The missile delivery that foreign reports said was destroyed on Thursday by Israel contained the Fateh-110 missile. At first it was reported that the destroyed missiles were Scud-D's. According to The New York Times, a unique bombing technique was used to take out the missiles: Israel Air Force jets did not cross into Syrian airspace, but carried out the strike from over Lebanese skies. The same technique, according to The Wall Street Journal, was used in Israel's attack on an air-defense missile delivery in Syria in January.
This type of strike, known as a "stand-off" or "over-the-horizon" strike, allows the pilot to avoid flying directly over the target and exposing the plane to anti-aircraft fire or the shock waves from its own ordnance, and to drop its payload of bombs or Popeye missiles from afar.
The attacking jet dives to gain speed and the immediately pulls up and accelerates (in a U-type trajectory), which gives the bombs extra speed and extends their range. They are released at the precise time required to hit the target.
Stand-off strikes were invented during the Cold War, with the advent of tactical nuclear weapons, so that airplanes dropping them would not fly over the atomic mushroom. The IAF used the stand-off technique over the Suez Canal during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
The Fateh-110 is a single-stage, solid-fuel rocket built in Iran with a 300-kilometer (180-mile) range. It is a modern, fast (3.5 times the speed of sound), and accurate anti-ground/anti-sea missile. It was reported last year that the Iranians had successfully developed the fourth generation of the rocket. The Fateh-110 excels in mobility and can be launched from the back of a truck.
Aharon Lapidot is the deputy editor of Israel Hayom.