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Israeli plans to strike Iran

Grid, Internet will go out of business; satellite, automatic invisible airplanes will complete the job; automatized shock-and-awe conflict could take 30 days and lead to 500-5,000 casualties only



Let me admit that in the recent week, I was spending at least one hour every day by reading news about the escalated Iranian-Israeli tension and the possible Israeli preparations for a conflict. If you don't follow the situation closely, let me say that (Israeli PM) Benjamin Netanyahu and (Israeli defense minister and trained physicist+mathematician+economist) Ehud Barak seem to be ready for a strike against Iran.

Or at least they are trying to make everyone believe that it's their plan and it's their mood.




The debate about the strike in Israel is unprecedented right now; see thousands of recent articles about the topic. It seems clear that this "promotion of the concept" is pretty much driven by Netanyahu and Barak themselves. They seem to be successful as the opposition to the war within Israel seems to be diminishing.

No one knows for sure whether they're bluffing. Even though a similar "war talk" has been around for years and it hasn't been transformed into reality (yet), it has already helped to impose unprecedented sanctions against Iran – sanctions that actually make a difference. Nevertheless, they are not effective in their main goal to stop Iran's enrichment of uranium to insanely high level whose only sensible explanation – given the multi-billion losses that Iran has to experience due to this activity – is the desire to ultimately announce the construction of an Iranian nuclear bomb.

There are numerous arguments that the leaders of the Jewish State are serious and numerous arguments that they're bluffing. Both possibilities have some logic.

Both peace in fear as well as a war could be good or bad for the two leaders, for Israel as a country, and for the world. Iran officially says that the threats are stupid and Israel wouldn't have a chance. However, it seems clear that the mullah-in-chief (I don't mean Obama), Ahmadinejad, and lots of others have to replace their underwear many times a day (I sincerely hope that at motls.blogspot.ir, the Iranian edition of this blog, mine is a sufficiently politically correct way to describe the two bigots' feelings). The Iranian propaganda – see e.g. Fars News and Press TV – is running at war frequencies. The reoccupation of Jerusalem is the main task for the Islamic countries' regimes, we hear (in Islamic English, "freedom of Quds is the main cause of Muslims"), Iran is safe, Israel is stupid, the U.S. and Britain and Israel will be sued, and so on.

All sensible analysts seem to agree that the period before the November U.S. elections is ideal for a strike and things will get much worse afterwords because the U.S. presidential candidates can't afford to look like guys who are ready to sacrifice an ally and face a de facto military loss; on the other hand, U.S. presidents are unlikely to strike in the first year of their term (whoever wins). It's not clear whether the U.S. would join Israel (and it's not clear whether Iran would try to attack U.S. targets if attacked by Israel) but the semi-officially released information in Israel indicates that Israel is ready to act alone.

So what is this hypothetical strike going to look like? Richard Silverstein, a Jewish American blogger, is probably an anti-war guy and he knows two anti-war officials in Israel (one in the military, one is a veteran in previous governments) who released an interesting document because they believe it could stop the war engine. The document may be interpreted as a promotional booklet trying to sell the planned strike as a clean wonder of modern technology. It's plausible that Netanyahu and Barak are only looking for one more minister to join the pro-war side and then they will be able to press the button. And yes, I personally find the booklet intriguing, indeed. Of course, I would probably be thinking a bit differently if my homeland were the "audacious [and therefore threatened] one".

First of all, the document corrects the idea about the "localization" of the strikes I was often thinking about. The idea is that Israel can't afford battles on the ground etc. so it will try to bomb the targets in an extremely localized, surgical way – something we watched at the high school during the First Iraq War in 1990. Well, the document shows that this would probably be an unreasonable strategy. Instead, the planned one-month war envisions a significantly more universal and widespread crippling of Iran's infrastructure.



The first spectacular claim is that Israel would abolish the electric grid, radio, television, Internet, and telephones in Persia with the help of cyber-attacks and the carbon fiber munitions: click the picture above for more information. It's a classified bomb with lots of smaller confetti bombs in it. Each of them opens and spits a huge amount of thin conducting carbon filaments that short circuit the electric wires and transformers and all facilities treated by this otherwise harmless munition have to be completely removed. ;-)

Some of these bombs may get activated after some delay or they may explode when they receive a satellite signal. It could be really hard to fix the grid under such circumstances. Don't be jealous about the Iranian engineers' job in such circumstances. Just think how your life and work would do if the grid went out of business. It wouldn't be easy.

