Israel-Iran Range Study

Handel4 As a follow-on to the discussion of a possible Israel-Iran war, I invite someone among our correspondents to do a study of the available aircraft attack routes, and ballistic and cruise missile range fans for both Israel and Iran.

I do not have the time to do this but I think that a map with this data and any text appropriate would be an aid to further discussion.

Send me your work and I will post some of it.

Or…  We could just go with this.  pl

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57 Responses to Israel-Iran Range Study

  1. Kieran says:

    A few thoughts:
    *The Syrian route offers several advantages. There would be no embarrassment to ‘friendlies’ as would result from overflying Jordan. Overflying Turkey and Saudi Arabia would be more serious yet, as regional powers with advanced air defenses and little excuse for not responding. Israel has already publicly demonstrated (most recently in 2007) its ability to operate with impunity in Syrian airspace. Moreover the failure of Iran to help its Syrian ally in 2007 excuses any lack of response from Syria this time around. There might even be an added bonus of sowing discord between Syria and Iran with potential recriminations. The biggest downside I can see is the possibility that Syria could provide a few minutes of early warning to the Iranians — if they were so inclined. Of course, this route still presents the problem of securing a wink and nod from the US with regard to overflying Iraq.
    *The Jericho option would be an interesting way of getting past the overflight/shoot down risk. It would however be a bit galling for the vaunted IAF to admit its inability to pull off the strike. And I really don’t believe Israel would use nukes. Together with the rather more provocative image of using ballistic missiles, I think this would be a last resort.
    *The recent operation in Sudan — the details of which are still murky — is interesting. If nothing else it sets yet another precedent of Israel striking far abroad at whim — with a US wink and nod.
    *There are also reports that the Sudan raid involved large numbers of UAVs. Although targets such as Natanz would require heavier ordinance than UAVs carry, unmanned craft could play a big role and reduce the size of the strike package needed.

  2. J says:

    Petraeus today before Congress was somewhat disconcerting regarding a possible Israeli strike on Iran.
    Petraeus Says Israel Might Choose to Attack Iran
    …….Ken Katzman, a Middle East military analyst for the non- partisan Congressional Research Service in Washington, said Petraeus’s assertion on Israel “was extremely significant, particularly for what he did not say — that the United States would act to restrain Israel or talk it out of conducting such a strike.” ……

  3. Howard C. Berkowitz says:

    I believe there is a more detailed one, but a slightly older, more narrative report came out of MIT:
    Unfortunately, I’m not coming up with the piece I once wrote about the Iranian-Israeli strategic nuclear balance, but it is interesting to consider the second-strike capability of Israel under various assumptions of number of weapons, allocation to launch platforms, and targeting. Even if one assumes a madman in Iran, it is interesting to run the numbers.
    Now, if I were an Iranian madman — not saying they are — I’d be far more likely to be judging Israel’s ASW/ASuW capability than its BMD. An underwater detonation in one or more suicide submarines, given bad prevailing winds, might be a lot nastier than what could be done with a limited number of ballistic missiles.

  4. Andy says:

    I’m going to make an appeal to authority argument here, based on my time in the Navy assisting in the development of air campaigns and support to contingency planning. I don’t think you’ll find much better than the CSIS analysis above from open sources. Of all the analyses I’ve read, it is the best and most closely resembles actual planning.
    However, it still suffers from what I think is a significant flaw – it makes assumptions about target selection. It’s clear Israel cannot strike every nuclear-related target in Iran, so for planning purposes, it must prioritize all the targets in accordance with the desired objectives. Different objectives mean different priorities which will change target list to meet those objectives. These analyses do not mention this at all and the target lists in them usually have little justification and seem based as much on assumption as anything else.
    So the first question that needs asking is, what does Israel hope to achieve? A few possibilities off the top of my head:
    1. Prevent a near-term breakout by Iran.
    2. Destroy/degrade all/part of Iran’s program, setting it back by some number of years.
    3. Destroy/degrade Iran’s delivery capabilities.
    4. Some combination of the above.
    Each of those objectives will produce differing priorities and therefore different target sets. Even within each category, there is not necessarily an obvious set of targets because there can be more than one way to skin a cat. Sometimes an indirect approach is better and focusing on a few key nodes can meet the objective just as well at reduced cost.
    For example, the cascade halls at Natanz are on every target list for these analyses, but the facilities that actually manufacture the centrifuges never are, nor are the support facilities, R&D centers, etc. So Natanz would probably be a good target for objective #1, but might not be the top priority for #2 and would probably be a very low priority for #3.
    So while the CSIS analysis is quite rigorous in most areas, the selected targets are based on unspoken assumptions which may or may not match reality.

