Inevitably coming soon: The execution of an Israeli war plan.
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The air force commander spoke first. “We’ve been practicing that for two months, and we will continue practicing until the day comes. It all hinges on the airborne command and control and the tanker aircraft. We will make it work. But after the first attack, we may have to fight our way home. And the second attack, well…”
“Yes,” said Yadlin. “It will be the beginning of a very long day which none of us may survive.”
16 March 2011
“It’s almost a certainty,” Amos Yadlin told the War Cabinet. “We have intercepted the same kind of traffic, at about the same volume, as we have in the previous Great Prophet exercises. They usually pick a date of religious or military significance to them or us. One Great Prophet exercise began on Yom Kippur. Last year’s began on the anniversary of the IRGC’s founding. And tomorrow is one of the dates the Shia consider most significant: the birthday of Imam Ali, cousin and son-in-law of Mohammed.”
“So we go at first light tomorrow?” asked Netanyahu.
“That is my recommendation, Prime Minister.”
It would be another long night for the IRGC commanders, their missile crews, and scientists. The welcoming receptions for government dignitaries were almost over, and the VIPs would soon retire, except for the inevitable few who were determined to watch the entire exercise from the IRGC temporary headquarters set up near the largest launch site.
Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, President Ahmadinejad, and a few others would insist on watching as they completed the setup of three long-range Sajjil-2 missiles and six Shahab-3s, together their crown jewels. The launch sites — spread out in five locations across Iran — would also fire short-range missiles, including three dozen “FROGs” — free rocket over ground — short-range, unguided missiles.
Crews would be busy through the night, loading and deploying mobile missile launchers at three other sites. All the IRGC commanders would be spread out among the regional command centers, running other parts of the exercise. The big naval base near Bushehr was a beehive of activity, crews fueling and arming dozens of small, fast patrol craft to demonstrate “swarm” attack tactics designed to defeat big naval combatant ships such as the U.S. DDG-51 destroyers. At Shiraz, the main air force base, aircraft including the newly purchased Russian Su-30 Flankers were being fueled and armed with 500-pound bombs for their flights to targets in the Iranian desert.
Southern Persian Gulf
Aboard the four Israeli submarines, activity mirrored the Iranians’. Each of the German-built Dolphin-class subs were loaded to capacity with Popeye cruise missiles, each capable of reaching targets about 930 miles away. They would be fired quickly, and each launcher would be reloaded and fired again as quickly as the crews could manage. Missile crews were checking and rechecking the navigation settings, jet engines, and everything else that could be tested. They couldn’t afford a single failure.
The first salvo, aimed at the IRGC headquarters near Tehran and the four known Iranian air bases — including Shiraz — from which defenses against the later air attack could be mounted, were launched at 0410. They would hit their targets at 0630, about 15 minutes after sunrise. The second round, aimed at the 13 IRGC regional command centers and the naval base near Bushehr, were launched an hour later.
The boats submerged to reload again and await further orders.
Over northern border of Syria and southern Iraq
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H/T to National Review Online