April 19, 2024

Israel's Target List eg. Iranian Nuclear Facilities

Over the last 12 hours Israel began missile strikes on Iran, initially targeting an air base https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2024_Israeli_strikes_on_Iran near the Isfahan/Esfahan nuclear research center 400km south of Tehran. Depending on the Iranian reaction Israel may escalate the conflict to targeting Iranian nuclear sites over the next few days.

Created since the Israeli strike here and below is an excellent explanatory video from University of Pittsburgh Political Science Professor William Spaniel.

Possible Targets

The maps below indicate Iran's nuclear sites. The nuclear facilities in Tehran itself are particularly problematic because they are believed to be deep dug under that highly populated city. Is Israel prepared to justify the high "collateral" deaths of perhaps 1,000s of Tehran civilians? 

Also hitting surface reactors might cause Fukushima or Chernobyl style meltdowns and explosions spreading clouds of radioactive dust throughout the region. In the case of the very large Bushehr reactor complex, on the Persian Gulf, radioactive air and water dispersal might impact populations in the Gulf States including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

Overall concerted air attacks on Iran would increase the world oil price sharply because the high oil producing Gulf States it between Israel and Iran. I filled my car's fuel tank yesterday - just in case. 

Other high priority Israeli targets may include Iran's leading politicians and generals, regular army, navy and air force bases and Revolutionary Guard bases.

Particularly drone missile bases. 

Any chemical weapon production and warhead facilities would be very high priority targets. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction#Chemical_weapons

Above Map of Iran's highest priority nuclear facilities. This includes the research complex at   Isfahan/Esfahan (from which Submarine Matters' site-meter years ago picked up Iranian reader interest in computer simulations of nuclear weapon explosions).
See a more detailed nuclear facility map below (Courtesy Business Insider https://www.businessinsider.com/map-of-the-day-iran-nuclear-sites-2010-6 )

Since 2014 Iran has been near nuclear weapon breakout status - with the three components being:

- substantial stocks of semi-enriched uranium (perhaps between 5% and 20%), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enriched_uranium#High-assay_LEU_(HALEU)  which could become bomb grade (90+% HEU) within weeks/months using Iran's thousands of centrifuges and possible hidden laser enrichment capability.

- delivery means - including the Sejjil http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sejjil solid fuel IRBMs within range of Israel, and

- enough nuclear device plans and components acquired from Pakistan's A. Q. Khan network to have constructed crude fission devices (minus the HEU and/or Plutonium explosive) around 2006.

For much more Iranian nuclear program history and details see: 



Anonymous said...

Off Topic

Australia's Ghost Shark prototype is a big mother....er!

Pete2 said...

More on Ghost Shark https://www.navyleaders.com/news/ghost-shark-debuts-australia

The following is almost miraculous:

"the Ghost Shark program is ahead of schedule and on budget. As Anduril moves to deliver an operationally relevant capability within a fraction of traditional defence timelines..."

and so many women are in key leadership positions in this successful project.

Shawn C said...

Hi Pete,

Israel has a lot of options to respond to Iran, but I think they chose one that was measured and restrained.

Isreal may have used an air-launched Rafael's ROCKS (https://www.rafael.co.il/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ROCKS.pdf) a long-range variant of the Sparrow Ballistic target rocket (https://www.rafael.co.il/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Silver-Sparrow.pdf)

Rafael has not publically disclosed the range of these ROCKS, but according to TWZ, the first stage of a ROCKS or Sparrow was found in Wasit, Iraq (https://www.twz.com/air/mystery-weapon-appears-in-iraqi-field-after-israeli-strike)

I checked Google Maps, and Wasit is about 565km West of Isfahan, so it could be within the range of ROCKS.

For comparison, Kinzhal is stated to have a 500km range without factoring in its launch vehicle, and Silver Sparrow is longer, but slimmer and 3/4 the weight of Kinzhal.

So an IAF F-15I flying at a high launch speed and height could likely hit Isfahan airbase from Iraq, and as ROCKS apparently has anti-radiation homing, the IAF could have waltzed a couple of one-way drones near Isfahan, started EW trolling (hence the Iranian reports of shooting down drones), and when the Iranians respond by activating the S-300PMU2's 30N6E2 target-engagement radar, the ROCKS arrives!

Isfahan is where HESA (Iran aircraft manufacturing) owns a big industrial site for Shahed drones, so a couple of 'drat, we were a little off' shots would have done the entire world a favour.

Pete2 said...

Thanks Shawn at 4/20/2024 7:21 PM

I'm editing your much more detailed offline draft on ROCKS issues for publication later tonight.

Cheers Pete