The Syrian Arab Republic Navy
The Syrian Arab Republic Navy is based out of ports at Al Mina al Badya,
Baniyas and Latakia, with the principal base located in Tartus. The SAR/N
has about 3,700 active members and a further 2,500 in reserve. In comparison,
the Israeli Navy has 6,000 active personnel and 500 in reserve. Not only
do the Israelis rely on more modern and capable ships, but the quality
of the Israeli Navy has historically been much higher than the SAR/N.
The Syrian Navy's backbone is made up of eight Russian Osa II-class
Rocket Cutters. Additional assets include four Osa Is, five vessels
of the Komar class, and various patrol and torpedo craft. Of these,
the two Petya II class anti-submarine vessels are the most modern.
The Syrians also make use of two Romeo class submarines, although
these may not be operational. Airborne assets consist of fourKamov
Ka-28 Helix-Aand twenty Mi-14PLHaze-A anti-submarine helicopters.
The Syrian Rocket Cutters (Osa I, Osa II, and Komar
classes) are armed with an updated version of the SS-N-2 Styx missile
that was so easily evaded during the 1973 YomKippur War. The range
on the newer Styx missile is between 30 and 40 nm, which is greater than
the range of the Israeli Gabriel but much lower than the 80 nm range of
the US-made Harpoon missiles in use with the Israelis. Thus, the Israeli
ships can strike the Syrians at two times the range that the Syrians would
be able to mount an effective attack.
The Syrian navy would be best suited to engage in dispersed attacks
to which the Israelis would be forced to respond to attacks from many directions.
The Israeli Navy is just too strong for the Syrians to try any other way.
The Syrians would be best suited to using 'guerilla' tactics to get the
jump on the Israelis. Otherwise, the superior range of the Israeli
missiles and more advanced radars on the Israeli ships would simply overpower
the Syrian fleet. Whatever the case, in the event of a war between the
Israel and Syria, most of the combat (certainly the fiercest)would
be seen on the volcanic plateau of the Golan Heights and not on the glassy
waters of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Source: The Israeli Navy (Tzva Hagana L'Yisrael Heyl Ha'Yam )