The American magazine The National Interest, in its March 27 publication, lists the most effective strike systems that the United States can use against Iran in the event of a direct military clash with that country. As the author of the article, Zachary Keck, notes, the number of troops and the possibility of conducting an asymmetric war are on the side of Iran.
“The key point: In a conventional war, America will certainly be able to win. However, in the struggle for control (over the territory of Iran) during the occupation, the United States will face many problems that may be worse for them than in Iraq, ”the military observer states.
Iran has sought to develop asymmetric military capabilities to offset the overwhelming US superiority in conventional weapons. And Tehran, Keck continues, has to reckon with five types of American weapons. Among these, he first points out the F-22 Raptor multirole fighters.
“When Iranian planes began targeting US drones monitoring Iran in 2013, Washington responded by providing the drones with an expensive air force escort. These escorts often took the form of the F-22 Raptor. And for good reason: American-made F-4 Phantom fighters, still in service with Iran since the Shah’s times, cannot compare with American fifth-generation fighters. In fact, F-22 pilots often played with their Iranian counterparts, ”the expert writes.
In his opinion, in the event of an armed conflict with Iran, the single twin-engine F-22 will become an integral part of the first minutes of hostilities, as the United States will seek to gain air superiority over the Iranian sky. At the same time, the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic will have little effective means of protection against the F-22. Once the United States has secured air superiority, the F-22 can be used for any number of different missions, including ground attack, electronic warfare, and intelligence gathering. Unsurprisingly, when tensions with Iran escalate, the United States is deploying additional F-22s at its Gulf airbases, Keck said.
Next, according to his “classification”, is the stealth bomber B-2.
“No threat from Iran scares the United States more than its growing nuclear program. It is for this reason that every American president has said that when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program, all options remain on the table. Should the US have to resort to a military option against Iran’s nuclear program, the B-2 stealth bomber will figure prominently in these operations. One of Iran’s best defenses is its vast and unforgiving geography. The country is three times the size of Iraq and roughly the size of all of Western Europe. Most of Iran’s main nuclear facilities, as well as some of its important military facilities, are located in the interior of the country. Some of them are also located near important cities, for example, the Fordow nuclear enrichment plant is located next to the sacred city of Qom for the Shiites, ”the author of the publication notes.
The B-2 is characterized by its manufacturers as “a key component of the national long-range arsenal and one of the most durable aircraft in the world.” Not only is it capable of penetrating well-defended areas and evading sophisticated air defense systems, but it also boasts an incredible range with the ability to cover over 11,000 kilometers without refueling and 18,000 km with one refueling in the air. The B-2 stealth bomber can also carry a large payload and deliver high-precision strikes, which are necessary to ensure that the US destroys nuclear facilities with as few waves of attacks as possible. Each B-2 is capable of carrying over 20 tons of conventional and nuclear ammunition and delivering them accurately to targets in all weather conditions.
The third strike system is the anti-bunker bomb (penetrating projectile for massive ammunition) GBU-57A / B.
“The B-2 bomber is also critical to a US strike on Iran’s nuclear program in another way. Namely, it is the only aircraft in the US Air Force capable of carrying GBU-57A / B, ”the publication says.
If the US decided to attack Iran’s nuclear program, it would almost certainly use this weapon to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facility at Fordow, which sits deep within the mountain. With a total weight of 13,600 kg, the bomb contains about 2,400 kg of explosive material and provides more than 10 times the explosive power of its predecessor, the BLU-109. This allows it to burst through 18 meters of reinforced concrete and explode 60 meters underground, destroying even the most difficult targets.
The fourth system of “containment” of Iran in the US Navy amphibious combat vehicle.
“Iran threatens the US with its capabilities using the so-called counter-access / denial strategy (A2 / AD) *. Like China, anti-ship missiles feature prominently in this Iranian strategy. But unlike China, Iran has a less sophisticated arsenal of high-precision medium-range missiles and over-the-horizon guidance. To compensate for this, it will need to rely on its geographic advantage to implement any A2 / AD strategy in the Persian Gulf against the United States. Iran has the largest coastline in the Strait of Hormuz – about 1,356 nautical miles (together with 480 kilometers of coastline in the Arabian Sea). Moreover, geographic features such as bays, coves, and islands along Iran’s coastline are great for concealing weapons systems in close proximity to US naval forces operating in the Persian Gulf, ”Keck writes.
In the event of the Iranian-American conflict in the Persian Gulf, in which Iran tries to close the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf with the Arabian Sea, the United States may consider it necessary to seize part of the enemy’s coastal territory, including the three islands of the Persian Gulf – Abu Musa, Big and Small Tomb, on which are claimed by the United Arab Emirates. This will require the United States to carry out amphibious landings, which are becoming increasingly difficult in light of the proliferation of precision-guided munitions. However, the military observer continues, the US Marine Corps has an answer to this in the form of the ACV 1.1 amphibious combat vehicle.
“Much is still unknown about ACV 1.1, but the original 2011 request for information called for an offshore platform that could independently deploy from amphibious assault ships and deliver a reinforced marine infantry squad (17 infantry) from a launch range of 12 nautical miles. (22 km) or more offshore, and at a speed of at least 15 kilometers per hour. Most importantly for the current context, the Marines demanded that such a combat vehicle be able to protect them from direct and indirect fire, as well as from mines and threats in the form of improvised explosive devices, ”the expert notes.
The top 5 are closed by “lasers”.
While military laser systems are still in their early stages of development, they are quickly becoming a reality. According to media reports, recent trials of a laser weapon system in the US Navy’s Arsenal (LaWS) “exceeded their expectations in how quickly and efficiently it tracked and destroyed increasingly complex targets.”
“This is bad news for Iran and its A2 / AD strategy. One of the most important capabilities of Tehran’s A2 / AD is the use of a huge fleet of lightly armed speedboats to swarm attacks on American warships operating in the Persian Gulf. In addition, Iran has also invested heavily in unmanned aerial vehicles. Although they will be used for several purposes, there is good reason to believe that Iran may use some of them to seize enemy naval combat platforms. Rather than defending against Iranian swarming tactics with expensive anti-ship missiles, lasers will allow America to cheaply destroy large swarms of speedboats or drones. According to the Navy, the cost of these laser systems is $ 1 per shot from a directional power source. Thus, the cost of these laser systems is approximately 1/100 of the cost of existing rocket systems. Equally important, unlike rockets, where limited space limits the number of warships they can carry, lasers never run out. Not surprisingly, the Navy is currently testing LaWS in the Persian Gulf aboard the USS Ponce, ”concludes Zachary Keck.
* Anti-access / area denial – restriction and denial of access and maneuver.