ISRAEL’S ABILITY TO STRIKE IRAN
Linked below is a good writeup about how Israel would attack Iran’s nuclear sites. It gives specific detail as to the aircraft and weaponeering that would be involved to accomplish the task. What is clear is that Israel cannot completely vanquish Iran’s nuclear development capabilities but they can significantly forestall them. As discussed here before, the nuclear enrichment site at Fordow, buried deep inside a mountain, would take almost every GPS guided “bunker buster” bomb in Israel’s inventory to destroy the complex, and even then it would be unlikely that such a strike would be successful. Alternatively, Israel may be able to destroy the entrances to the complex, but the actual facility itself would most likely remain intact. Even America’s Massive Ordinance Penetrator (MOP) in it’s current configuration is said to lack the ability to destroy the Fordow facility. Money has been granted under an emergency request to increase the MOP’s penetrating capabilities, but the chances of Israel being assisted in such and assault by US MOP wielding B-2s is almost nil. The use of Israeli special operations commandos to take down and demolish the Fordow facility is a real possibility, but such a choice would drastically increase Israel’s stakes during such a raid, although this may be the best option if taking the site completely offline is seen as an absolute necessity.
Regardless of how or when Israel decides to strike, it would most likely cause a retaliation of large proportions “against the free world” that “allowed” such an attack to take place. Iran’s proxies in and surrounding Israel, most notably Hamas and Hezbollah, would most likely mount a massive offensive against soft targets in Israel via direct attacks and rocket barrages. Iran would most likely directly respond via an attempt to close the Straits of Hormuz and/or a ballistic and cruise missile attack on key western targets throughout the region. If Saudi Arabia allows refueling and rearming of Israeli jets in their territories, or even overflight rights of their country for such a raid, Iran would probably retaliate directly against Saudi oil facilities in the Gulf. To put it mildly, the aftermath of an Israeli unilateral strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities will be a total mess that would probably lead to massive oil shortages and possibly a much wider conflict.
Sadly it seems without a direct diplomatic solution, which is highly unlikely, some sort of conflict is almost certain regarding Iran’s nuclear program. That or a nuclear arms race across the Arabian Peninsula will become a reality…
THE ISRAELI AIR FORCE WANTS MORE F-35’s BEFORE THE FIRST ONE EVEN ARRIVES
It looks like the IAF want’s 40 active F-35’s by the end of the decade. This would give the Israel’s air arm a massive increase in capability compared to it neighbors. I do find it odd that the F-35 partners still believe in production and testing timelines that have been proven optimistic time and time again. I would also think that given Israel’s limited aerial tanking capabilities and their country’s small geographical size that purchasing a batch of F-35Bs would be in their best interest. Being able to land and refuel at a forward operating base before or after a long range mission, or operate from austere locations after your runways have been cratered, would give the IAF a massive capability and survivability boost.
M-346 Master Is Selected By Israel For Future Advanced Trainer
Israel ended up going with the Italian M-346 Master advanced jet trainer, instead of the Korean T-50 “Golden Eagle,” after a bitterly fought bidding process that was loaded down with industry offsets and other incentives. Both are capable trainers, the T-50 being more of an “F-16 Light” and the M-346 being more of a trainer that could be turned into a light fighter, and after loads of industry incentives for both buyer and seller it was almost impossible to truly gauge what deal was best. I am not certain, but I would venture to guess that the M-346 was the cheapest option for the basic requirement. We have seen more of this lately where the lowest bidder seems to come out victorious, as in India’s much sought after MRCAA contract and with Switzerland with it’s F-5 replacement tender. Are we entering an age where excess capability delivered at greater cost is a thing of the past? It would appear so…