July 19, 2006

One Out of One Newspaper Agrees - With Big Lizards!

Hatched by Dafydd

It's nice to see the antique media finally catching up to the dextrosphere:

Israel is in the best position militarily in its history to mount air strikes against Iran, after a decade of buying U.S.-produced long-range aircraft, penetrating bombs and aerial refueling tankers.

We're a bit late to the table on this one, which should hardly be a surprise. (Our new motto, as soon as I get industrious enough to add it to the logo -- probably later rather than sooner -- is "Never first, always final!") Power Line has already mentioned it briefly, though for some odd reason, they missed the most critically important point: that the Washington Times agrees with Big Lizards.

So let's delve a bit deeper. Here is what Israel has recently purchased:

  • 25 F-15I (the I stands for Israel) "Ra'am" attack jets, the Israeli version of the American long-range attack jet, the F-15E "Strike Eagle":

    The F-15E Strike Eagle is a modern United States all-weather strike fighter, designed for long-range interdiction of enemy ground targets deep behind enemy lines....

    The only significant difference remaining between the F-15I and the F-15E is that the F-15Is were delivered without Radar Warning Receivers. Israel installed its own electronic warfare equipment in its F-15s. The F-15Is' missing electronics have been replaced by the Israeli Elisra SPS-2110 Integrated Electronic Warfare System. A central computer and embedded GPS/INS system have also been fitted. All of the aircraft's sensors can be slaved to a helmet-mounted sight, giving both crew members an efficient targeting mechanism that the F-15E does not possess.

    The Ra'am's advanced systems include an APG-70 radar with terrain mapping capability. The sharp picture that the APG-70 provides, regardless of weather conditions and light, makes it possible to locate targets that are otherwise very hard to find - i.e. missile batteries, tanks and structures - even under such adverse conditions as complete fog cover, heavy rain or moonless nights.

  • 102 F-16I "Sufa" fighter/attack jets (60 in hand), a modified F-16 "Fighting Falcon", a.k.a. Viper:

    The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a modern multi-role jet fighter aircraft designed in the United States. Designed as a lightweight fighter, it evolved into a successful multi-role aircraft....

    Block 50/52 Plus for Israeli Defense Force - Air Force, with significant Israeli avionics replacing that of American firms (Such as Israeli Aerial Towed Decoy replacing the ALE-50). The addition of Israeli built autonomous aerial combat maneuvering instrumentation systems enables the training exercises to be conducted without the dependence on the ground instrumentation systems, and the helmet mounted sight is also a standard equipment. The F-16I also has the Israeli built removable conformal fuel tanks added.

  • 500 U.S. BLU-109 "bunker buster" bombs:

    The BLU-109/B is a hardened penetration bomb used by United States military aircraft. (BLU is an acronym for Bomb Live Unit.) It is intended to smash through concrete shelters and other hardened structures before exploding.

    The Washington Times notes that a BLU-109 "could penetrate the concrete protection around some of Iran's underground facilities, such as the uranium enrichment site at Natanz."

  • A fleet of Boeing 707 in-flight "boom and receptacle" refuelers.

The Washington Times interviews Air Force Lt.Gen. Thomas McInerney, who is also a frequent Fox News Channel military analyst (it's fair to call Gen. McInerney "conservative leaning"):

"They have the capability to strike Iran," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney, a former fighter pilot who has trained with Israelis. "It would be limited, though. They could do 30 to 40 'aim points' in the array. I'm not worried about them hitting the targets. They will suffer losses, but they are capable of doing it."

He said Israeli fighter pilots are "the best in the world. I've flown against them. They train better. They get more flying time."

(That last comment got a testy reply from Power Line reader Tom "Duke" Beattie, a light colonel in the US Air Force; he complained that American pilots were actually better than Israelis. And I was totally on board -- until I came to this last line of his: "In today's world rankings, I'd probably rate the IAF # 3, right behind the USAF, # 1 and the US Navy/Marines, # 2."

I think it's all that skiing they do in Aspen in between classes at the Academy; it goes to their heads.

(When the Air Force starts landing on a 320-foot runway surrounded by seawater as it pitches and rolls in the waves, catching a trap and jerking to a halt in just 1.5 seconds... then maybe they'll be entitled to claim to be at least equal in skill to our Navy and Marine pilots. Feh.)

