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Syrian Mig-23 Flown to Israel Offers Intelligence Gains to West

October 14, 1989

JERUSALEM (AP) _ The Syrian MiG-23 fighter jet flown to Israel this week by a pilot who defected contains advanced Soviet-designed equipment never before examined by the West, a military official said Saturday.

″It is a dream come true for every chief of intelligence to have an enemy aircraft which ... can now be evaluated and test flown,″ said reserve Brig. Gen. Oded Erez, a former Israeli fighter pilot and a former head of air force intelligence.

The Syrian air force pilot landed the jet in Israel Wednesday and asked for asylum.

Erez said on Israel radio that the MiG-23 contains advanced avionics, missile and warning systems and radar.

″I think we might even be pioneers in the Western world to have a firsthand touch with the material,″ he said.

Earlier this week, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin said Israel would share some of the knowledge it gained from inspecting and flying the Soviet-built jet fighter.

″Of course it will serve as a source of information for us and the others,″ including the United States, Rabin said on Israel television.

The Syrian pilot flew into Israel without being intercepted and military Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Shomron appointed a team to investigate the matter. It is expected to submit its conclusions by Monday.

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