http://www.emetreport.com/Iran%20Gets%20a%20Big%20Solid%20From%20Pakistan.htmLoading Poll.....Iran recently test fired a two
stage, solid fuel ballistic missile, the Sejil II. This missile has a
range of 2,000 kilometers, and can reach Israel. Iran already has dozens
of liquid fuel missile with the same range, the Shahab 3. What makes
the Sejil II more dangerous is the fact that it can be fired on short
notice. The Shahab 3 takes several hours to get ready, as the liquid
fuel must be pumped into the missile. Israeli spies and photo satellites
can spot the Shahab 3s being fueled, allowing the Israeli anti-missile
systems to be placed on a higher degree of readiness. This makes it more
likely that the Iranian missiles would be intercepted.
The Sejil II is not really a
surprise. A year ago, Iran tested a new IRBM (Intermediate Range
Ballistic Missile) called the Sejil. This was a solid fuel missile. Two
years ago, Iran had a failed test of a solid fuel ballistic missile it
called "Ashura." The Sajil appeared to be the Ashura with a new name,
and modifications that make it work. Even then, the big question was,
who did they get the solid fuel manufacturing technology from? There are
many potential vendors (North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, China, or even
stolen from the West). The Ashura test failure last year involved some
problem with the second stage, not with the solid fuel rocket motors.
Iran has been manufacturing solid fuel for smaller rockets for over a
decade, but had not yet developed the technology to build larger, and
reliable, solid fuel rocket motors. Israel believes that Iran got the
advanced solid fuel technology from Pakistan.
For the last five years,
Iran has been producing Shahab 3 IRBMs. This missile is basically 1960s
technology, with the addition of GPS guidance. Russian and North Korean
missile technology has been obtained to make the Shahab 3 work. This has
resulted in a missile that apparently will function properly about 80
percent of the time, and deliver a warhead of about one ton, to a range
of some 1,700 kilometers, to within a hundred meters of where it was
aimed. By world standards, this is a pretty effective weapon. A solid
fuel version of this missile would be, if the solid fuel was of
reasonable quality, about ten percent more reliable than liquid fuel,
and easier to hide and launch.
Iran has continued to refine
the Shahab 3 design, and conduct test firings. Iran is believed to have
50-100 Shahab 3s, and is building about one a month. Israel appears to
be the main target. Iran has threatened Israel with destruction, rather
openly and for several years. Shahab 3's could be fired with high
explosive warheads, and hit, with enough accuracy, to kill mostly Jews,
and not Israeli Arabs or Palestinians.
Israel has threatened to
retaliate with nukes if Israel is hit with chemical or nuclear warheads.
Israel has Arrow anti-missile systems that can stop Shahab 3s, but only
a few at a time. If Iran launched a dozen or more Shahab 3s
simultaneously, some would get through. If Iran had several hundred
Shahab 3s, they could launch most of them at Israel, using high
explosive warheads, and do a lot of damage. Israel could respond with
its own Jericho II missile, but this system was designed for use with
nuclear weapons, and Israel apparently only has 20-30 of them. Israel
could respond with air strikes, and cruise missiles from submarines in
the Persian Gulf or Indian Ocean. But, again, this would appear as a
limited response to massive Iranian missile attacks. An Iranian attack
with nuclear warheads would kill a large number of Moslems, and even
radical Iran might be put off by that, because Israel would likely
respond in kind.
A large number of IRBMs
could also be used to intimidate nearby Arab countries, as these
missiles could damage oil production facilities. If Iran gets nuclear
weapons, it would take 5-10 years to develop the complex engineering
required to create a nuclear warhead that would survive the stresses of
missile launch, and detonate as intended over a distant target. Russia
or China might provide such engineering secrets, but given the warlike
pronouncements and radical politics of the Iranians, probably not.
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