But here is where the Washington Times falls short of the imagination mark. They (and Gen. McInerney) all assume the planes must launch from Israel, then return there when they finish their bombing runs. This misses the possibility of TDYing the Israeli jets to Iraq for long enough to really do a good job -- possibly fighting alongside American jets, but perhaps doing it entirely on their own as well (though I don't know what would be the advantage to the United States of being passive here; our enemies won't be fooled and our friends will be disappointed).

It would be very tricky diplomatically -- assuming Iran had not done something in the meanwhile to make itself even more a pariah than it is now. But I think it very likely they will: they seem quite determined to escalate all the conflicts they've started recently into apocalyptic, existential confrontations. As I said before, they will surely attack Iraq directly before they'll attack Israel directly.

By that point, depending what Iran has done, the Iraqis may be overjoyed to let Israelis use their land to crush the mullahs.

The "peace process" has had plenty of innings, and it hasn't gotten a single run on the board. All I am saying is give war a chance.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 19, 2006, at the time of 4:17 PM

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The following hissed in response by: MTF

While lots of possible methods were discussed here the other day for Israel to attack Iran, another possible way for Israel to do it that I don't think was mentioned is to use one or even several of our carriers (if they can land on carriers); a sort of modern lend-lease program.

The Saudis will probably give clearance now to Israel to fly south and land onto the ships. The ships then transport the attack planes closer to Iran, end the threat to civilization, and the planes could then land and refuel in Iraq for the homward bound trip (maybe in Kurdish territory just to make the whole thing very deniable for the Iraqis). Buzz Assad again on the way home, after refueling, and he'll finally sign a peace treaty probably before they land.

Planes flying low, below radar, and coming from the south. Surprise!

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 19, 2006 6:16 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Sadly, Israel's best planes -- the F-15s and F-16s -- are USAF planes, not USN, and they cannot land on carriers.

Or rather, they can land on a carrier... once. Japanese style. Point first. Sort of like a dart on a dartboard.

But it would probably be safer just to point the plane over the open ocean and punch out (more survivable).


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 19, 2006 10:31 PM

The following hissed in response by: Addison Ingle

An old Navy Saying:

Flare to land, squat to pee.

The above hissed in response by: Addison Ingle [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 20, 2006 4:55 AM

The following hissed in response by: drdoct

There's something else that not many are saying. It involves our involvement, but much less than landing in Iraq or on carriers. Israel should buy the JP5 from us to be delivered at 25000 feet over Iraq. There would be no ground involvment and almost no proof if done right... refuel, bomb, refuel, go home. It's VERY doable since we own the skies over Iraq and the Persian gulf. Our refueling capabilities are awesome and take very little time. Also, Navy is definately #1. Those guys pretty much fly every day the ship is at sea at least 2 sorties too.

The above hissed in response by: drdoct [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 20, 2006 5:57 AM

The following hissed in response by: yetanotherjohn

I was intrigued by the Iraqi government notion. I really don't know the internals well enough to understand how the idea might evolve. Assuming the Kurds would be on board. The Sunnis would also be likely on board. The Shia plurality would probably split. But the combination might be enough to get an engraved invitation sent out.

To put icing on the cake, they could use the totally Iraqi provinces as the staging zone. If you really wanted to cause the BDS nose bleeds to flow, Israel could hire Haliburton to get the beans and bullets to the air bases.

The down side would be it would make Iraq look like it was on Israel's side.

As another interesting possibility, consider the Saudi position on the Hezbollah attack, the Fatwa out of the house of Saud and the general geo-political positions of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Add to that several large, currently unoccupied airbases in Saudia Arabia, a wide open front to attack across and the difficulty of the Iranians to strike back and that becomes an interesting position.

The above hissed in response by: yetanotherjohn [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 20, 2006 8:26 AM

The following hissed in response by: BigLeeH

One possibility that intrigues me is for Israel to plan to make an "unplanned" "emergency" landing in Iraq after the strike. Officially they would neither ask permission from the Iraqi government nor even notify them in advance that they will be running out of gas when they are over Iraq after bombing the bejesus (the bemoses?) out of Iran.

This would give the Iragi pols the altogether necessary ability to have it both ways -- to cooperate with Israel in getting the job done, which they know to be in thir best interest (both as representatives of their country and personally), while at the same time allowing them to publicly denounce the actions of the "Zionist Entity" and to avoid trouble with the Islamicist constituency in Iraq. Hypocrisy is a necessary virtue in a polititian in Iraq -- it's called being full of shiite.

The above hissed in response by: BigLeeH [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 21, 2006 2:30 AM

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