Israel could launch an EMP attack with an ICBM or a submarine launched cruise missile. Given that Iran is watching closely for a conventional air attack, how much sense does this stratety make?
A submarine launched cruise missile EMP attack using super-EMP low-yield nuclear weapons would be relatively easy to pull off for Israel, and would be unstoppable. This type of attack has the potential to devastate Iran. After this type of attack Iran would be in no position to directly retaliate against anybody. It could only use its proxies to attack Israel.
The Jericho III ICBM equipped with a nuclear warhead provides Israel with a powerful deterrent against a nuclear Iran. It gives Israel a credible Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) capability to loft a low kiloton yield warhead to an apogee over Iran that upon detonation would destroy the country’s industrial infrastructure, frying motherboards of hundreds of thousands of computers, disabling telecommunications, transportation and industrial systems. According to veteran Iran watcher, Ken Timmerman, President and CEO of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, that possibility was confirmed by ex-CIA case officer Chet Nagle at a Capitol Hill EMPact America press conference in Washington, DC on Tuesday, the day before the Jericho III test was announced. Doubtless an Israeli EMP attack would cause thousands of whirling centrifuges enriching uranium at the Natanz cascade hall and the Bushehr nuclear plant producing plutonium to be shut down. It might spare Iran’s vital oil and natural gas producing region in the Gulf. It would free Iran’s restive people from the nuclear nightmare of the Mullahs. If the EMP apogee was low enough, then according to Timmerman, it would largely spare Iran’s agrarian rural areas and the country’s bread basket. The Islamic regime and industrial infrastructure concentrated in the Tehran region could collapse. Moreover, he said, the neighboring Gulf region would be spared collateral effects. The Israelis hope that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, President Ahmadinejad and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) leaders got the message behind the ICBM test on Wednesday. We referred to the capabilities of Jericho III in our NER article on The Iranian Missile Threat:
We have written that Israel has a full quiver of options. These include its own nuclear capable missile the Jericho III, cruise missiles launched from its Dolphin submarine fleet, and cyber warfare techniques like Stuxnet that have disabled Iran’s nuclear development infrastructure. Conventional air attack scenarios that would endeavor to reduce the Natanz and other nuclear underground facilities would be fraught with complex air route and logistical problems. Obtaining Saudi, Iraqi and even Turkish airspace permission would be doubtful.
[Published on 1-26-2012.]