How the US could destroy Iran's secret bunkers
Iran bunkers more vulnerable than publicly believed.
Iran may not be able to protect its nuclear enrichment sites from a determined US bombardment, according to a former senior intelligence official. Despite the extra precautions taken to fortify the bunkers, the US may in fact have the ability to target critical components of the sites rendering them useless, if not destroying them.
The MOP can penetrate hundreds of feet of solid rock before detonating and can damage components of a bunker even without hitting them directly.
However, a former senior intelligence official, who has studied the secret Fordow site in detail and agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, has said the site is far more vulnerable than commonly believed. Even if no bomb can reach the central rooms of the bunker where the most sensitive equipment and personnel are situated, there are other tactics which can effectively neutralize the site.
For example, the centrifuges required to enrich the uranium needed to make a bomb are ultra-precise instruments that spin at supersonic speeds. Even the mere shockwave of a bomb blast could be sufficient to render them inoperable or ruin the enrichment process.
A main entrance as well as pipes and other openings for ventilation also service the facility. Water and electricity are probably provided from outside, although Fordow likely has some capacity to maintain its own power and water for some time. These openings, especially the main entrance, are key vulnerabilities. For example, bombs could collapse the entrances and ventilation shafts while bursting pipes within the facility, without actually hitting anything. This would effectively entomb the personnel inside.
Any efforts to repair the facility could also be targeted preventing retrieval and reuse of the site.
The official acknowledged that the facilities would require multiple sorties to destroy, but the conclusion is that they can be neutralized if the order is given.
To accomplish this task, the US air force has at its disposal the world's largest bunker busting bomb, the Massive Ordinance Penetrator (MOP-GBU-57 A/B). Weighing in at 30,000 pounds, the MOP is precision guided and more powerful than its 5,000 pound predecessor. The bomb was developed after the 2003 Iraq war when US officials realized they needed a more powerful weapon to destroy ultra-hardened modern bunkers.
Since 2007, the bomb has been tested against mock bunkers with success, although the details of its capabilities are still classified. Planners are said to be confident in its ability to destroy Fordow, especially with multiple sorties. The bomb is capable of penetrating through hundreds of feet of solid rock before detonating.
Meanwhile, concerns over the state of Iran's nuclear program abound, although opinions are diverse. Some believe that Iran is close to a "point of no return" in their attempt to develop a nuclear weapon. This is the stated Israeli position. The US position is that Iran is much farther away from success.
In any case, the concern is that Israel will attempt their own strike against the Iranian facilities and the the strike will fail whilst sparking retaliation against the US and Israel around the world. While Iran does not have the ability to fight a pitched battle against either Israel or the US, the country could disrupt oil supplies, stage terrorist attacks, and strike back at Israel using proxies such as Hezbollah.
While the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is very formidable, the force is said to lack the equipment and staying power to penetrate Iran's deepest bunkers and to stage the multiple sorties required to finish off the sites.
Still, Israel may be forging ahead with plans to strike anyway, with rumors of a strike being planned for the spring and Israeli officials warning the US that they will not notify American officials before a strike occurs.
In any case, the point is clear: If the US finds the need to strike Iran, sites such as Fordow can be destroyed with US bombs obliterating them completely or at a minimum entombing the equipment and personnel within, for as long as it takes to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons capability.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Iran, bunker, nuclear, Israel, Massive Ordinance Penetrator, oil, terrorism, nuclear bomb, Hezbollah, IDF, USAF
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