Attacks on Saudi Oil Plants Reveal Weaknesses in U.S.-Made Defenses

( Richard Sisk - Ground-hugging swarms of drones and cruise missiles that decimated Saudi oil production facilities this month did billions' worth of damage and defeated U.S.-made Hawk and Patriot air-defense systems. Washington Institute analyst Michael Knights wrote, "Many of the components needed to defend against a cruise missile swarm are in place - radars, missiles batteries, and anti-aircraft cannon - but they were evidently not alert enough or not handled boldly enough to parry this blow." Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said that U.S. air and naval forces in the region did not track the swarms. "We don't have an unblinking eye over the entire Middle East at all times." Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) analyst Anthony Cordesman said the drones and cruise missiles hugged the ground to evade radar and had "the ability to home in remotely with great precision on key point targets that can include the most expensive fixed industrial, infrastructure and military targets and use comparatively small amounts of explosives to destroy key components." CSIS analyst Seth Jones noted, "All of Saudi Arabia is threatened by Iranian missiles, and the number of Iranian missiles capable of reaching the country would overwhelm virtually any missile defense system."

2019-09-25 00:00:00

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