Now, submarines near the Pilsner Gulf (let me choose this politically neutral name to avoid battles about Persian or Arabian Gulfs) will launch lots of conventional missiles that may detonate above the targets or underground. Hundreds of cruise missiles should bring out of business: command and control systems, research and development facilities, and residences of top nuclear and missile apparatchiks.



TecSAR satellite, one of the most sophisticated radars in space, will suddenly fly over Iran and check the status of all the targets. At this moment, airplanes are already flying to Iran and waiting for automatically processed instructions from the satellite in order to abolish the remaining targets that are determined to need extra assistance to successfully go out of business. ;-)

Just to be sure, the Israeli document also says that the airplanes have a new technology unknown to everyone, including the U.S., that makes them invisible. Note that the Stealth U.S. aircrafts are invisible because they have a piecewise flat surface so they reflect the radio waves as mirrors do – only to a specified direction which is unlikely to be detected by the same radar. But I think it's not the only solution to the engineering "invisibility" problem. It's plausible – and this is my attempted invention – that these devices are actually calculating where the radio waves are coming from and what are the right compensating radio signals that should be sent back so that the radar sees nothing. ;-)

This strike plan sounds good on paper – and as a theorist, I actually think that it could be good in practice, too. Many things may break down in the real world, of course. However, with a similar technological advantage, all the conventional power and manpower that Iran may possess could easily turn out to be an awkward irrelevant pile of Goliath's protein that could be ignored and that could easily and quickly lose to the brain-powered David.

This whole plan could be a partial fantasy – similar to some bluffing about the Star Wars in the 1980s that actually helped the Soviet Union in its decision to give up the arms races (and appoint Gorbachev who wasn't exactly hawkish anymore). It could be real, too. I don't have a clue. If I were in Iran, and even if I were a fan of their leaders which sounds somewhat unlikely :-), I would still try to convince everyone to abandon all the research that could be (mis?)interpreted as a path to truly dangerous military technologies.

It may superficially look nice in the eyes of a gullible Iranian mandatory electorate that Iran is able to send some missiles to various places when this is tested under ideal circumstances and when everything kind of works. But believe me, once the Iranian military leaders realize that the strike is ongoing (and the military leaders who also read TRF will be able to think: now the blue-and-white satellite is probably flying above our heads), many things will no longer work. Despite all of its officially pumped self-confidence and arrogance, Iran could quickly turn out to be as weak as a tea and Israel's impressive internal defense could be able to easily deal with the remaining Iranian missiles of despair: Israel claims to deal with almost all of the first 50,000 missiles from Iran. (Israel has introduced a new system of text messages to alert the citizens of missile attacks. Netanyahu picked a new home front defense minister, too.)

And I haven't even considered the possibility that the Pentagon would join. So far, the only assumption that is strictly needed is that Obama won't join on Iran's side. ;-)



Give it up, mullahs and ayatollahs, before it's too late! You will never reoccupy Jerusalem. Nevertheless, you may still be able to save the electric grid in Persia and other, more advanced things that the Shah has brought to you. And in Shah's case, I would be more willing to believe that his plans to use the nuclear energy were entirely peaceful. ;-)

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reader Gene said...

Stealth technology has two components, flat surfaces that act to prevent microwave reflections in the direction of the source and phase canceling multilayer coatings, which act exactly like antireflection coatings on optical lenses. A single layer works only for a single wavelength, of course. Multiple layers are required for broad spectra.


