Defense Media Network

Things to Think About Before Israel Attacks Iran

For several years, Israel has publicly and explicitly stated that if Iran attempts to develop a nuclear weapon, Israel will attack to prevent the program from succeeding or to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability. This is the most important security threat of the new century. Iran getting the bomb would be bad, but Israel going to war against Iran would be almost as bad.

Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of discussion in the media about the issue. Is Iran really building a nuclear weapon? When will it be ready? Could Israel really destroy or significantly delay the Iranian nuclear weapons program? What would be the consequences? These are worthwhile questions, but somewhere around question three everyone gets tangled up in the details.

Few news anchors or talk show hosts have the military or scientific understanding to ask decent questions. Worse still are the many pundits who have been interviewed, and having been asked a useless question, provided a useless answer. As a result, countless photons have been sacrificed to no good end.

I am desperately interested in this issue, as many others are, and have suffered countless disappointments as anchors rehash old questions or misinterpret a talking head’s answer. And may the ghost of Sun Tzu haunt those hired guns that claim to have the inside story. Save us from their misinformation. Or outright fabrications.

The points listed below are routinely missed in any discussion of a potential attack by Israel on Iran. While it is impossible to find any fact that 100 percent of the people will agree with (see www.flatearth.com), these approach 95 percent or better:

 

1) The Iranian bomb program isn’t about just Natanz.

In fact, Natanz is almost redundant. There are two paths to developing a nuke: Enrichment to get Uranium-235, or extraction of Plutonium-239 from used reactor fuel. The Iranians are pursuing both routes.

There are seven publicly known installations at four locations that are essential to the Iranian nuclear weapons program: The heavy water reactor and heavy water plant at Arak, the uranium enrichment sites at Natanz and Qom (Fordow), and the fuel manufacturing plant, uranium conversion facility, and zirconium processing plant at Esfahan. They are all in the Israelis’ target folders.

Bushehr is not on the list. This is the Iranian’s “Potemkin” reactor. “See? Peaceful neutrons!” It is extremely difficult to extract weapons-grade plutonium from a light water reactor like Bushehr, and the Russians have been scrupulous about controlling the fuel. Bombing Bushehr would be a waste.
Of the seven installations, only the two centrifuge facilities are hardened against air attack. The other five, and most of Natanz for that matter, are housed in ordinary industrial structures.

Question for news anchors to use: Why is Natanz so heavily defended and protected, while equally important installations are virtually naked?

 

2) The Israelis can’t do it all in one day, or one raid.

This isn’t Osiraq in 1981, or Syria in 2007. There are too many targets in each facility, and they’re too spread out. Four locations would suggest at least four raids, with re-strikes a possibility. Esfahan by itself demands two squadrons of strikers, in addition to the support aircraft. That’s including the larger size of Israeli squadrons (24 planes instead of the standard 12).

Question for the news anchors to use: How many targets will the Israelis attack at once? Will they go only for critical structures (with less psychological impact) or general obliteration?

 

3) The Iranians can’t stop the Israelis from penetrating their airspace and bombing at will.

Unless the Israelis make a major mistake, or the Iranians get very lucky, Israeli losses will be few to none.

The Israeli Air Force is a first-rate organization, with realistic training, top-of-the line equipment, and a leadership honed by years of conflict. Israeli electronic warfare skills include not only state-of-the-art conventional jamming, but “Suter” attacks: Essentially hacking into the enemy’s air defense network and messing with his mind. (“These are not the planes you’re looking for.”)

By contrast, the Iranian Air Defense Force (a separate military service in Iran), is equipped with a mix of ‘50s British, ‘60s U.S., and ‘90s Chinese radars (and the Chinese radars are really ‘70s technology). Their SAM inventory includes slightly upgraded copies of the old Russian SA-2 and SA-5, and the Hawk missile (which entered U.S. service in 1971) is still a major player. Their best fighters are two squadrons of early model MiG-29s, which are backed up by F-14s used as air-to-air fighter controllers. The AWG-9 on those 30+ year-old Tomcats is still the best air-to-air radar they’ve got. The rest of their air force is even less capable.

Question for news anchors to use: Given that GPS-guided ordnance can be lob-tossed from over ten miles away, why are the Iranians planting rings of antiaircraft guns around Natanz? Even their 100mm guns only have a range of about five miles.

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  • Ken Collins

    Excellent information and report. Would like to hear more.

