Sunday, March 8, 2009
S-300 MISSILE DELIVERY TRIGGER FOR ISRAELI ATTACK ON IRAN
Russia's transfer of its S-300 air-defense systems to Iran would be the trigger point for Israel to take Iran to war, says a US think-tank.
As Iran's quest to obtain the sophisticated Russian-made anti-aircraft missile system S-300 continues to spark controversy, a new "Presidential Task Force" report on Iran by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy warns about the consequences of Iran acquiring the weapon.
The report says the potential transfer of the S-300 systems to Iran "gives rise to the grave risk that Israel could feel compelled to act before the cost of doing so is too high."
The bi-partisan authors of the document, titled, "Preventing a Cascade of Instability," propose that the US "should promptly provide Israel with the capabilities -- modern aircraft -- to continue to threaten high-value Iranian targets" once Russia starts the S-300 delivery.
The "Presidential Task Force" report maintains that the US arms offer to Israel could be used as leverage in pressuring Russia against the sale of S-300 systems to Iran.
The "rebalance of the strategic equation" would come as a result of an assessment of the S-300 system by US and Israeli weapons experts which has described the weapon as an element that can effectively rule out a successful attack against Iran.
"If Tehran obtained the S-300, it would be a game-changer in military thinking for tackling Iran," says long-time Pentagon advisor Dan Goure.
The surface-to-air system tracks targets using a mobile radar station, immune to jamming.
Aside from the modern aircraft the US has been advised to provide for Israel, Israeli military experts have been on the move to enhance their offensive capabilities.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is reportedly developing a killer drone, known as Harop, which can be used against "anti-aircraft systems and mobile or concealed ballistic missile launchers".
Harop, which is deployed as a "fire and forget" weapon, is designed to travel over 1,000 kilometers to loiter over suspected locations to spot and attack targets as they are exposed right before activation.
William Schneider, one of the authors of the report and a former under secretary of state in the Reagan administration told a news conference on Wednesday that Iran has ready access to enough fissile material to produce up to 50 nuclear weapons should they decide to make such bombs.
"The ability to go from low enriched uranium to highly enriched uranium, especially if [the Iranians] expand the number of centrifuges, would be a relatively brief period of time, perhaps a year or so, before they'd be able to produce a nuclear weapon," Schneider said.
In order for Iran to build a nuclear weapon, it needs to reconfigure its existing centrifuge enrichment plant at Natanz to reprocess LEU into weapons-grade HEU, or build clandestine facilities without the knowledge of UN inspectors.
An UN nuclear watchdog official speaking on condition of anonymity responded later by saying that the nuclear watchdog's monitors and surveillance equipment at the Iranian facilities have not detected any reconfiguration activity on centrifuges, adding that there exists no evidence that Iran is building a clandestine facility to produce the highly enriched uranium needed for bomb fuel.
IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming for her part dismissed the possibility of any such move by Iran explaining that, "No nuclear material could have been removed from the facility without the agency's knowledge since the facility is subject to video surveillance and the nuclear material has been kept under seal.
"The report by the US think-tank adds that any attempt by the US to hinder the sale of the S-300 systems to Iran should be done while making clear that "the US objective is to delay an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities while the international community continues its efforts to convince Iran to abandon its program."
Iran's Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar visited Moscow last month in what was widely believed to be in pursuit of the finalization of a deal on the advanced Russian system.
While there was no official confirmation about the controversial defense systems following the Iranian minister's return, Evgenia Voiko, an analyst from the Center for Current Politics -- an analytical agency close to the Kremlin -- told Press TV that Russia would not let the Iranian general return to his country empty-handed.
"The deals would be beneficial for Russia. Iran is one of Russia's largest military and technical partners. It would be imprudent to lose such a promising customer," Voiko added.
Kommersant had earlier reported that while an $800 million contract for five S-300 systems had already been signed between Iran and Russia, Moscow has yet to make a decision on whether to deliver them.
One of the more popular misconceptions stems from Israel's successful attack on the Syrian/North Korean nuclear facility.
1) Syria did not have S-300/400 systems. What they had were Tor missiles, which are short-range SAMs. The S-300/400 systems are long-range SAMs that are several magnitudes more capable than the Tors.
2) Syria had not protected that site adequately. They wanted it to appear non-military, and that gambit failed.
3) Even then, the Israelis utilized the path of least resistance, flying partially through Turkish airspace.
Thus, while the incident is always used to make the S-300 seem like crap, the fact is the system was not even in Syria, and the system that was present was a short-range SAM system, and moreover the Israelis prudently used the most optimal route.
There IS a reason the Israelis would attack Iran the moment they knew for certain the S-300 was being delivered.
There is a reason the Israelis have been telling Russia not to sell the system.
There is a reason that system is one of the most sought after SAM systems around, even though it is not cheap.
Reason is, as part of a integrated air-defense system (IADS), it can really cause a lot of hell for legacy fighters (e.g. F-15s, F-16s, MiGs, Sus, F/A-18s, etc) .... you'd need a Raptor or a B-2 to effectively penetrate a S-300/400 centered IADS (the wavelength used in the radars make the use, and survivability, of the F-35 somewhat questionable), and the system has a very long range.
Anyway, just doing my part to add more fact and less fiction.
Looking at the first Gulf War, the Iraqi defense network, even when faced with the combined might of the free world, and dedicated Wild Weasel teams to hunt down SAMs (as well as F-117 taking out nodal communication points, all the way to Tomahawks doing their part ...including filaments to short out communication) still managed to shoot down a number of planes.
Now, imagine Iran (whose current IADS is a generation and a half better than what the Iraqis had 2 decades ago), and who have learned from that experience, now with a S-300 centered advanced IADS ....and facing off not against the quality and quantity of the entire free world, but against Israel by itself.
I'd still put my money on Israel (the Israelis are that good), but the fact remains the Israeli airforce would lose a huge component of its attacking force if it allowed the IADS to be up and running before the attack.
Anyway, again, people can say that the S-300 was in Syria back then, but there is a reason the Israelis are not happy concerning the proposed sale of the S-300 system to Iran.
(As an aside, the S-300 in China could target and engage Taiwanese aircraft flying within Taiwan).
"you'd need a Raptor or a B-2 to effectively penetrate a S-300/400 centered IADS"
Both of which are detectable by low band radar.
No, what you need are EA-6Bs providing SEAD. With that platform, legacy fighters, as well as the overhyped B-2 and F-22, will be able to penetrate and defeat the air defense network.
The limiting factor on the effectiveness of any strike wil be the number of Prowlers deployed.
"Anyway, just doing my part to add more fact and less fiction".
You omitted the most important part of the equation.