Attacking Iran Would Take How Many Planes?

Defense analyst Anthony Cordesman lays out the numbers
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2012 5:44 PM CDT
A US NAVY Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – If Washington does bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, we're not talking about a few fighter jets speeding by for quick sorties, reports Wired. The mission would require more than 100 planes and ships—plus drones and tanker aircraft—to complete a complex mission involving electronic warfare, attacks on air defenses, and the bombing of five Iranian nuclear facilities, according to a study by Washington defense analyst Anthony Cordesman. The initial strike, however, could be the easiest part.

The US must also stop Iran from impeding traffic on the Strait of Hormuz, says Cordesman, and hope that anti-missile systems sold to Arab nations work if Iran retaliates by firing on its neighbors. A successful US strike could set back Iran's nuclear ambitions by 10 years—but can Israel do it too? Only well enough to "delay Iran’s efforts for a year or two," writes Cordesman, who believes an Israeli offensive would trigger waves of Iranian counterstrikes and throw the world's oil supply into turmoil. Click for the full article. (Read more Iran nuclear weapons program stories.)

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