  • Danny Turner

    Israel will probably proceed with an attack. It will probably be sooner than later. The world should know that you don’t mess with Israel, not even the United States. Wait and see. Thanks for the comment space.

  • Chuck Oldham (Editor)

    You will be hearing more on this subject from Larry Bond in the days to come, assuming the upcoming new moon period doesn’t make all our speculation moot.

  • I think most folks are unaware of Israels capabilities. And it would not hurt anyone to get more familiar with the Holy Bible. God has his hand on Israel. That’s really all anyone needs to know. Please Read.
    I pray that she will be wise and that Americans support her efforts.

  • > Given that GPS-guided ordnance can be lob-tossed from over ten miles away,
    > why are the Iranians planting rings of antiaircraft guns around Natanz ?

    To defend against an airborne commando raid ? It seems an unlikely event considering basic logistical obstacles, but the essence of the military is to be prepared for anything – especially with desperate Israeli around.

  • While I find this article – and its essence – an ‘interesting reading’, and agree with Mr Bond’s observation about the (next-to-non-existing) quality of mass-media-reporting when it comes to military issues (in general, but especially when it comes to Iran), I can’t but observe that author’s information about equipment of the Iranian air force (IRIAF) and air defence force (IRIADF) is hopelessly off the mark. Sure, it is ‘perfectly in line’ with the standard quality of knowledge about this topic in the USA, so also between notable ‘experts’. Still, I would characterise it as at least ‘entirely inadequate’ for somebody in his position – and especially for somebody who complains about the (poor) quality of news anchors and talkshows. In Mr Bond’s own words: ‘Bad information could lead to a bad decision. We all need to study up’.

  • “His information about radars that are a mix of ‘50s British, ‘60s U.S., and ‘90s Chinese radars (and the Chinese radars are really ‘70s technology) is so hopelessly obsolete and such an underestimate, it’s next to nonsense. This might have been the case some 7-10 years ago, but not now.

    Perhaps the author can ask what are all the 200,000 employees of the IEI (Iranian Electronic Industries) and subsidiaries paid for?

    Not to sit on their hands.

    If nothing else, the author missed an entire series of indigenous Iranian radars that are meanwhile in widespread service ‘INR’ – class.

    Also, the IRIAF does not consider its two – much-under strength – MiG-29 units as its ‘best fighters’. They know better than any of us that the type has been compromised to the West and could hardly play anything like a ‘major’ role in any kind of major wars.

    On the contrary: the three (main) squadrons of F-14s are no ‘back-ups’ for MiG-29s, but the total number of operational F-14s is also much higher than that of MiG-29s. With other words, and to paraphrase a former US president: ‘It’s the Tomcats, Stupid’…”

  • Olaf Brescia

    Good article. I like it!

  • that’s a really interesting article but there are more things should be noticed:
    the war is a mutual action , involves attack & defense. while the most prefer to talk about offensive methods there are also reliable defensive method that sometimes are really effective.

    for example it is possible that Iran cant stop penetrating but can make it disturb by first layer of EW “electronic warfare ” and anti aircraft mine,gun , missile

    about extraction PU from fuel: if you have will power , every things is possible although eve talking about is hard . 400 kg of PU from fuel can be extracted/year

    you need weapons to defend you self not to offense , so their want is because of the threat against them . more pressure more will power to have more strength, like the process of north Korea.

    about strait of Hormuz: yes channel is deep and current too fast , but doesn’t mean that is not possible , in the other hand mines could be spread over sea by helicopter , or improvised small submarine by cluster , in the other there are too many small high speed small boats , ..
    and finally after all above and if we suppose those fighters penetrate through all shields , what can do about improvised passive defense techniques for more information look at the good article recently published below.
    most of designers don’t say about the flaws they talk about advantages to show they are intelligent enough to overcome everything look at the document i recommended
    bunker buster is amazing doll like many other technologies around but in a different view there are many flaws to defeat them all and there are also passive methods that makes air strikes inefficient in different ways as below:
    -Bomb fuses path deflection to increase failure rate and stop direct penetration
    -Bomb capture (spider mesh technique)
    -Electronic warfare technique (jamming, faraday cage…)
    -Anti aircraft mine (aerial balloon bombs)
    -Improvised shelter (UHPC & multi-layer bunkers containing materials with different density)
    read more here:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/122150713/Project-spider-Massive-natural-passive-defense-against-air-raid-by-anna-farahmand