The multilayer method is much more effective technology than flat surfaces due to diffraction effects at the edges of those planar surfaces, which necessarily yield reflections in all directions. In order to minimize these diffraction effects the flat surfaces must be kept very large and this badly degrades aircraft performance. I'm pretty sure that the newest applications dispense with flat surfaces in favor of antireflection coatings. Stealth coatings also have a huge advantage over multilayer optical coatings in that absorption of the electromagnetic radiation is not only permissible and actually desirable. "Black" coatings are just fine.
The leading expert in this multilayer technology, who passed away last year, was Steven Weisbrod. Weisbrod had Department of Defense contracts well into his mid-eighties. He was a Polish Jew, who escaped the Holocaust at age fourteen, the only member of his family that was not murdered by the Nazis. His journey to America was funded by the father of my Sister-in-Law, my twin brother's wife.
By the way, active cancellation of radar reflections is presently impractical. It would require point-by-point phase matching of the incoming signal and this is well beyond current technology. I would not rule it out forever, however. I also doubt that Israel has technology unknown to the US, although they usually have great technology of their own.


reader Adrian said...

I know you are "hawkish" on this subject, but I find your discussion largely misses the point.

I will give you the following "facts" as I understand them:

1) Does Iran have too many centrifuges if they were only interested in civilian use? Yes - probably
2) Does the US think Iran are producing weapons grade materials? No - at least not yet or publicly
3) Would America try to take out the Iranian sites? Probably not, it would require "bunker busters" i.e. low yield nuclear devices or boots on the ground
4) Would Israel try? No, for the same reason.
5) Would they try to do something punitive instead? Maybe, but it would be ineffective and counterproductive - something that has never worried the US miltary in the past, lol

Finally your calculation is that Israel can do what they like during an election year in the US. Maybe they can, but they will use up a lot of "brownie points" by doing so. And the likely subsequent closure of the "Pilsen straits" :-) would tip what is already a weak global economy into a major recession.


reader Gene said...

Iran is not running out of oil or natural gas; quite the opposite is true. If new recovery technology is not yet available to them it will become available. The US has ever increasing supplies of fossil fuels and, unless we blow it, we will become energy independent. Of course nuclear power would help but that seems to be dead here. At worst, Iran will not need nuclear power for many, many decades.


Their motivation for all those centrifuges is political and economic. Their dysfunctional economy and their unpopular government need a lot of props, including massive oil exports. I do not think they want to occupy Jerusalem; they never have and they could care less, actually.


reader Old Wolf said...

It seems to me that if Israel wanted to attack Iran they'd just plan it behind closed doors and carry it out, rather than engaging in this media debate. They must be hoping to gain something else with this rhetoric.


reader Luboš Motl said...

Apologies, Adrian, but I think that your reasoning has sufficient gaps so that its conclusions are about as likely to be wrong as that they are right. And I just don't see relevance of your questions for the plans to strike.


Concerning your second point, I don't really know whether the U.S. intelligence agencies think that they're already elevated the enrichment to weapons-grade levels. But even if that isn't the case, that's obviously not an argument that one should do nothing. If someone is in the process whose only plausible goal seems to be bombs, then it may be reasonable to stop him before he gets to the final steps.


Some people in this very world want to stop using fossil fuels now because of hypothetical warming by a few degrees we may speculatively get in a century or two or now. So if there are good enough reasons to think that Iran may be on its path to produce a bomb by October 2012 or June 2013 or whatever, which is about 500 times faster than the the hypothesized effects of global warming, you shouldn't be surprised that there will be people who will think it's sane to deal with this much more tanglible, much more urgent problem before it's late.


You misinterpreted the term "bunker busters". It's not true that only low-yield nuclear weapons are called bunker busters. "Bunker busters" is a name for tools to bust bunkers that may be nuclear or conventional. Also, your implicit assertion that "boots on the ground" would be an obviously losing part of the game hasn't been justified. Under certain cleverly prepared conditions, boots on the grounds could be relatively safe, too.


I don't understand your point 5 at all. How do you exactly measure "efficiency" of punitive strikes and why do you think that according to this measure, it would be inefficient? I am just not getting it. Your statement looks like deliberately vague and deliberately misleading to me.


Concerning your final paragraph, I don't think that Israel - or anyone - has a fixed number of brownie points it is using. By sending Iran out of business, Israel would enhance its authorities and therefore earn lots of new brownie points for the future.


The hypothetical closure of the Pilsen Strait wouldn't take too long. This *would* be an event that would invite the U.S. and the strait would be re-opened within a week. Almost everyone has reserves for that and any minor inconvenience here is simply secondary relatively to the problem that is planned to be solved here.


reader Luboš Motl said...