  5. Patrick Lang says:

    Kieran et al
    I think an Israel that would stage an attack on Iran would not shrink from the use of nuclear weapons.
    “In for a penny, in for a pound…” pl

  6. Mad Dogs says:

    Back on August 3, 2008, I posted a comment here at SST with this included:

    The following is an MIT Security Studies Conference April 2006 working paper entitled “Osirak Redux? Assessing Israeli Capabilities to Destroy Iranian Nuclear Facilities” by Whitney Raas and Austin Long.

    It is a 34 page PDF and while it lacks the ICBM and Cruise Missile variations, it does spend a good deal of effort on the Aircraft Attack method with analysis of routes, the Iranian target sets, Israeli aircraft and weaponry to be employed, Iranian defensive capabilities (including aircraft and AAA/SAM strength) and the likelihood of success.

  7. MRW. says:

    How many planes does Israel have in Georgia? (They were there seven years.) The only thing that left Georgia one month before Saakashvili attacked South Ossetia in 2008 were the Israeli officers.

  8. Mad Dogs says:

    Dagnabbit! I missed reading Howard C. Berkowitz’s comment that already had the link I was posting.
    Oh well…*g*

  9. Eliot says:

    What sort of yield do their nuclear bombs have?

  10. Cieran says:

    I think an Israel that would stage an attack on Iran would not shrink from the use of nuclear weapons.
    And I think that such an attack could easily lead to the end of the Israeli nation.
    First, the resulting carnage would turn world opinion against Israel instantly. Politicians believe in such silly ideas as “surgical nuclear strikes”, but the reality of nuclear weapons is that their use cannot be made anything but ugly, and in the information age, that repulsive nature will be obvious to all, whether they care to see it or not.
    Second, there are many kinds of WMD, and nuclear weapons are only the most difficult to design, develop, and deploy. Those geopolitical features that make Israel vulnerable to a nuclear first strike also make it vulnerable to other, simpler, forms of attack, and once Israel opens the Pandora’s Box of attacking another nation with WMD, there will be repercussions, and Israel is particularly vulnerable to such responses.
    Finally, use of nuclear weapons by Israel will result in the tacit admission that U.S. aid to that country is, and long has been, illegal. Obama sidestepped this issue in his first press conference, but in the aftermath of an unprovoked nuclear attack, that kind of political indirection will not work any longer.
    And if people are angry about wasting hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on Wall Street miscreants, I suspect they won’t enjoy learning that they’ve wasted similar amounts arming a country that thinks its just fine to nuke its neighbors.
    It’s a dumb move, but then again, world history is chock full of dumb moves, so…

  11. JJackson says:

    Given pl’s in for a penny in for a pound what would world reaction be?
    An unprovoked unclear first strike? America and allies may have been able to get away with attacking Iraq on unfounded suspicions of WMDs but it had a number of factors in its favour. Firstly Saddam was a first order tyrant, secondly it was a conventional attack and thirdly – and of much greater importance – the US was too powerful to be held to account for its actions anyway.
    Toukan & Cordesman mentioned the the widely perceived application of double standards which some of the EU states have been abetting despite internal public opinion. While the US has been able to cover for Israel with SC vetoes etc. I doubt any country would even attempt to justify such a crime, apart for Israel and the US. If the US tried to claim justification or were shown to in anyway to have had foreknowledge and failed to warn or try and prevent the attack I suspect they would find they had less friends than North Korea.

  12. Charles I says:

    “So the first question that needs asking is, what does Israel hope to achieve?”
    I think their preeminent desire is to just keep all pots boiling and as many people pissed off at the U.S. as possible, just as with their continuous series of peace talk-derailing provocations against the Palestinians ensure violent reactions that can be held up as a reason not to be. . . reasonable.
    So long as Israel can point to an angry Arab or Persian bogeyman, they imagine, with good reason, that people will fall for the same old trick over and over, giving a free pass to new heights barbarity. Its what they do.

  13. JJackson says:

    Here is another link
    Would Air Strikes Work? Understanding Iran’s Nuclear Programme and the Possible Consequences of a Military Strike
    Dr. Frank Barnaby, with a foreword by Dr. Hans Blix, March 2007
    This one come to the conclusion – based on a conventional rather than nuclear attack – that an attack may cause damage it would probably accelerate bomb development by changing plodding progress into Iran’s raison d’etre. That assumes it was their intention to build a bomb in the first place and I think it same to assume regardless of their intention prior to being attack after an attack building a bomb would become a primary objective and using it would move up the agenda.

  14. Ian says:

    “what does Israel hope to achieve?”
    5. Drag the US into a war with Iran.

