When Israel knocked out Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in June 1981, it was essentially one ground-level building, yet the mission required 14 Israeli aircraft — F-16 fighter-bombers with some of their fuel tanks removed to carry heavy bombs, and F-15 fighters to handle any Iraqi planes that came up to meet them. Israel’s other success, hitting a partially constructed Syrian facility in September 2007, again targeted a single, ground-level building.
Now look at the potential targets in today’s Iran.
There is the fuel-enrichment plant at Natanz, a collection of below-ground facilities used to produce enriched uranium. There is the newer Fordow fuel-enrichment plant near Qom, built into the side of a mountain and heavily fortified. This is where Iran has already moved 3.5 percent enriched uranium from Natanz and where most analysts believe it will be enriched to weapons grade, if Tehran decides to take that step.
Of course there would be other targets if a strike is to do more than set back Iran by one to three years. At Parchin, one of the nation’s leading munitions centers, Iran is suspected of testing high explosives for use in nuclear weapons, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s November report. There is a uranium conversion plant at Isfahan, a heavy-water facility being constructed at Arak and centrifuge factories outside Tehran.
No telling how many aircraft the Israelis would need to carry out a meaningful mission. The Robb-Wald report says Israel has enough GBU-28s to “severely damage, though likely not completely destroy, Iran’s known underground nuclear sites in a single well-executed operation.”
American Intelligence -> PLANS TO BOMB IRAN