Casting doubt on the U.S.' ability to destroy/incapacitate even the much less heavily fortified Natanz nuke plant with conventional weapons, "The official said the MOP may be more effective against Iran's main enrichment plant at Natanz but added: 'But even that is guesswork.'"
February 13, 2012 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - In a January 28 WSJ [see Pentagon Seeks Mightier Bomb vs. Iran] piece that received little attention, Pentagon insiders state that our largest currently produced conventional munition, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator [MOP], is incapable of breaching Iran's newly operational Fordow plant which is located inside a mountain in Iran's Fordow range.
The site is situated within the confines of an Iranian Revolutionary Guard base [see BREAKING! - Iran's Fordow Nuclear Weapons Lab Made Operational].
"The Pentagon was particularly concerned about its ability to destroy bunkers built under mountains, such as Iran's Fordow site near the Shiite Muslim holy city of Qom, according to a former senior U.S. official who is an expert on Iran.
The official said some Pentagon war planners believe conventional bombs won't be effective against Fordow and that a tactical nuclear weapon may be the only military option if the goal is to destroy the facility. 'Once things go into the mountain, then really you have to have something that takes the mountain off,' the official said."
The Pentagon is now engaged in a rush program to upgrade the effectiveness of the 30,000 pound penetrator. Boeing is handling the contracting, but the delivery of the final units aren't scheduled until 2013.
The current thinking at DOD is that in order to use only conventional high explosive weapons in any strike on Iran, the exit/entry points on such structures as Fordow would have to be hit directly, thus sealing the facility but not totally demolishing it.
Though such a precision strike is certainly within U.S. capabilities, it would require pinpoint targeting which would, in turn, depend on exact GPS coordinates which could best be obtained through precise ground based intelligence, a commodity in very short supply when it comes to Iran.
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