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Iran
Sub claim `impossible’ - Could the LA Times be wrong
2003-10-13
Israeli and foreign defence experts yesterday dismissed a report that Israel had modified submarine-based missiles to carry nuclear warheads, saying such an alteration was technically impossible. The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that Israel had altered some of its nuclear warheads to fit U.S.-made Harpoon cruise missiles and upgraded the missiles so they could hit targets on land and at sea. Former Israeli deputy defence minister Efraim Sneh called the assertion "simply impossible."
Did Gray Davis leak the information to the LA Times?
"Anyone with even the slightest understanding of missiles knows that the Harpoon can never be used to carry nuclear warheads," he told Army Radio. Ted Hooton, editor of Jane’s Naval Weapon Systems in London, agreed with the assessment, saying problems with payload weight would put the Harpoon out of balance, limiting its range and accuracy. "It seems to me that a nuclear weapon, which is extremely dense, would make the Harpoon nose heavy and significantly reduce its range — in any event well below the (150 kilometres) it is designed for," Hooton said.

Like a nuclear weapon, the LA Times is extremely dense. I’m sure that the Israelis would love to conduct a sub launched missle attack against the Iranian nuclear facility. In order to accomplish this attack with a harpoon, you would have to bring the sub into dry dock, mount it on a trailer and then drive the trailer to within about 100 NM of the target.

I went to Expedia and tried to plan a route through Iran for the submarine on the flatbed, but I decided to scrap the idea. Mapquest doesn’t have information about bridge clearance. The height of the periscope was the kicker that caused me to scrap the whole plan.

Harpoons are designed for striking ships. Programming them to accept GPS coordinates is an add-on, but a nice one that allows for an F-15 or F-16 strike that has simular results to a Tomahawk strike.

The range and price of the Tomahawk make it the weapon of choice for sub-launched attacks by British or US forces. The weight and length of the Tomahawk may not be suitable for the Dolphin class subs that Isreal has. It would also be unusual for a diesel boat to be deployed that far out of home port. They are normally used for coastal defense.
Posted by:Super Hose

#8  Popeye! or Popeye Turbo

Bingo, Shipman.
Posted by: Pappy   2003-10-13 6:47:01 PM  

#7  I don't think there is any question that Th evil Zionists could take out the Iranian facility with an F-16 strike - possibly even using harpoons.

My problem is with the LA Times story. If you are going to write a story about an evil Zionist plot at least do the homework.

The Isreali's have pointed out that backfitting a heavy warhead onto an existing missile takes quite a bit of work and testing. (I would think that the Israelis would stand a better chance of accomplishing thie task than the NK does.) Why not just steal the plans for a TLAM-N? If the plans exist in Los Alamos, I'm surprised you can buy a set of prints on E-bay.

Only the LA Times would print that the harpoon is a threat to a facility in Tehran.
Posted by: Super Hose   2003-10-13 2:15:16 PM  

#6  On the other other hand, so to speak, a Dolphin/Harpoon combo would be perfect for taking down Cairo or Damascus.

Just sayin' y'know?
Posted by: Mike   2003-10-13 2:15:04 PM  

#5  ..Harpoon - and its kid brother TLAM - could probably carry W-80 series warheads, but as has been pointed out, it wouldn't be very far. Plus, there a real issues with how the boat gets to within launch range.
On the other hand...Frank G has a point. The Mullahs simply don't know what the Zionist Entity (TM)has up its sleeve. The clue here will be to see what if anything Tehran does with its SS fleet in the next few weeks. If they suddenly start surging and staying out to sea, along with an upsurge in PatRon activity, my feeling would be that they've bought it...which is fine with me.

Mike
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski   2003-10-13 1:37:41 PM  

#4  AGM-142 HAVE NAP

Popeye! or Popeye Turbo

Range 930 miles, 200 KT warhead, launched from the 4 Dolphin class subs
Posted by: Shipman   2003-10-13 1:33:49 PM  

#3  Wouldn't need a strike on Tehran. Just need to hit Busheur. Probably also needn't be a Harpoon as weapon of choice, or a sub-only attack either.
Posted by: Pappy   2003-10-13 12:58:08 PM  

#2  Also, this could be floated just to make the Rafsanjani's of the Mullahworld know they can't expect a decapitating first strike on the evil Joooos. There will be a mushroom cloud on Tehran
Posted by: Frank G   2003-10-13 12:20:04 PM  

#1  SH, true, the French Dolphin class isn't that capable of making the round trip to the coast of Iran (actually, would have to sneak into the Persian Gulf to get the range right), but diesel-powered US submarines ran patrols from Hawaii to Japan and back, so it's feasible. You need a bigger sub than a Dolphin, however, and I don't think the US has sold one of the old "Tang" classes in decades. The older subs were also significantly noisier and more detectable, making it a lose-lose situation.

A more likely candidate for carrying Israeli nukes would be one of their Reshef class, modified, with a tanker somewhere in the Indian Ocean for refueling. Again, their normal complement is anti-shipping missiles, but they're large enough to be modified to carry a bigger missile with a larger warhead.
Posted by: Old Patriot   2003-10-13 12:15:46 PM  

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