Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Israel Atomics VII.

This is coolbert:


13. The most recent revelations about purported Israeli nuclear capability seem to suggest that Israel has now fielded ballistic missile submarines that have a nuclear capability. A capability that for all intents and purposes seems to have targets far afield from the traditional enemies of Israel.

In the last few years, Israel has received three German made submarines of the Dolphin class [click here to see an excellent site about the Dolphin class sub]. And it seems these submarines are equipped with some sort of cruise missile [Popeye??] that will be nuclear tipped. [click here to see a site about the Popeye].

"In May 2000 Israel is reported to have secretly carried out its first test launches from two German-built Dolphin-class submarines of cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The missiles launched from vessels off Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean are said to have hit a target at a range of about 1,500 kilometers. Israel is reported to possess a 200kg nuclear warhead, containing 6kg of plutonium, that could be mounted on cruise missiles."

This capability is undoubtedly in response to new threats against Israel of a nuclear nature that have come to the forefront recently.

One threat of course is Iran. Involved, also undoubtedly, in it's own nuclear development program. Iran, it is believed, will be nuclear armed at some time in the near future. One of the leading clerics in Iran was quoted as saying at one point, "just one a-bomb on Tel Aviv and most of Israel will be destroyed" [this cleric the next day is reported to have modified his statement].

And of course, the threat from Pakistan cannot be also denied. An Islamic country possessing about forty to fifty nuclear weapons, Pakistan, while currently under what is considered to be stable military rule, could at some time in the future become fundamentalist and rabidly anti-Israel.

For decades there has been talk of the Islamic a-bomb as being a tool to use against Israel. Now this is a reality.

In the past, Israeli missiles such as the Jericho or Israeli aircraft such as the F-16 would have sufficed as nuclear delivery systems to deal with nearby Arab neighbors that posed a threat.

 Iran and Pakistan pose a different threat that requires a long range strike capability. Israel obviously wants to deter the threat with it's submarines on patrol. Submarines presumably equipped with nuclear tipped cruise missiles. "You attack us and we will obliterate you", seems to be the message Israel is sending.

There seems to be a lot of discussion on the web of where these sub will be based. Patrols will commence from there exactly?

Traditionally Israeli naval activity is based in Haifa.

But to have a real threat against Pakistan or Iran, it would seem that the submarines, at least one of them, would have to be based at a port [Eilat??] on the Gulf of Aqaba. Access from the gulf, allows entry to the Red Sea and then to the Indian Ocean. This seems to be a point of contention among the "experts" at this time, the basing.

"Israel's seaborne nuclear doctrine is designed to place one submarine in the Persian Gulf, the other in the Mediterranean, with a third on standby. Secret test launches of the cruise missile systems were understood to have been undertaken in May 2000 when Israel carried out tests in the Indian Ocean."

Click here to see an article that explains the problems and ramifications of basing.

I was also interested to note that some months ago now, several national U.S. newspaper columnists did make brief comments regarding the deployment of these submarines. This was done as if someone had briefed them [someone probably did] as what to write and how to emphasize the point that these subs were now out there. Equipped with nukes.

Ambiguity with opacity as the Israeli would put it.


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