reply to post by TheOneElectric
From your OP:
In recent days, senior administration officials reportedly sent messages to Iran, through diplomats from two European states, addressing the
possibility that Israel would launch a unilateral strike and establishing that the US expects Iran to not draw it into a conflict by firing on
American army bases and aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.
I took special attention to this part.
The main reason for my interest in this paragraph is mostly due to the capability - or lack of it - of Israel attacking Iran's nuclear sites.
A division must be made in order to understand the real issue. There are two groups of nuclear facilities in Iran:
- Disclosed and accessible facilities to the IAEA/U.N. inspections, labelled as secured.
- Secret military/nuclear facilities who raise concerns in Israel/West about possible intentions of developing nuclear weapons.
For the first group, Israel can attack on their own. Most of those facilities are at a surface level and could be taken by a simple air-strike with
any of the bombs that Israel currently has(I assume).
However, those same facilities aren't considered to be a risk.
The second group of facilities are the ones who raise concerns about what Iran might be - or not - developing inside. And for that second group you
have both surface and underground facilities.
That's where this toy
comes into play:
The Massive Ordinance Penetrator (MOP) GBU-57A/B is a U.S. Air Force massive, precision-guided, 30,000-pound (13,608 kg) "bunker buster" bomb.
This is substantially larger than the deepest penetrating bunker busters previously available, the 5,000-pound (2,268 kg) GBU-28 and GBU-37.
On 7 April 2011, the USAF ordered eight MOPs plus supporting equipment for $28 million.
On 14 November 2011, Bloomberg reported that the Air Force Global Strike Command started receiving the Massive Ordnance Penetrator and that the
deliveries "will meet requirements for the current operational need". The Air Force now has received delivery of 16 MOPs as of November 2011. And as
of March 2012, there is an "operational stockpile" at Whiteman Air Force Base.
In 2012, the Pentagon requested $82 million to develop greater penetration power for the existing weapon.
It is said that these MOP's are the only bombs capable of piercing Iran's nuclear facilities defenses. Also one of the reasons mentioned for the
lack - until now - of an Israel attack, despite of their aggressive and assertive rhetoric towards Iran.
This scenario raises another point:
It is intended that the bomb will be deployed on the B-2 bomber, and will be guided by the use of GPS.
Northrop Grumman announced a $2.5-million stealth-bomber refit contract on 19 July 2007. Each of the U.S. Air Force's B-2s is to be able to carry two
(From the same source)
Israel doesn't have any B-2 bombers, which are the aircraft meant to transport and deliver
these bunker buster bombs. The only cheaper
alternative would be to use B-52 bombers, the only other aircraft capable of carrying these bombs. But again, Israel doesn't have any B-52's
...which - again- raises another question:
If Israel is currently unable
to striking the facilities, even if it want to, without the U.S. assistance, how can Israel say that they will
pursue the military option, and the U.S. say that they won't assist, going as far as asking Iran to not retaliate if Israel attacks?
From the article you get the idea that the U.S. is putting some distance between them and what Israel might do, but if you look closer, Israel won't
be able to do anything without U.S. military equipment, bombers or bombs.
Adding to that the fact that the bomber used to deliver the new MOP bombs is a stealth bomber
, and it's not unreasonable to assume that the
U.S. could assist Israel in a possible attack, but in secret and under the table
The U.S. might be trying to clear the possibility of this strike escalating into a larger conflict, but it seems that while they are trying to wash
their hands, they are also admitting they will be part of it.
Unless Israel has found a way to do it on their own, without U.S. assistance. And currently, there is no information about that.