  15. robt willmann says:

    Although Benjamin Netanyahu is a hothead, and his group just installed is probably more violence-prone than most, I think the probability that Israel will use nuclear weapons in a first strike on Iran is extremely low to zero.
    Israel’s use of nuclear weapons would guarantee hostility toward it by Arabs and Persians almost perpetually, and generate new hostility from other countries and people as well. It already has a bad “public relations problem” with its ham-handed attack on the Palestinians in the Gaza strip, and independent war crimes charges against Israelis over Gaza in places like Spain, with its magistrate system of criminal law and procedure, are still a possibility.
    There is also the problem of nuclear fallout blowing into other countries, depending on the winds.
    A nuclear attack on Iran is way outside of Israel’s usual behavior and cannot be concealed by a ruse or disinformation. And Ehud Barak would put the kibosh on it.
    Nevertheless, Netanyahu and Barak will do everything they can to deceive, trick, con, or intimidate President Obama into launching either a conventional or nuclear bunker buster attack on Iran.
    If Obama holds firm against the U.S. doing it, then Israel may do a conventional attack, with the understanding that the U.S. will help it if and when Iran retaliates, or Israel may do the attack figuring that Obama will be politically sucked into helping defend Israel after the attack is over.
    As has been mentioned in these pages and others, Israel does not have the military capacity and resources to do an effective conventional attack on its own. Thus, the Israeli plan will be to get the U.S. to do it and suffer the financial and human cost of doing so (as in Iraq), or to push the U.S. into finishing the job after Israel starts it.
    But we should not ignore Russia or China in this calculation; not that they would get into it militarily, but they can cause problems in other areas, and might give Iran an early warning of an impending attack.
    Some people theorize that Russia intentionally damaged or eliminated Israel’s ability to use the country of Georgia as a jumping off point to attack Iran during Russia’s military incursion into Georgia in 2008.

  16. Fred says:

    The laws of physics haven’t changed since 1945. Just because the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were large does not mean a bomb made today, even if it is a countries first, has to be the same size. Why would Iran need a suicide submarine? All they need to do is sail a couple of rusty coastal freighters, Iranian flagged, into the Med. On deck put a couple short ranged missile launchers, with the nose cones painted in yellow and magenta. They could conveniently paint the hulls with ‘warning, radiation’ in multiple languages. It would drive a few analysts to a heart attack. How could you know there were no nukes on board?
    Of course my favorite is to just ship the Iranian ambassador to the U.N. a new Iranian made limo, with the special delivery packing in the trunk. Guess what city gets blown up after an Isreali nuclear attack on Iran. I’m sure, of course, that we never inspect diplomatic baggage…..

  17. Mad Dogs says:

    Pat wrote: “I think an Israel that would stage an attack on Iran would not shrink from the use of nuclear weapons.
    “In for a penny, in for a pound…” pl”

    A couple thoughts vis a vis your statement and the Anthony Cordesman CSIS study:
    Given that the only Jericho‐III would have the range to target Iran, and given that it was in the devlopment stage until last year, if I were the Israelis, I would be extremely cautious in assuming it would work as the planned.
    And given that the this Jericho – III has no real-world testing (i.e. no launches apparently), if I were the Israelis, I would be doubly extremely cautious as to whether it would land where it was planned.
    So, if the Israelis somehow came to the conclusion that it was ok to go ahead and nuke Iran’s nuclear facilities using nuclear-armed Jericho – III ICBMs, I’d have to be extremely worried if I were any person living within the entire circumference of the Jericho – III’s range that the ICBM would go up, and then come down somewhere other than at the target point in Iran.
    In short, nuclear-armed Israeli ICBMs falling all over the entire Mideast, including in Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Turkey, Greece, the Black Sea etc.

  18. curious says:

    Few things missing from the CSIS report:
    1. Russia has reactivate Syrian naval base (air defense will be whatever ship Russian navy feels like parking)
    2. Iran has access to F-16 from Venezuela.
    3. geopolitical change in Turkey. (much warmer to Iran and distancing Israel) And georgian airbase is not an option anymore)
    4. Pentagon transfer of GBU-39 is not noted. (more of this can be loaded on a pylon)
    5. Israel did practice run with Cypriot S-300 (It seems they change their mind afterward about large scale air attack.)
    6. That strange israel Syrian attack. (The so called ‘alledge reactor’ followed by Bibi congratulation IAF for restoring air superiority.) Was it a test of new tactic to evade Syrian air defense?

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I advise you guys to extend your analysis to target selection in Israel as well.
    General Shmakhani – if I recall correctlty – has stated that “Israel will say good-bye to Dimona” in the event of an attack on Iran.
    Should Israel use nuclear weapons I also advise you to consider the politcal settlement of the Levant after the (forcible) dissolution of the State of Israel.

