Sub claim `impossible’ - Could the LA Times be wrong
Israeli and foreign defence experts yesterday dismissed a report that Israel had modified submarine-based missiles to carry nuclear warheads, saying such an alteration was technically impossible. The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that Israel had altered some of its nuclear warheads to fit U.S.-made Harpoon cruise missiles and upgraded the missiles so they could hit targets on land and at sea. Former Israeli deputy defence minister Efraim Sneh called the assertion "simply impossible."
Did Gray Davis leak the information to the LA Times?
"Anyone with even the slightest understanding of missiles knows that the Harpoon can never be used to carry nuclear warheads," he told Army Radio. Ted Hooton, editor of Jane’s Naval Weapon Systems in London, agreed with the assessment, saying problems with payload weight would put the Harpoon out of balance, limiting its range and accuracy. "It seems to me that a nuclear weapon, which is extremely dense, would make the Harpoon nose heavy and significantly reduce its range — in any event well below the (150 kilometres) it is designed for," Hooton said.

Like a nuclear weapon, the LA Times is extremely dense. I’m sure that the Israelis would love to conduct a sub launched missle attack against the Iranian nuclear facility. In order to accomplish this attack with a harpoon, you would have to bring the sub into dry dock, mount it on a trailer and then drive the trailer to within about 100 NM of the target.

I went to Expedia and tried to plan a route through Iran for the submarine on the flatbed, but I decided to scrap the idea. Mapquest doesn’t have information about bridge clearance. The height of the periscope was the kicker that caused me to scrap the whole plan.

Harpoons are designed for striking ships. Programming them to accept GPS coordinates is an add-on, but a nice one that allows for an F-15 or F-16 strike that has simular results to a Tomahawk strike.

The range and price of the Tomahawk make it the weapon of choice for sub-launched attacks by British or US forces. The weight and length of the Tomahawk may not be suitable for the Dolphin class subs that Isreal has. It would also be unusual for a diesel boat to be deployed that far out of home port. They are normally used for coastal defense.

Posted by: Super Hose 2003-10-13