TEL AVIV (May. 18)
Informed sources here dismissed as doubtful today reports that Russia has turned over to Egypt some of its most modern and sophisticated weapons. According to the reports the weapons are a new speedy missile-boat and Tupolev-22 long-range bombers. The sources said that the Tupolevs along with MIG-23 jets, the world’s fastest and highest-flying combat aircraft, are deployed in Egypt not as part of Egypt’s armed forces but in a Soviet concentration aimed at the West and especially the southern flank of NATO.
Egyptian sources hinted strongly yesterday that the two MIG-23s which overflew the Israel-occupied Sinai peninsula Tuesday were piloted by Egyptians. But observers here believe this is propaganda. They noted that Russia has not supplied the still experimental MIG-23 to its close allies and that even if a few Egyptian pilots have been trained to fly the advanced jets, they would never be permitted to risk them in a flight under combat conditions over Israel-held territory.
U.S. INTERESTED IN THE GABRIEL
American military circles have recently shown interest in purchasing Israel’s sea-to-sea missile known as the Gabriel, it was disclosed today. The American interest in the weapon which is designed and produced in Israel, was said to have developed after a US-designed sea-to-sea missile known as the Harpoon proved unsatisfactory.
The Gabriel is designed to be carried by the Saar-class missile boats that were built for Israel by France. Twelve of the Saars were ordered. Seven were delivered but the last five, embargoed by France, were spirited out of Cherbourg by Israeli crews on Christmas Eve, 1969. According to some sources, the Gabriel missile is sought by a number of navies and Israel has already sold some in the amount of $38 million.