Thanks, Gene, especially for pointing out the diffraction-off-edges problem. However: Could you please be a bit more specific what it means that the active cancellation is "well beyond current technology" (whose) and how you determined it's the case? Given the low frequencies that are needed etc. and a small number of calculations that have to be done, it seems like one of the applications analogous to iPhone apps that are already working on millions of phones in our pockets.


reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Gene, it's totally plausible that the actual individuals in Iran's government - and ordinary citizens - don't really care about taking Jerusalem. But the regime - the mindless monster that is, in all totalitarian societies similar to Iran, more powerful than the individuals or their sums - seems to care. Read e.g. this article about the "main cause of Muslims":


http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9104254251



So one *has* to deal with this declared cause because it *is* supported by the mindless hierarchy of the mullahs and its own propaganda whether or not any individual in that hierarchy actually cares about it.


reader Jon said...

I'm not an expert, but I doubt that iPhone noise cancellation circuits would work very well against a determined opponent.With a broad spectrum radar signal coming in, from multiple directions, how are you going to anticipate the random frequency shifts needed to cancel the incoming signal? You will succeed in blocking some of the signal but at the cost of becoming a very predictable beacon that echos the signal you are trying to hide from.


reader Luboš Motl said...

I don't see it. Take a real airplane flying over some town. How many radars are monitoring? How many frequencies are they using? How quickly can they change the direction, polarization, frequency?


If it's at most a dozen of radars at frequencies changing hundreds of times per second or whatever, why don't you just measure the directions, distances, and polarizations etc. and calmly, with milliseconds of extra time, calculate using 3 GHz microprocessors what you have to emit?


Moreover, I think it's rather likely that using its satellites, Israel knows the position and frequency patterns of all/most Iranian radars, anyway, because they're static so the airplane maybe doesn't have to observe anything to make the system work. It has a fixed algorithm that just controls the antenna as a function of the GPS coordinates and velocity. I am kind of convinced that if I were hired to create this system, it would be done within a few years. What's the problem here?


reader Jon said...

I think you are underestimating what radars are capable of doing. For example this paper
http://www.mitre.org/work/tech_papers/tech_papers_05/05_0112/05_0112.pdf talks about 10,230 pseudo-random phase shifts in a single radar pulse, which they say is 102 Mhz for the converter changing the frequencies. They can also send multiple beams (phased array) that make it look like a signal is coming from different direction than it really is. A radar pulse can be made to look like background noise that only the transmitter can decode, but that has limitations that may or may not work in this case. It seems to me the system on the ground has the advantage because of greater processing power and wide range of antennas.


reader Shannon said...

Maybe the threat is a clever way to maintain peace. I explain : this reminds me of a play we learned at school "The Trojan War will not take place" where basically it is not the leaders who want war but the people on both sides. In the case of the Israël-Iran confict it is the leaders who are threatening... maybe because they know this is a war in itself and a way to keep the people's warrior side dormant.


reader Eugene S said...

Very difficult to know what is the game plan of Supreme Ayatollah Khamenei and his handpuppet Ahmadinejad. It used to be they tried to maintain plausible deniality ("no no, Amadinnerjacket never said 'wipe Israel off the map', that is a mistranslation").

Now they make sure to say it not just in Farsi but in their own official English-language version of the government news. It's like they're saying, "Attack us Israel! Please please attack us now because if you don't we will kill you as soon as we have the bomb! So attack us! Hurry hurry, before it's too late!"

Their rationale could be, after the attack when pictures of dead and maimed Iranian children make the rounds in the world's media, Israel's standing in the court of public opinion will plummet and so will the standing of the Great Satan (U.S.). In turn, 1.3 billion Muslims will rally behind IRI and Shia Muslims will gain standing in the Muslim world. Egypt will tear up the Camp David agreement and the Muslim world will rise up as one.

If so, I think they're wrong. The hatred between Sunni and Shia Muslims may recede temporarily but its roots are too deep. It will never go away. And IRI will never be accepted as leader of the Muslim world.


reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Jon, this blog entry is about the strike on Iran. The paper you linked to is a research paper - mostly theoretical paper - written in Massachusetts which is so far not a province of Iran.


