April 3, 2006

I'll Believe It When I Believe It

Hatched by Dafydd

Let's see... the Iranian regime -- known far and wide to be liars and braggarts ("wipe Israel off the map," indeed) -- now claim to have developed, in a scant six years, a super missile that is invisible to any radar and also a super torpedo that can destroy any American warship with a single shot and is as fast as the fastest torpedo ever created, the Russian Shkva.

Note, however, the provenance of all these frightening claims:

Iran conducted its second major test of a new missile within days on Sunday, firing a high-speed torpedo it said no submarine or warship can escape at a time of increased tensions with the U.S. over its nuclear program.

The tests came during war games that Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have been holding in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea since Friday.

On the maneuvers' first day, Iran said it successfully tested the Fajr-3 missile, which can avoid radar and hit several targets simultaneously using multiple warheads.

"Iran said." All this information comes from only one source: from the Revolutionary Guards missile-force spokesmen; not from any unbiased, third-party expert. The Guard tells AP, and AP tells the world.

And we're supposed to believe this? We're supposed to believe that, although we can evade Russian and Chinese radar, and our subs can evade detection by all the civilized nations of the world, nevertheless, a third-world basket case with a military technology borrowed from Russia, Red China, and NoKo, has out-innovated the United States, by golly.

A country that is years behind even Pakistan at developing a nuclear weapon says it's now the preeminent designer of missile and torpedo technology that renders obsolete all current countermeasures: jamming, evading, and intercepting. Mirabile dictu!

Sure. I'll buy this when Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei eats a BLT for brunch.

This all comes at a time when Iran knows we're gearing up for a major strike against them, which would necessarily involve maneuvering our warships into the Gulf of Oman, through the Strait of Hormuz, and into the Persian Gulf (almost certainly with support from the United Arab Emirates, just across the strait from Iran -- assuming we haven't angered them too much between now and the attack by systematically squashing every potential commercial contract with them for anything).

Do you think Iran might possibly have a national interest in making the world, and in particular the United States and Israel, believe that they have developed superweapons that would prevent any such attack?

The new "Iranian" torpedo has a speed almost exactly that of a decade-old Russian fish (flying fish, actually):

The Hoot's speed would make it about three or four times faster than a normal torpedo and as fast as the world's fastest known underwater missile, the Russian-made VA-111 Shkval, developed in 1995. It was not immediately known if the Hoot was based on the Shkval.

Let's try it another way: the most plausible explanation is that Russia has given Iran some older Shkvals, and the Iranians repainted them. And this "supermissile" they're talking about sounds remarkably like a 1960s or 70s era cruise missile... either from Russia or France.

The VA-111 Shkval was developed by Russia primarily for use as an anti-torpedo torpedo, or more properly, anti-torpedo underwater missile: the Shkval ("squall") gets its tremendous speed by using supercavitation:

Supercavitation is the use of cavitation effects to create a large bubble of gas inside a liquid, allowing an object to travel at great speed through the liquid by being wholly enveloped by the bubble. The cavity (i.e., the bubble) reduces the drag on the object and precisely this makes supercavitation an attractive technology: drag is normally about 1,000 times greater in water than in air.

In 1977, Soviet engineers developed the first projectile to use supercavitation: the VA-111 Shkval ("Squall") torpedo. This can travel at 230 mph (100 m/s) underwater, compared to the top speed of about 80 mph (35 m/s) for conventional aquatic craft, but it is reportedly not steerable. Even faster speeds of about 310 mph (ca. 140 m/s) and higher have also been rumored. News of the device reached the West in the 1990s.

Here is the point, though: not being steerable, you only get one shot: the Soviets, then the Russians, meant to use it against an enemy torpedo, or failing that, an enemy submarine. Since many torpedoes use a trailing wire to steer towards the target, forcing the enemy sub to swerve and move would probably sever the wire, making the enemy torpedo easy to dodge.