  20. greg0 says:

    Israel has nuclear bombs? I’m shocked, simply shocked.
    “In for a penny, in for a pound…” pl
    When will we be seeing the Pakistan-Israel range studies?

  21. curious says:

    2002 report (nuclear inventory of 8 countries. fairly old, but convenient list)
    Israel list of missiles (with various test dates listed)

  22. J says:

    Why isn’t D.C. mandating that Israel put their over 400 nuclear arsenal (that is capable of delivery/hitting upon every major European city, Mideast cities, African and Asian cities) on the table for scrutiny? AIPAC ‘hush money’ perhaps?

  23. J says:

    What’s the bets on the ‘time frame’ of a Israeli strike, the April 09 time frame perhaps? Remember that many feared a ‘six months after being elected window’ ‘TEST’ upon the new Obama administration, and April 09 is that six month window. Remember that the now VP Biden was one of those ‘voices’ citing a ‘TEST’ for the new Obama-Biden administration.
    And will such a strike be the beginnings of WWIII that will progress/lead to a global conflict? There are several who see such a hypothesis highly probable.

  24. Arun says:

    As Anonymous pointed out above, Israel’s best bet is to get Iran to attack the US to an extent that ties US hands and mandates a US counterattack. After that US policy is set for a generation and Israel is the indispensable ally all over again.
    I don’t think use of nukes is necessary for that. In fact it may be counterproductive.

  25. Arun says:

    Sorry, didn’t complete the thought:
    I don’t think use of nukes is necessary for that. In fact it may be counterproductive. The one scenario in which an Iranian attack on US forces need not lead to the US declaring war on Iran is in the aftermath of a nuke attack on Iran. Then the President, if he so chooses, can “do the responsible thing”, ignore public opinion and nobly avoid escalating a nuclear war.

  26. mo says:

    If it were to happen it is more likely to be late June/early July. If we extend the in for a penny line of thinking, I would not be surprised if such an attack on Iran would be accompanied by a push to the north on the basis of pre-emptively stopping Hizballah reaction to the attacks. That push would be easier to “sell” if there were a March 8 govt.(read Hizballah govt.) in power in Lebanon.

  27. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Col. Lang wrote:
    “I think an Israel that would stage an attack on Iran would not shrink from the use of nuclear weapons.
    “In for a penny, in for a pound…” pl
    What happens if Obama tells the Israelis ‘no’ and they go ahead anyways. Any chance the USAF would intervene with Israeli planes on the way or would the US actually let this happen?

  28. Dan M says:

    “I think an Israel that would stage an attack on Iran would not shrink from the use of nuclear weapons.”
    I take this to mean you think an attack is highly unlikely? Because I can’t imagine Israel making a first nuclear strike and that not being the end of massive US military support for them, end of what world sympathy they have left, and ultimately a death knell for the zionist dream. Am I foolish to imagine that would be a rubicon-crossing event?

  29. Arbogast says:

    Ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.
    Any “nuclear explosions” resulting from these missiles will be ascribed to Iranian nuclear weapons exploding when Israeli conventional weapons struck them.
    The same for any radioactive debris.
    How disarmingly simple!
    The Israeli’s have to act soon. Months at the latest. Why?
    It is very, very difficult for me to believe that AIG was not a conduit, directly or indirectly, of funds to Israel. Same for Madoff. These sources of funds are drying up. In addition, ultimately, the US, probably over a time frame of a year, is simply going to have to scale down its support of Israel (maybe).
    In any case, the window is now.

  30. china_hand says:

    I cannot imagine Israel surviving (politically) a nuclear strike on Iran.
    In the long run, i presume that would mean it would fail militarily, as well. I had thought — mistakenly, apparently — that the Col. believed the same.
    Also, i cannot imagine the U.S. population accepting an Israeli nuclear strike. I’d imagine that all of those silent Jews who tacitly accept what goes on because they don’t want to rock the boat would become mightily motivated — and that would mean a PR nightmare for AIPAC.
    In fact, i think a nuclear strike by Israel would drive such a political wedge through the heart of the U.S. that very soon there would be violence in its streets. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
    I would expect Israel to strike conventionally, and i would expect them to count on a U.S. response.
    Unfortunately, i do not think Obama would be able to resist the bait.
    So much for Hope.

  31. Cynthia says:

    Israel is nothing more than a neighborhood bully that gets its jollies from beating up little kids like Palestine and Lebanon. Israel is simply too much of a chickenhawk to try to beat up a big kid like Iran.