Of course that in such technologies and counter-technologies, one may try to improve both sides of the "conflict". But I wasn't talking about this general set of speculations; I was talking about a plan to paralyze Iran (a very particular country with a very particular infrastructure) in 2012 or 2013. I don't believe that Iran uses cutting-edge radars described by research papers written in 2005 in Massachusetts.


reader cynholt said...

Iran's nuclear facilities are widely dispersed and much better defended
and fortified than was the case with the lone unfinished Osirak reactor;
this makes a "quick operation" by Israel highly unlikely. Further, if
attacked, Iran can disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz
and also inflict damage on oil fields in the eastern Arabian Peninsula;
and such disruption and damage would in fact have detrimental effects on
economies worldwide. It also pays to remember that Iran does have
allies and proxies as well as potential allies and proxies in the
region---including Hezbollah, Syria (where regime change,
unsurprisingly, is a current western priority), Shi'a militias in Iraq,
and disaffected Shi'as elsewhere in the Gulf Region. Nor should recent
statements regarding the potential belligerence of nuclear-armed
Pakistan, an increasingly volatile nation where anti-American sentiment
is rampant, be dismissed out of hand. An attack on Iran does have the
potential, then, for turning into a regional conflagration. Moreover,
such an attack would, to an unknown extent, increase tensions between
the US and China and Russia---in no wise a desirable development. Iran,
in short, does not have to have the ability to launch direct retaliatory
strikes worldwide for an attack on that country to result in wider
conflict, heightened international tensions and global economic damage.



And then there's another danger too little addressed: what if Israel
or the US gets "lucky" and scores a direct hit on an active nuclear
facility Iran? What would be the regional, the global health and
environmental consequences of applying high explosives to tons of
nuclear fuel?



This is not idiotic fear-mongering. This is realism and
circumspection; this is admitting that Iran in 2012 is not Iraq in 1981,
and that much can go wrong. Only a fool speaks of certainties and
impossibilities where war is concerned. But anyone who can't see that
this situation is pregnant with danger must already have their head
lodged firmly in Charles Krauthammer's fundament.


reader cynholt said...

I would say that taking out Iran is the long term goal. However, I would
be very skeptical of trying to pin a date on it. I would really be
looking for some form of triggering action attributed to Iran. It could
be a false flag operation or just blatant lies. The MEK will likely be
taken off the terrorist list and they would play a role in this as the
"Tribe" or organization that we would attempt to put in power. However,
it's really anyone's guess.



One thing that makes me think that it's less than likely is that,
our Specials Forces are already spread very thin. Without them on the
ground painting targets it would be very difficult to pull this off.
Smart bombs are only as smart as the intelligence from the ground and
generally a lot better if the building is targeted by a man on the
ground with a laser. The laser is used to "paint" a target so that these
so-called "smart" bombs can lock on to the laser and actually hit
exactly were they are supposed to. GPS is good but has it's limitations.



Of course any attack on Iran would be Folly, but I wouldn't put anything past these fool.


reader cynholt said...

There is a wild card in the deck that no one has mentioned here.
Russia has thousands of technicians in Iran helping with their
development of nuclear power. Russia may not take kindly to the murder
of a few thousand of its citizens, and their response may be
unpredictable. Would they sit tight, or would they bomb Israel in
retaliation? What would the US do in a similar situation? Would it sit
tight, or would it bomb the original aggressor?


reader cynholt said...

Eugene, I disagree. An attack on Iran would motivate Muslims across the region to unite,
Sunni and Shia' alike. At the moment, the US and its allies in France
and Britain have managed to divide and control the region, pitting Saudi
Arabia against Iran and against Hizbollah. A united front throughout
the region -- not its leaders, but the masses -- does not bode well for
the interests of the American empire and certainly does not bode well
for Israel's interests.



Absent some hidden/unknown factors, it is a strong possibility that
the Israeli leadership is repeatedly raising the specter of a nuclear
Iran in an effort to blackmail the US to provide it with more weaponry,
more aid and new technologies.



