ABSTRACT

The first month of 1970 witnessed a dangerous escalation on the Israeli-Egyptian front. Employing their air force as a “flying artillery,” the Israelis struck repeatedly at targets in the Nile Delta and as little as five miles from the center of Cairo. Egyptian-manned MIG-21 C/D interceptor aircraft and SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missiles proved all but totally ineffective against these attacks: the Israelis flew around and through the former and beneath the latter. In the process, some 150 of the UAR’s small corps of trained pilots were shot down. At the same time, Israeli aircraft consistently and successfully attacked the SA-2 sites themselves, opening up gaps in the system and preventing its restoration. 1 The local effects on the standing and credibility of President Nasser’s regime were considerable, and the Soviet Union, the manifest inadequacy of whose equipment and training was demonstrated daily, was exposed to contempt.