  32. J says:

    Remember that Israeli government is a CRAZY chickenhawk, and because it is headed up by a bunch of wackos (Bibi, Avigor, etc.), makes for a very dangerous ‘wild-card’.
    Israel is the REAL threat to the Mideast and globe as a whole with their over 400 nukes arsenal while Iran has GOOSE-EGG — 0 –.
    Remember that very dangerous wackos are now in control of Israel’s ‘red button’.

  33. Arbogast says:

    Should Israel use nuclear weapons I also advise you to consider the politcal settlement of the Levant after the (forcible) dissolution of the State of Israel.
    Hey, all Israel did was use conventional weapons that accidentally detonated Iranian nuclear weapons. Who will say it’s a lie?
    President Obama?

  34. fnord says:

    If somebody else hasnt beaten me to the link, I guess the audience will find this article quite interesting:
    …”The study explores two scenarios: An intricately orchestrated strike by Israeli air force jets (à la Osirak), or an Israelli ballistic missile attack against Iranian facilities. Iran’s nuclear program is geographically dispersed, but there are at least three key targets here: a nuclear research center and uranium conversion facility at Esfahan; an enrichment facility at Natanz; and a heavy water plant at Arak. Destroying or damaging those three, the CSIS report reckons, “could either destroy the program or delay for some years.”…

  35. confusedponderer says:

    The laws of physics haven’t changed since 1945. Just because the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were large does not mean a bomb made today, even if it is a countries first, has to be the same size. Why would Iran need a suicide submarine? All they need to do is sail a couple of rusty coastal freighters, Iranian flagged, into the Med. On deck put a couple short ranged missile launchers, with the nose cones painted in yellow and magenta. They could conveniently paint the hulls with ‘warning, radiation’ in multiple languages. It would drive a few analysts to a heart attack. How could you know there were no nukes on board?
    Of course my favorite is to just ship the Iranian ambassador to the U.N. a new Iranian made limo, with the special delivery packing in the trunk. Guess what city gets blown up after an Isreali nuclear attack on Iran. I’m sure, of course, that we never inspect diplomatic baggage…..
    Posted by: Fred | 01 April 2009 at 09:38 PM

    I hope you were being sarcastic.
    How was that with Saddam’s WMD? I remember that the riposte to the remark that Saddam’s missiles couldn’t possibly reach the US, so why the hysteria, was the suggestion that Saddam could put missiles or toy planes or whatnot with deadly sarin gas (or whatnot) on freighters and stage a surpise attack! I have also seen this scenario used as an argument for why seaborne missile defense is an absolute necessity. To see it now being reused in the context of Israel and Iran is remarkable.
    The whole asinine idea was probably thought up by one ‘out-of-the-box’ thinkers working for a defense contractor – and now it is there to spook discussions about other, putative WMD threats.
    My favourite argument to refuse any talks between the President of the United States with Iran’s Ahmedinejad is the undeniable fact, confirmed by Iranian opposition operating out of Iraq, that Iran has prepared a doppelgänger of Ahmedinejad, with two pounds of C4 spiced with shrapnel implanted in his belly, to be triggered by gnashing of teeth. Talk about a decapacitation strike.

    2. Iran has access to F-16 from Venezuela.

    Maybe, but unlikely. What about trained pilots? What about spare parts?

    4. Pentagon transfer of GBU-39 is not noted. (more of this can be loaded on a pylon

    The bomb, 113kg, is probably not suitable for hard, deeply buried targets. It is conceived as a munition causing ‘low collateral danage’. The Israelis used them on Gaza. In one variant they are those ugly DIME weapons that have been talked about. The penetrating variant is said to possess a penetration of 90cm of concrete, enough for most buildings, but likely insufficient for buried targets, and likely with insufficient destructive effect in the target. Israel will probably only have one try when attacking Iran. They likely want to be sure that what they hit does get destroyed, suggesting that they will use some of their heavier ordnance.

  36. N. M. Salamon says:

    I read some of the analyses on Israel’s planes, and possible routes. It is impossible to attack Iran by Israel without US active help and or active disregard: can not reach Iran except through Iraq, which has US Air force therein. The other possibility is to breach Russia [or its dependents’] air space. I would not presume that such would be allowed, and Russia has anti-aircraft weapons capable of stopping Israel’s planes [or most of them].
    In the analyses I read, there was never any mention that Iran might attempt to wreck USA [and world] economy by destroying the oil ports of Saudi Arabia and Kiwait [the friends of IDF – phosphotus or magnisium primers]. Such, of course, would cause retaliation by China, Japan and others who depend on ME oil, taken against the USA for the crimes of Israel.
    In case of nuclear attack by Israel, without doubt certain powers will reward Israel in same manner. I would be surprised if there are not ICBM-s programmed by other nations at Tel Aviv, etc – in case ISrael causes major oil/gas distruption.
    Indeed, I am of the opinion, as expressed in this blog, that WWIII might result from Israel’s attack, whre there are no winners!!!

