Thursday, January 25, 2007

Half Full, Half Empty

Aviation Week and Space Technology is worried that the "30-ton rocket could also be a wolf in sheep's clothing for testing longer-range missile strike technologies" as Iran readies a space launch.

Iran has converted its most powerful ballistic missile into a satellite launch vehicle. The 30-ton rocket could also be a wolf in sheep's clothing for testing longer-range missile strike technologies, Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine reports in its Jan. 29 issue. ...

U.S. agencies believe the launcher to be a derivation of the 800-1,000-mi. range Shahab 3 missile. A Shahab 3 fired from central Iran could strike anywhere in Israel, Saudi Arabia, the entire Persian Gulf region and as far west as southern Turkey.

There are concerns in the West that space launch upgrades, however, could eventually create an Iranian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range of nearly 2,500 mi., giving Tehran the ability to strike as far as central Europe, well into Russia and even China and India.

Since an Iranian ballistic launcher which can reach into central Europe may not be far away,  then from a certain point of view this is yet another reason why America should hasten to engage Iran and get into its good graces. If you disagree with this argument then why? Is something wrong with the facts or something infirm with the logic?


Blogger RWE said...

Latest word is that North Korea's Taepodong "space launch" of last July used an Iranian developed payload fairing - and it appears that is what failed.

The advantage of a space launch is that the Iranians do not have a suitable long range test range anyway. So they need to do what the USAF did years ago and use short range rockets, pitched over and thrusting down into the atmosphere, to develop the reentry vehicles. Of course, the North Koreans have already done that, so the Iranians probably don't need to anyway.

A space launch would be a "peaceful" way for the Iranians to send the message that They Have Arrived. And also one-up the Israelis who have been doing that for years.

If the launch fails, well, statistically there is a 100% failure probability for the first two space launches by an inexperienced launch organization anyway. It is to be expected. But they will both learn from it and send a message.

Meanwhile the USAF recently has inquired if the Polish would let us locate missile defense radars in their country.

Now - I wonder what would happen if Chavez was found to be receiving Iranian/North Korean missiles with Who Knows What on top of them? After all, he could just say that Venezula was planning a space launch program - like Brazil.

1/25/2007 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Google the Cold War FOBS concept -- nasty last minute surprises from space with too little time to track compared to an ordinary ballistic missile.

1/26/2007 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Here's a FOBS link. As I said, nasty.
I don't recall the Iranians being part of SALT-2.

1/26/2007 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Sorry for spamming, but one more paranoid thought:

FOBS delivered high altitude EMP nuke burst? Catastrophic.

1/26/2007 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Richard: Relative to FOBS, ballistic missiles generally go up about as far as they go horizontally, which means they show up over the horizon quite early, go very high, and give plenty of warning.

FOBS, or Fractional Orbital Systems, actually put the war head into orbit and then deorbit it at an appropriate point to hit the target - which means they only have to go about 100 NMI high and thus give less warning. In the case of Iran, we are going to see that launch well in advance via our DSP satellites and certain other sensors I better not describe.

If they want to do a FOBS attack then Iran might just slip ONE warhead by us, especially if they announced a space launch in advnace or had already made some space launch attempts. However, that one would be their last harrah, since they would be turned into large scale simulation of the Moon within no more than an hour later. Probably less than an hour, since the preferred method of attack would be submarine launched missiles - which would keep the Minuteman expended stages from falling in irritating places stateside.

And FOBS is far more sophisticated and requires much more launcher power than does either a ballistic launch or an orbital satellite launch. A successful space launch may indicate an ICBM capability, but it does not indicate a FOBS capability.

As for an EMP - yes, they could do that, but it would also result in a Lunar landscape in their geography and would scarcely bother our strategic military forces. And even Hillary Clinton and Jane Fonda will be screaming for Tehran to be vaporized, pronto, if their Ipods stop working.

1/26/2007 04:06:00 PM  

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