Israel: June 25, 2000


Israel has reported that it has successfully launched cruise missiles from its submarines; the missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The launches were conducted in the Indian Ocean by the new German-built submarines; the exercise simulated a retaliatory attack on Iran. The missile reportedly reached its target 900 miles away. The event is an embarrassment to the US, as the new missile defense system is predicted on the existence of missiles in the hands of "rogue" states, and the US is (in Arab eyes) ignoring Israel doing worse than they have done. The US is already very upset with the Israelis for agreeing to sell China new Phalcon airborne early warning aircraft that could, one day, be used to track American bombers attacking targets in China. During May, the Israelis made an unannounced test launch of their Jericho (nuclear-capable) missile, which landed only 40 miles from a US warship which thought it was under attack. It was the third time in two years that an Israeli no-notice missile test had fallen near a US warship. Some analysts suspect that the Israelis are trying to send a message, or that the US is using the Israeli tests to calibrate its own Navy Upper Tier missile defense system. Israel began planning for a naval branch of its nuclear deterrent in 1990 when the Mossad predicted that Iran would have a few nuclear-armed missiles by 2000. The Mossad now puts that threat at 2002, but the first of the Israeli submarines is ready to begin nuclear patrols. The new Dolphin-class submarines are twice as big as the Gal-class subs Israel bought 23 years ago. Each sub has a crew of 35 officers and men, all of whom scored at least 700 points on the intelligence test used by the Israeli military. This translates into an IQ of about 135. Five hand-picked and even smarter crewmen will be added to the subs to control the nuclear missiles when they become operational.--Stephen V Cole


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