But such advanced techology requires an equally advanced submarine force, crews that spend months honing their skill in real-world simulations... as we routinely do with sea-based missile interceptors, for example. Even if Russia has shipped some Shkvals to the mullahs (or China has, since they also have a bunch, and they have even more reason to arm Teheran against America than Russia does), they're not likely to have sent entire sub crews along as part of the deal... especially given the terrible consequences of being caught. Advisors, yes; actual crews, I doubt the heck out that.

And that means the Iranians with Shkvals are like gang bangers with AK-47s: they're likely more dangerous to bystanders than the intended target.

But we should look for several more such announcements in the next few months, each one eagerly lapped up by the ghouls at the antique media, eager for the exciting possibility of sunken US warships and a crippled and humbled United States. Maybe we'll hear some of these claims:

  • A new super-synthetic-aperature radar that can easily spot any of our "stealth" aircraft;
  • An anti-missile shield that will destroy the birds while they're still halfway out of their ship-based launch tubes;
  • Particle-beam technology that will disintegrate entire carrier battle groups in a few seconds -- the scene in Mars Attacks! was actually footage from a real Iranian test that the mullahs graciously allowed Tim Burton to use;
  • Corner-turning bullets;
  • Hezbollah cyborgs;
  • Several real, live Djinns from bottles dredged up in the Persian Gulf;
  • And of course, get ready for the Iranians to inform the American news media that they've developed nuclear "doomsday" weapons, which have been secretly buried under every major city in the United States. "Touch one single centrifuge at Natanz," President Ahmadinejad will warn, "and all your base are belong to us!"

If ever the elite media can stop quaking in their Birkenstocks, perhaps they can interview some American experts on Iran's missile force as to what these missiles likely are, where they came from, and whether we have techniques for dealing with them.

Unless, that is, such facts won't fit the story the media has already drafted.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 3, 2006, at the time of 5:32 AM

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» Big Lizards' Iranian Skepticism Confirmed! from Big Lizards
A couple of days ago, in I'll Believe It When I Believe It, we were very skeptical about Iran's claims of a whole series of "super new weapons" (now expanded to include an invisible "flying boat" -- hmm... could that... [Read More]

Tracked on April 5, 2006 6:22 AM


The following hissed in response by: CroolWurld

So, if we invade Iran and don't find it, the lefties will be angry?

The above hissed in response by: CroolWurld [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 3, 2006 5:47 AM

The following hissed in response by: Beto Ochoa

Considering the Iraqis' had Russian Kornet Anti Tank Missiles and the Russian are total whores, it's easy to surmise where these toys came from.

The above hissed in response by: Beto Ochoa [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 3, 2006 6:00 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

"The Hoot's speed would make it about three or four times faster than a normal torpedo and as fast as the world's fastest known underwater missile, the Russian-made VA-111 Shkval."

What a hoot!

Couldn't resist; sorry.

I wonder if the Russians will finally cave and stop arming our enemies after the Iranians collapse?

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 3, 2006 6:10 AM

The following hissed in response by: BigLeeH

All our base are belong to Iran?

What happen?

Someone set us up the bomb!

WTF? click here.

The above hissed in response by: BigLeeH [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 3, 2006 7:33 AM

The following hissed in response by: AbbaGav

Don't worry. If things get dicey, we still have the Zionist Death Ray (patent pending) and they KNOW it.

The above hissed in response by: AbbaGav [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 3, 2006 8:16 AM

The following hissed in response by: mike

Thanks to Powerline, I just discovered your blog, which I now place at the top of the list. Keep up the good and insightful work.

The above hissed in response by: mike [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 3, 2006 9:36 AM

The following hissed in response by: MarkD

Let's see, Bush seems to be the sort of simple fool who keeps doing what he says he's going to do, confounding all the sophisticates. Bush says he's not going to leave problems to his successors.

If I'm a mullah seeking martyrdom, threatening him makes sense. Do you suppose the mullahs are trying "death by cop" on a global scale? Or have almost 30 years of unanswered provocations made them believe they are invulnerable?

Because I don't think a magic missile or a terrible torpedo is going to stop us.

The above hissed in response by: MarkD [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 3, 2006 4:23 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

I had my doubts already but thanks for the additional info. I linked from "I'll Believe It When I Believe It"

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 3, 2006 9:11 PM

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