“Anything you shoot up in the air eventually falls, and when you shoot at the enemy, it falls on the other side,” said Israeli defense engineer and analyst Uzi Rubin on Wednesday, following unconfirmed reports that an advanced Israeli interceptor missile, part of the David’s Sling missile-defense system, had fallen into Russian hands after crashing in Syria in 2018.

“I assume that there are dozens of fragments of Israeli missiles in the areas where we have attacked,” he added.

Rubin is the founder of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Homa Directorate, which develops missile defense systems, and served as its head from 1991-99. He then went on to manage the development of various weapons systems for Israel Aerospace Industries and the Defense Ministry. He was awarded the Israel Defense Prize twice, as well as the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s “David Israel” Prize.

“Every army in the world takes into account that a missile fired at the other side will fall into enemy hands. In effect, the only surprise [with the David’s Sling interceptor] is that it fell into Russia’s hands, and not Iran’s. This is good news for us,” said Rubin.

According to the defense veteran, the issue goes both ways—the IDF, he said, has studied the remains of the various projectiles that have been fired at Israel over the years.

“This is a standard, accepted practice for every army and defense establishment,” he said. “We learn from everything that lands here.”

Rubin also noted that unlike the Syrians or the Iranians, the Russians have their own advanced missile systems. It was unlikely, he said, that the Russians would be surprised by anything they might uncover regarding the Israeli interceptor.

In fact, said Rubin, not long ago Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled Russian missiles that had “some parts that were better than the Americans.”

Rubin rejects claims that the Israeli interceptor landed without sustaining damage, calling such a scenario “virtually impossible.”

“There is no such thing as a missile that lands intact and even when the missile doesn’t hit its target, it doesn’t stay complete and hits the ground with immense force.”

Rubin added, however, that even if a missile is not intact it can still be studied.

“Every missile can be analyzed,” he said.

While it’s “not pleasant” for Israelis to hear reports that one of their country’s missiles has been captured, “it should come as no surprise,” said Rubin. “It’s something that should be taken into account. Anything you shoot over the border will be captured, and we need to expect that.”

Rubin reiterated that this applied to missile technology in general.

“This is not something specific to Israel. If the Russians shot missiles at the United States, the Americans would rush to examine the fragments,” he said.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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