  37. Israel is simply too much of a chickenhawk to try to beat up a big kid like Iran.
    Hmmm, Cynthia may be on to something.
    The enemy of my enemy is my friend. If Israel attacked Iran using nukes, I suspect we would see the divisions between Iran and the rest of the Muslim ME get set aside while they band together to thump Israel hard. I mentioned Jordan’s military a few months ago during Cast Lead and someone called me out saying there is no way Jordan is going to go rolling through Israel.
    At what point would countries like Jordan get the machine rolling?
    I’ve been absolutely swamped at work for the last six weeks and haven’t kept up with any of this whatsoever. Any chance Israel is blustering for local PR reasons with no intention of doing anything?

  38. mo says:

    At what point would countries like Jordan get the machine rolling?
    You are kidding right CWZ? Jordan has been a friend and ally of the Zionists since before the inception of the state of Israel. Unless there is a coup, you will never see Jordanian tanks crossing that border.

  39. Be interesting to examine Israli defenses against Iraninan sub-launcehed missles. Or for that matter the US!

  40. curious says:

    ///// 2. Iran has access to F-16 from Venezuela.
    Maybe, but unlikely. What about trained pilots? What about spare parts? ////
    not using them, but learning the characteristic. flight performance, radar cross section, every nut and bolts. They can tune their radar to specifically track f-16. (Israel only has 2 type of fighter jets worth bringing to iran. F-16 and F-15)
    /// 4. Pentagon transfer of GBU-39 is not noted. (more of this can be loaded on a pylon
    The bomb, 113kg, is probably not suitable for hard, deeply buried targets.
    Posted by: confusedponderer | 02 April 2009 at 03:31 PM ///
    GBU-39 is a very nifty toy, it has hardened penetration capability. But the big point is, Israel can load 4 of these and target 4 different points in one go, instead of chunkier one. It comes handy for eg. industrial or military facility.
    anyway, big question.
    1. How many JerichoII/III does Israel have?
    2. What is the accuracy of this thing?
    3. location of launch? (they are not mobile.)
    4. What sort of MIRV capability does Israel have?
    5. What is Israel submarine capability?
    Jericho II enters service in 2005 or so. So this is brand spanking new, probably with loads of Bush help.
    On Iranian side. what is Iran’s navy capability? (beyond few miles off shore)
    What is the state of Gaza tunnel?

  41. Fred says:

    Confused, The neocon created ‘hysteria’ of Saddam’s WMD is just the point. An ICBM is not needed to delivery a nuclear weapon and it is very easy to dream up doomsday scenarios. Similar stories were floating around in the ‘50s about the Russians planting nuclear mines in various harbors and military bases, including the Alternate Joint Communications Center where my father was stationed in the 50’s. (
    I believe the Col had a prior blog post a couple months back about Isreal not believing in the MAD strategy of deterrence due to having so few population centers. I would posit that the Iranians don’t believe in MAD either but neither are they bound and determined to follow the US – USSR path of developing ICBMs as deterrence or first strike forces.
    Abrogast, I don’t think the physics of a nuclear warhead would include sympathetic detonation, regardless of how much the Isreali government efforts would play that up.
    Mo, remember the Six Day War?

  42. Byron Raum says:

    I am not an expert on nuclear technology, but I don’t think you can get a nuclear device to detonate by dropping a conventional weapon on it. You create a fission explosion by banging two sub-critical masses together. It is doubtful that the Iranians would be considerate enough to place their materials in such a fashion that a super-critical mass would come about by accident. Furthermore, I am sure that it would be fairly easy to figure out what sort of weapons the Israelis used. And where they had to come from.

  43. Howard C. Berkowitz says:

    Red and yellow warheads are threatening, and might draw any response. I wasn’t assuming a threat, but the most dangerous attack. Specifically, I was assuming a shallow subsurface burst, with a “salted” bomb jacketed to maximize radiation, while the winds were coming from the sea. Essentially, a long-range dirty bomb; I rather doubt they could get it close enough to be a blast danger to the coast.
    Venezuelan F-16’s are not credible, certainly without an air force with demonstrated capability for long-range strike against strong air defenses.
    Ballistic missiles have a better chance, but they aren’t a slam-dunk against PAC-3 and Arrow; the engagement geometry is predictable. I believe Israel has an AN/TPY-2 radar and was in discussions about buying THAAD.

