 1 April, which killed two Iranian generals. The strike was seen as a spillover of the Israel–Hamas war and marked Iran's first direct attack on Israel since the start of their proxy conflict.

Why did Saddam Hussein fire missiles on Israel? ›

On January 22, missiles were launched at Israel "in revenge for the crimes of Zionism." In describing two missile attacks against Tel Aviv on January 25, the Iraqi Armed Forces General Command said the intent was to "pour fire on the headsof the arrogant Zionists to avenge what their hands have committed." Radio ...

Can Iran missiles reach Israel? ›

Ballistic missiles follow a curved trajectory, leveraging gravity to achieve extreme velocities. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) estimate the missile traveled over 1,500 kilometers from Iran to Israel in roughly 12 minutes, reaching a speed of approximately 7,500 km/h, or roughly Mach 6.

What is the most powerful country in the world? ›

Forbes Ranked World's Top 10 Most Powerful Countries In 2024, Is India On The List?
  • #1. United States: With a GDP of $28.78 trillion, the United States ranks first in economic power. ...
  • #2. China:
  • #3. Russia: ...
  • #4. Germany: ...
  • #5. United Kingdom: ...
  • #6. South Korea: ...
  • #7. France: ...
  • #8. Japan:
May 6, 2024

Who is powerful in Iran? ›

As supreme leader, Khamenei is the most powerful political authority in the Islamic Republic.

Is Israel the richest country in the world? ›

Israel is therefore currently ranked 28 of the major economies. If this is calculated per inhabitant, taking purchasing power parity into account, then Israel is in the list of the world's richest countries in place 32. Inflation in Israel in 2022 was around 4.39%.

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Errol Quitzon

Last Updated:

Views: 5542

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Errol Quitzon

Birthday: 1993-04-02

Address: 70604 Haley Lane, Port Weldonside, TN 99233-0942

Phone: +9665282866296

Job: Product Retail Agent

Hobby: Computer programming, Horseback riding, Hooping, Dance, Ice skating, Backpacking, Rafting

Introduction: My name is Errol Quitzon, I am a fair, cute, fancy, clean, attractive, sparkling, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.