An imminent, all out war in the Middle East is now all but inevitable. From Israel’s point of view, this will be a war unlike any other that preceded it, both in terms of the types, magnitudes and quantities of weapons that will be launched at it, and the level to which its civil populations and national infrastructure will be hit.
As the war will progress and casualties mount, Israel’s leadership will come under increased pressure to deploy its strategic weapons before the level of damage and destruction will put the mere survival of the state and its people at an unacceptable risk.
According to foreign sources, Israel’s strategic weapons can be launched by three main platforms:
- Airborne cruise missiles and smart bombs carried by fighter planes and transport aircraft
- Land based ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, launched from either permanent underground silos or from mobile launchers
- Sea based cruise missiles launched from submarines
With salvos of thousands of missiles and rockets fired into Israel every day from Iran, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza strip, the enemy’s first and obvious targets will be Israel’s air force bases. Aircraft surviving this sustained attack will not be able to take off from badly damaged runways, and those that will get airborne may not have anywhere to return to for landing.
Israeli land based missile launch sites will also be targeted continually. In these days of Wikipedia and Google maps providing a frightening amount of free intelligence to the enemy, and GPS guided weapons able to hit pinpoint targets, the ability to operate them will be severely hindered.
Israel’s last line of defense will therefore be manned by its submarine crews. Three Dolphin class submarines have been in operational service for some time. Two more are currently being built in Germany, and an agreement is being reached to purchase a sixth one from the same country.
At a time when command and control chains and communication channels will be hit hard and may break down completely, when a chaotic and confused picture of what is actually happening at the battlefield and in Israel’s cities and military bases will raise more questions than it will answer, the fate of the state of Israel and the mere survival of its people may be left in the hands of its submarine commanders.
Three faceless, nameless, carefully selected and highly trained men, and the small group of weapon control, navigation, communication and machine room officers serving under them, may find themselves the only people left able to prevent a second holocaust. Their ability to make swift decisions and take decisive action will be put to the ultimate test.
Future generation Israelis, when referring to these submarine commanders and the members of their crews, may find themselves quoting the immortal words of Sir Winston Churchill: ” Never in the field of human conflict, has so much been owed, by so many, to so few.”