December 21, 2012
There is an interesting article on an Israeli news site about the Israeli Air Force’s 122 Squadron (the article refers to it by its unclassified nickname “Nahshon Squadron), which is the Israeli air force’s tactical signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection unit. Beyond the few tidbits of interesting information about the squadron’s recent activities, the article is also amusing because of its attempts to not talk about, or talk around the squadron’s sensitive missions because of the Israeli military’s obsession with secrecy, despite the fact that everything you might want to know about the squadron and its mission aircraft is available online from aviation sources here in the U.S. and Europe.
Based at Nevatim air base in the Negev since 2009, 122 Squadron flies five Gulfstream G550 aircraft in the airborne early warning role, which it performed brilliantly in the recent fighting in Gaza, with these aircraft providing dozens of warnings of missile launches from Gaza against targets ibn southern Israel. And the squadron also flies heavily-modified Gulfstream aircraft as SIGINT collectors. The SIGINT Gulfstreams were modified for this role here in the U.S. with Defense Department approval. These aircraft can collect both communications intelligence (COMINT) and electronics intelligence (ELINT) for more than ten hours at a time unrefueled while flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet.
Because of the long-range capabilities of the Gulfstream aircraft, if the Israelis ever go through with their threat to mount air strikes against the nuclear production facilities in Iran, 122 Squadron’s early warning and SIGINT aircraft with definately be involved in the operation, as they were during the 2007 air strike which destroyed Syria’s nuclear reactor.
- matthewaid posted this