  44. PirateLaddie says:

    “What value to the Israeli right of an American capital ship engulfed in flames and sinking?”
    I guess it would depend on who did it — USS Liberty, anyone?
    Surprised none have raised the Israelis promotion of democracy in the region. The scions of Zion are OK with the Saudi & Egyptian regimes, but not with Lebanese & Palestinian proto-democracy. A robust defense of their franchise as the only “democracy” in the neighborhood?

  45. curious says:

    Be interesting to examine Israli defenses against Iraninan sub-launcehed missles. Or for that matter the US!
    Posted by: William R. Cumming | 02 April 2009 at 06:36 PM
    Kilo’s most advance missile only goes 40 miles. That submarine is primarily brown water hunter killer, not forward attack.
    plus, I bet the Iranian general will use Kilo ever so carefully in the persian gulf or Indian sea instead. Sailing half way around the world to shoot Israel coast wouldn’t be prudent.
    I would hitch one of those midget sub onto regular fishing boat then dive near shore.

  46. mo says:

    The Jordanians, whether it was Hussein or the pig of his father never shied away from pretending to want to fight. That doesnt mean that they actually did. And 67 was a blip in their long friendship especially after Samu.
    If you can find footage of that famous telephone call Rabin makes to Hussein after signing the “peace treaty”, listen to the first sentence Rabin makes: “Your Majesty, my old Freind”.

  47. Got A Watch says:

    @Curious raises some good points that I was going to mention.
    The Russian naval base in Syria is certainly equipped with plenty of AA defenses and long-range radar, covering a large portion of the Eastern Med and beyond. I have read the Russians vowed to improve the quality of their AA systems after the Israeli strike in Syria, viewing it as an insult to their national pride via their weapon systems being shown as ineffective. Last year’s airstrike might not be so easy this year. I do not under-estimate the quality of Russian technology.
    The Russians have also publicly stated that the reactor in Iran must be protected, and public statements were made about selling the Iranians the latest in AA weapons systems to place around it, like the newest model of the S-300a. Many Russian technicians are on site, and I seriously doubt they would be removed at Israeli request before a strike. If they are killed by Israel, I am sure the Russians would be very angry, they have warned on this as well.
    Would the Russians give the Iranians notice of satellite or other intel of an inbound Israeli strike? I am not sure, but that is a huge risk for Israel. The Russians are not exactly happy with Israel, after the Georgian episode, and they have made public statements about that too. Iran has it’s own satellite too, recon capabilities unknown. Destroying that would telegraph the intention to attack, even if it detected nothing.
    To me, the most important factor is that this “surprise attack” is the most well publicized in history, we have been debating this for years. The Iranians would have to be the dumbest people on earth to not be aware of all the factors mentioned here.
    It seems obvious to me that by now Iran would have all valuable targets widely dispersed, decoy targets built, and key personnel moved away, wherever possible. Some fixed targets can’t be dispersed, but the knowledge how to build more of them certainly can be.
    The Iranians have proven they are good at reverse engineering and mass production of weapons systems purchased from other nations. Once they get something, they will build similar themselves. I would think they are very busy preparing right now for this scenario.
    In that light, the purchase years back of 300+ Russian built long range nuclear capable stealth cruise missiles from Ukraine would be a big worry to me if I was an Israeli strategist. I am sure the Iranians want to produce their own version, though I do not know if they have or not. They have the range (IIRC 3,000 km+) to hit Israel, are hard or impossible to intercept, and could be armed with WMD of various types. Even if only 100 are functional now, it is a strong MAD threat to Israel.
    Israel could strike with cruise or ballistic missiles from it’s Dolphin submarines. Unless they use nuclear weapons, the odds of destroying all Iranian nuclear assets are not high, but the chances of wide scale radiation release would be.
    Use of nuclear weapons would invite retaliation in kind, and I am sure Iran has chemical and bio weapons at minimum. After they have been nuked, I don’t see why they would not use them to retaliate.
    Iran probably has other contingency plans for ways to attack Israel that we can’t guess at here, having had many years to prepare. I would not underestimate their resolve, it is only their technical capability that may, I stress may, be lacking. Would they attack US targets in range, or just hit back at Israel, is a wild card, and would probably depend on how much damage Israel does in their initial attack. An unknown unknown there.
    I can come up with many other logical arguments against the idea, but logic and common sense are not exactly Bibi and Avigdor’s etc strong point. It seems such an attack would be a huge negative against Israel in every regard, but that probably won’t stop them. Pride always comes before a fall, as they say, and Israel seems to have no shortage of that. Both sides might end up devastated, it’s a huge reckless gamble.
    In addition, the Russians have Israel over a natural gas barrel. The under water pipeline supposed to be built from Turkey to Israel was to be filled with Russian natural gas. Not sure about the progress there, if any, but it is dependent on Turkish and Russian goodwill to function.