Unlike a destabilized Iraq, a destabilized Iran threatens and scares
Israel due to Hizbollah's proximity. Israel panicked after the recent
changes in Egypt. So instability along any of Israel's borders worries
Israel, enormously.



Israel will not attack Iran without first ensuring that Hizbollah
does not have the intent or capacity to attack its northern region.


reader Gene said...

On thinking about this, Lubos, I think it could be done but it's a bit complicated. An attacking aircraft or missile could use a phased array detector to determine the direction, phase and precise amplitude of the incoming radiation (this would take a little time). With a built-in map of all the vehicle surfaces that might happen to be orthogonal to the incoming radiation (and, therefore, reflect it back to the stationary radar site) it could, in principle, generate an outgoing signal needed to cancel the reflected radiation. The trick is to precisely match the amplitude. That is not easy. Of course if the defender had a frequency-agile radar system this would become infeasible but Iran certainly does not have such systems, at least not yet.


Once again, you have proved to be smarter than me but, hey, what's new?


I do think passive, multilayer antireflection coatings are effective and simpler but never say "never". I do have sources that know a hell of a lot more about these things than I do but secrecy concerns would, no doubt, keep them silent.


reader Gene said...

I'm sure you are right about this, Lubos. Knocking out Saddam's radar was a piece of cake and there is no likelihood that Iran could keep up with Western or Israeli technology.
I do think you are wrong about the passive methods. They seem to be capable of reducing the reflected (power) signature by five orders of magnitude, corresponding to a factor of eighteen in detectable distance reduction. If the enemy can get eighteen times closer to you, you are in big trouble. It seems to me very difficult to do that well with an active system. Precise power matching is hard.
Of course very sophisticated active systems may be in the works but they would be top secret.


reader jitter said...

Hi Lubos, you have at least 5 missing words and at least 1 extra word in your english this time.

I'm not sure if you wanted this pointed out. I'm happy to ignore it but if it is something you want to address I don't mind helping. Otherwise just ignore this post and I'll stop.


reader Eugene S said...

Some bloggers dislike corrections in the comments because it distracts from the discussion, preferring to be notified by e-mail. Others don't want to be notified by e-mail as they feel that it clutters up their inbox. I don't think I have seen a TRF policy on sending in corrections yet.

In all my time reading TRF, I have not seen a single serious mistake of grammar or vocabulary in an article that would have turned the meaning on its head or grossly distorted it. Mostly just typos of one kind or another. One (1) time only, I saw an ambiguity, I asked about it, and promptly received a clarification.

Like jitter, I would be happy to help out, uncredited, in what would be strictly a proofreading not "editing" capacity, via any notification channel desired by Lubos. Fair warning, though: I would preserve at least one "Czechism" per article :D :D :D


reader jitter said...

You would be a better choice, I can only copy and paste one mistake at a time on my mobile.

Anyway, back to the fight for the temple, isn't that the real reason for all of it?


reader Shannon said...

On the other hand Russians are warned of a possible attack. They might think twice if they want to stay and take part in this confilct. Their choice.


reader Eugene S said...

Not sure that I understand your comment "fight for the temple". In Jerusalem, the top of the Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque stand, are under the control of the Waqf. A Jew can practically not go there and especially not pray.

In Theodor Herzl's utopian novel Altneuland, the Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem, but not on the site atop the Temple Mount. Instead it is built in the Kidron Valley, outside of Jerusalem's Old City. Other religions freely worship in their own churches, mosques etc., and this Zionist vision of a tolerant multi-religious society has, by and large, prevailed to this day. See, e.g., Shlomo Avineri's book review. However, there are currently no plans to "rebuild the Temple". Perhaps it should have been done right after the Six Days' War, in line with Herzl's vision.


reader Gene said...

I meant only that Iran has no apparent territorial ambitions. Anti-Israel and anti-Zionist signs are everywhere in Tehran but very few people take them seriously.


I know a few strident anti-Zionists personally but they are all Jewish folks.


Sorry about the confusion, Lubos. I don't underestimate the future danger to Israel but I don't see how an attack would improve israel's long-term security.


reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Gene, you're very right and I know many Jewish anti-Zionists, too - like Prof Nina Byers who would be stressing the difference between Jews and Zionists.


