Strange explosions have rocked Iranian nuclear and military sites in the past weeks. There is no concrete information on what caused these explosions. This is a hypothetical idea as to what may have been behind the explosions. Israel currently possesses long-range cruise missile capabilities. If one of their Dolphin class submarines would have been lurking in the north Arabian Sea it may have launched the Popeye Turbo cruise missile.
The Type 800 Dolphin class is a diesel-electric submarine developed and constructed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG (HDW), Germany for the Israeli Navy. It is based on the export-only German 209 class submarines, but modified and reduced and is thus not seen as a member of the 209 family. The Dolphin boats are the most expensive single vehicle in the Israel Defense Forces and are considered among the most sophisticated and capable conventionally powered submarines in the world, they are widely believed to be armed with nuclear weapons. The Dolphins replaced the aging Gal class submarines, which had served in the Israeli navy since the late 1970s.
Jane’s Defence Weekly reports that the Dolphin class submarines are believed to be nuclear armed, offering Israel a second strike capability. In adherence to Missile Technology Control Regime rules The US Clinton administration refused an Israeli request in 2000 to purchase Tomahawk long range SLCM’s. The US Navy has deployed nuclear armed and conventional Tomahawk missiles for its submarine fleet which are launched from standard heavy 533mm torpedo tubes. The Federation of American Scientists and GlobalSecurity.org report that the four larger torpedo tubes are capable of launching Israeli built nuclear-armed Popeye Turbo cruise missiles (a variant of the Popeye standoff missile), the US Navy recorded an Israeli submarine launched cruise missile test in the Indian Ocean lasting 1,500 kilometres (930 mi).
The Popeye is an air to ground missile developed and in use by Israel, of which several types have been developed for Israeli and export users. A substantially modified long range cruise missile variant of the Popeye Turbo is believed to be used to arm the Israeli submarine based nuclear forces. The United States is one of the users of the Popeye but has renamed it according to US naming conventions as the AGM-142 Have Nap.
- Popeye II or Popeye Lite (also known as Have Lite) – this is a reduced size (shortened to 424 cm/167 in) and weight version (weight is now 1125 kg/2500 lb) of the Popeye to give light aircraft such as the F-16I Sufa a precision standoff strike capability.
- Popeye Turbo – The air launched Popeye Turbo which uses a jet engine and liquid fuel is approx 6.25 m (20.5 ft) long, it is reported to have a range of more than 320 km (200 mi).
- Popeye Turbo SLCM – A suspected stretched version of the Popeye Turbo developed primarily for use as a submarine launched cruise missile (SLCM) was widely reported in a US Navy observed 2002 test in the Indian Ocean to have hit a target at 1500 km, it can allegedly carry a 200 kg nuclear warhead. It is suspected that the stretched Popeye Turbo is the primary strategic second strike nuclear deterrent weapon which can be fired from the 650mm secondary torpedo tubes of the Israeli Dolphin class submarines. It is believed that the SLCM version of the Popeye was developed by Israel after the US Clinton administration refused an Israeli request in 2000 to purchase Tomahawk long range SLCM’s because of international MTCR proliferation rules.
|builders:||Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW)|
|Completed:||Dolphin Leviathan (trans. “Whale”) Tekumah (trans. “Revival”)|
|Active:||3 (another 3 on order)|
|Beam:||6.8 m (22 ft)|
|Draught:||6.2 m (20 ft)|
|Propulsion:||Diesel-electric, 3 diesels, 1 shaft, 4,243 shp|
|Speed:||20 knots (37 km/h)|
|Test depth:||At least 200 metres (660 ft)|
|Complement:||35 + 10 additional|
|Sensors and processing systems:||STN Atlas ISUS 90-55 combat system|
|Armament:||6 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes, 4 x 25.5 inch (650 mm) diameter torpedo tubes|
|Notes:||Characteristics listed are those of the original 1990s non-AIP-capable model|