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Israel has the World’s Most Secretive Nuclear Weapons Program

Introducing the World’s Most Secretive Nuclear Weapons Program (Not North Korea) Who could that be? National Interest, by Kyle Mizokami 24 Dec 18 

That can only mean one nation…

In a private email leaked to the public in September of 2016, former secretary of state and retired U.S. Army general Colin Powell  alluded to Israel  having an arsenal of “200 nuclear weapons.” While this number appears to be an exaggeration, there is no doubt that Israel does have a small but powerful nuclear stockpile, spread out among its armed forces. Israeli nuclear weapons guard against everything from defeat in conventional warfare to serving to deter hostile states from launching nuclear, chemical and biological warfare attacks against the tiny country. …….

Not much is known about early Israeli weapons, particularly their yield and the size of the stockpile. The strategic situation, in which Israel was outnumbered in conventional weapons but had no nuclear adversaries, meant Israel likely had smaller tactical nuclear weapons to destroy masses of attacking Arab tanks, military bases and military airfields. Still, the relatively short ranges between Israel and its neighbors meant that the Jericho missile, with only a three-hundred-mile range, could still hit Cairo and Damascus from the Negev desert.

Israel does not confirm nor deny having nuclear weapons. Experts generally assess the country as currently having approximately eighty nuclear weapons, fewer than countries such as France, China and the United Kingdom, but still a sizeable number considering its adversaries have none. These weapons are spread out among Israel’s version of a nuclear “triad” of land-, air- and sea-based forces scattered in a way that they deter surprise nuclear attack.

…….. Israel’s first land-based nuclear weapons were based on Jericho I missiles developed in cooperation with France. Jericho I is believed to have been retired, replaced by Jericho II and -III ballistic missiles. Jericho II has a range of 932 miles, while Jericho III, designed to hold Iran and other distant states at risk, has a range of at least 3,106 miles. The total number of Israeli ballistic missiles is unknown, but estimated by experts to number at least two dozen.

Like other nuclear-armed nations, the Israeli Navy has reportedly deployed nukes to what is generally agreed to as the most survivable seagoing platform: submarines. Israel has five German-built Dolphin-class submarines, which experts believe are equipped with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The cruise missiles are reportedly based off the Popeye air-to-ground missile or the Gabriel antiship missile. This ensures a so-called “second-strike capability”—as long as one submarine is on patrol, some portion of Israel’s nuclear deterrent remains invulnerable to a nuclear first strike, guaranteeing the ability to launch a nuclear counterattack.

The establishment of a nuclear triad demonstrates how seriously Israel takes the idea of nuclear deterrence. The country will likely not declare itself a nuclear power any time soon; ambiguity over ownership of nukes has served the country very well. The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and general instability across the Middle East has ensured that Israel will likely remain the only nuclear-armed state in the region for the foreseeable future, but a collapse of the agreement or some new nuclear program could easily change that.https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/introducing-worlds-most-secretive-nuclear-weapons-program-not-north-korea-39722

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December 29, 2018 - Posted by | Israel, weapons and war

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