Of course, I know the difference as well from the opposite corner - I am a Zionist but not a Jew. ;-)


There's a difference between Jewish anti-Zinoists at Harvard and the Persian ones in the Iranian government: the former don't possess tens of thousands of missiles to fire at Israel. :-)


reader Carl Brannen said...

The reason why active mechanisms are difficult has to do with the ratio of the size of the aircraft to the size of the radar wavelength. That's how you compute the number of active transmitters you need to cloak the aircraft from all directions.

The reason you need to do this from "all" directions is because even though the radar transmitter is very bright and easy to spot, the radar receiver is not. So you have to cloak in a range of directions (say, everything "down").


reader Daniel said...

I find it extremely unlikely that Russia would go to war with Israel since its a close ally of the US. Its more likely (*if* they did anything) to arm the Iranians.

And no the US wouldn't go to war with Russia if some Americans were bombed in Georga (or any such state).

They can bitch and be pain the UN about it. Its in neither s interest to do this. I can't seem to underline some of these words 5 times :)


reader Daniel said...

Israel won't do anything if the US commits to keeping Iran nukes free.

There is no war situation that makes any sense and I mean it would make Iraq look like a solid move. Its lose lose lose. The Americans seem to have reasonable enough intelligence on the levels of enrichment. Its not as if they can create 90% enriched uranium overnight. From the last I read, they are no where near it, like 20% or something around that.

Even if they somehow got nukes, its the same situation. If they use them its lose lose lose. Iranian leaders talk crazy like its a sport. But they aren't stupid. The US (and if Israel existed still) would retaliate.

There will be a deal. There's not going to be a war with Iran.


reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Daniel, if I were an Israeli official, I would simply not believe Obama that he's ready to turn any verbal commitments about stopping Iran to acts. In fact, I don't believe that Obama would do so even though I am not an Israeli official! ;-)


The first 90% enriched uranium is always produced overnight.


Moreover, in May, 27% enriched uranium was spotted in Iran


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18213839



and it's generally said that the path from 20 to 90% is faster than the previous one. Moreover, it's not true that 90% is strictly needed. Any enrichment level above 6% leads to a finite critical mass although for 20%, it's about 400 kg if I remember well.


I share your expectation that all 3 nations tend to want to avoid a huge war but that's exactly why Israel won't be afraid to start a small one.


reader Daniel said...

Iran buys a lot of its AA hardware from Russia. I would imagine there will be a reasonable amount of losses for the USAF.

The stealth capabilities of the F-35 and F-22 are classified, so its hard to know.

Fixed sites could be hit with missiles in great enough numbers but, which is no problem but just from Wiki they have many mobile sites which would be much more of a problem.

I think its safe to assume that if they are buying Russian SAMs, they are probably going to cause loses.

Its interesting to think about as a war game but I still think its never going to happen.


reader Daniel said...

The step from 27% to 90% takes quite some time from what I have read.

Its a strange situation because they allow inspectors and sort of comply with everything they have to.

From hearing mostly US news the stories left me thinking they had secret enriching plants that were discovered. But it seems like they are declared ones but they are saying they are enriching more than declared.

From the outside it seemed far more suspicious with Iraq, in hindsight though they were posturing for Iran, woops.


reader Daniel said...

I missed some of your points..

I would hope wouldn't attack :) There are much better options. Its hard to read much into what they say in public. Its aimed at the US and Israeli public. I would have to assume they have something more solid in private talks.

These low enrichment's must have pretty low yields. From the back of my ass thinking the U core would be huge so even with the HE trigger its going to blow apart with continually less reaction happening the bigger and less enriched it is.

Of course a 400kg dirty bomb to Israel might not be so different to 10kt bomb, at least politically. So where do you draw that line.


reader Ron Tal said...

This is no leak. Richard Silverstein is as much of an anti-semite as a Jew can be. He has been duped many times before and this time is no exception.


He basically took this scenario from the Israeli forum community fresh.co.il, which was posted annonymously as someone's take on a 'plausible scenario'. These were not actual leaked documents.


Check: http://elderofziyon.blogspot.ca/2012/08/the-hilarious-tale-of-dick-beeb-and.html


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