WASHINGTON -- The U.S. military could be blocked from launching a major air strike by Iran's developing air defense network, a report said.
The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments asserted that Iran has been investing in air defense systems that could foil a U.S. strike. The Washington-based center warned that only a handful of U.S. bombers could penetrate the integrated air defense systems of either Iran or China.
"Except for the B-2 force, of which at most 16 are capable of responding to short-notice contingency operations at any given time, [U.S.] Air Force bombers cannot penetrate the integrated air defense systems that are being fielded by China, Iran and other states with the resources to buy advanced military systems," the report, titled "Sustaining America s Strategic Advantage in Long-Range Strike," said.
Authored by former senior air force analyst Mark Gunzinger, the report envisioned that Iran would develop or acquire advanced anti-aircraft systems, including the Russian-origin S-300. The report said Russia has apparently canceled plans to proceed with a nearly $1 billion project to sell the S-300PMU1 to Teheran.
"This cancellation will not likely curb Iran s appetite for procuring advanced air defense systems," the report, released on Sept. 14, said. "Despite their setback with Iran, given the demand for these systems and Russia s stated goal of increasing its weapons exports, further proliferation is a near-certainty."
The report envisioned U.S. long-range strike aircraft would have to travel 2,700 nautical miles from Diego Garcia to reach Iran's nuclear energy reactor at Natanz. Such a distance would be much greater than in recent U.S. conflicts, including the wars against Iraq.
Gunzinger outlined a scenario in which Iran would deploy its giant missile and rocket arsenal to intimidate Gulf Cooperation Council states. He said the threat of a massive Iranian attack on cities in Gulf Arab countries could lead them to deny air base and air space rights to U.S. aircraft.
"During an Iran scenario, for example, the threat of terrorist and missile attacks, disruption of maritime commerce in the Persian Gulf, or the possibility of domestic backlash from restive Shi'ite populations could persuade U.S. regional partners to deny base access," the report said. "Should U.S. forces gain access to theater bases, a panoply of threats could endanger their operations."
At this point, the report said, Iran's missile arsenal has not threatened U.S. bases in the Gulf. But Gunzinger cited Iran's plans to upgrade its ballistic missiles, particularly the Shihab-3 intermediate-range missile.
"Over time, Iran s missile forces could evolve from a terror coercion weapon into a central element of an integrated A2/AD [anti-access/area-denial] battle network," the report said.
Meanwhile, Iran has unveiled what officials termed an indigenous radar system.
The Iranian Navy has introduced a radar system called Asr. Officials said the S-band Asr was meant to enhance early-warning alert for combat and other naval vessels.
"Asr is a radar project that uses S-band and can meet the needs of our naval fleets for early air warning," Iranian Navy commander Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayari said.
In a ceremony on Nov. 29, Sayari disclosed details of Asr. He said the radar was comprised of indigenous components, including a flat antenna. The commander said this marked Iran's first use of a flat antenna.
Officials said Iran has become increasingly proficient in developing S-band radars. S-band has been employed by weather radar, surface ship radar and communications satellites.
In 2010, the Iranian Defense Ministry said it achieved self-sufficiency in the production of radar systems. Officials said Iranian radars have reached a detection range of 3,000 kilometers."Iran is working on a radar system that can cover areas within a range of 3,000 kilometers," Gen. Ahmed Miqani, commander of the Khatam Anbia air base, said.3
Saturday, December 11, 2010
And WHILE the Turks help smuggle nuke parts to Iran: Iran seen developing air defenses that could block all but B-2 strikes