  48. curious says:

    Jordan population is only 6 million, with about 40% palestinian.
    Kinda surprised the palestinian hasn’t taken over that place yet. They are not in position fighting anybody. The Baghdad mob has more man power than they do.

    so anybody come up with a possible Israel-Iran scenario yet?

  49. Harper says:

    I believe that Israel is more likely to hit Iran than not. The IDF operates off of a military doctrine called “effects based operations,” which the U.S. has rejected. A series of papers by U.S. military analysts, including Gen. Mattis, head of the Joint Operations Command, rejects this doctrine, and specifically cites the Israeli invasion of Lebanon as a case study of why is fails. However, Israel still abides by this notion, and it will shape their thinking. Under “effects based operations,” you are not seeking to achieve specific military objectives, but instead, seek to “modify the behavior” of your adversary. A recent WINEP report argued that an Israeli attack on Iran would be a success, even if it did not slow down or halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program, because it would be a “game-changer,” forcing all relevant players to “modify their behavior” towards Iran, Israel, etc. If this all sounds quite mad, you are right. It is, but I fear this madness could impel Israel to take actions that will “change the game” and screw up things in that part of the world and beyond for a long time to come.

  50. Andy says:

    Those you interested in Syrian SAM coverage (as well as other countries) should download Google Earth and then this KML file.

  51. curious says:

    Man, after all the hoopla, bluster, bluff…. WHERE IS THE MISSILE DEFENSE. (somewhere deep inside north korean bunker a general is laughing his ass off and whatta “bunch of suckers”)
    And I bet some Iranian general is stomping his feet. “Dude, how are we suppose to know Israel missile defense performance?”
    And the Russian: “damned, now what? we don’t look so tough bargaining over a system that doesn’t work.”
    whatta waste of greenhouse gas.
    … man, I should write comic about this.
    The three-stage missile flew over Japan, as expected, and the Japanese government announced that it did not use its anti-missile defense system. It had deployed the system in case debris from a failed launch imperiled its territory.

  52. John Kirkman says:

    A friend with time in both F-15/16 suggested a one-way mission followed by ditching at a partisan point. That would eliminate the need for a U.S. OK and Israel would be assured of getting replacement aircraft from a subserviant Congress.

  53. curious says:

    hey, it’s nice using US legal system to whack something in china. Hope they don’t do trade or financial retaliation.
    District Attorney Robert M. Morganthau, left, with Assistant District Attorney Adam Kaufmann, announced that his office has charged a Chinese businessman and his company with recently selling tons of sensitive materials to Iran.
    Mr. Morgenthau said his investigators relied on several weapons experts to assess what the companies were doing. One of those experts, Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, a research organization in Washington, said the results of the investigation were a cause for concern.
    (talking about doing a job for Israel. we gonna get tangled with everybody in the world while the zionists are having their fight with Iran.)

  54. curious says:

    I hope the Israeli feeling a bit better and stop freaking out now.
    Israel on Tuesday tested its Arrow ballistic missile interception system, a costly project launched two decades ago aimed at countering strikes mainly from archfoe Iran.
    The Arrow (Hetz in Hebrew) intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile similar to Iran’s Shahab-3 which can reach Israel. The missile was fired by an Israeli fighter plane over the Mediterranean, a defence official said.
    “This morning, the Arrow system performed a successful test,” the defence ministry said in a statement.
    “The success of the project marks a key step in its development plan and the improvement of the operational systems to offer a response to the growing threat of ballistic missiles in the region.”

  55. curious says:
    Ynet, the Web site of the respected Tel Aviv daily Yediot Aharonot, reported Monday that U.S. funding for the Arrow-3 program is likely to be eliminated.
    However, in compensation, the Obama administration is prepared to help Israel buy the U.S. Navy’s Standard Missile 3 anti-ballistic missile system instead, the report said. The SM-3 is built by Raytheon as its primary contractor.
    Ynet said the U.S. Congress is expected to take up the issue soon, possibly as early as its next session.
    Offering the SM-3 makes a lot of sense and could prove a wiser course of action for Israel than pushing ahead with the Arrow-3. The SM-3 is far more expensive per unit at $10 million to $12 million each, compared with the individual projected cost of the Arrow-3 at only $1.5 million to $2 million each. But the SM-3 is a mature technology whose costs will not rise unexpectedly. The Arrow-3 is still in the developmental stage, and no one knows how high its real costs will reach as opposed to the optimistic projections made for it.

  56. curious says:

    pictures and various stat blurbs on ofeq, AMOS and Shavit (the first two upper stage believed to be jericho)
    obviously it’s accurate enough to insert a low orbit recon sat.

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