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The likely scenario of a military conflict between the US and Iran. The combat capabilities of Iran and the development of military-political situation in the Middle East
Material posted: Publication date: 05-01-2020

The leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran does not exclude application of the United States and Israel of air strikes across the country and pays close attention to defining strategies for effective responses to potential aggression. The basis of this strategy is the implementation of the measures of "asymmetric war" and "retaliation" to compel the enemy to abandon an armed invasion.

However, as the dynamics of the situation and statements by experts on the scenarios of a possible military conflict, the United States in the Persian Gulf, such military actions will not be for the Americans an easy walk, as was, for example, in Iraq during operation "desert Storm", but at the same time an impossible task and will not be.

A major factor in the rise of the military-political tensions around the Islamic Republic of Iran in recent years has been its nuclear program.

Analysis of the statements of a number of senior government and military leaders of the US and Israel and some other countries in Europe, concerned about the growing missile and nuclear threat from Tehran, allows to predict and there are three main options possible use of military force against Iran:

  1. Limited air and missile strike to incapacitate the most important objects of the Iranian nuclear complex. In this air attack can be carried out unilaterally by Israel, which is seriously considering the question of preventive strikes against nuclear facilities in Iran. In addition, Israeli military aircraft already have experience of the destruction of nuclear facilities in the middle East. So, in 1981 the Israeli air force destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in Osirak.

When planning an independent air strike on Iran should be taken into account that Israel has no cruise or ballistic missiles. Therefore, he will have to use their fighter-bombers of the American production and first F-35I "Adir" and F-16, F-15.

When planning the Israeli command of the independent air strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, it must be assumed that there are three possible routes of Israeli aviudary groups.

The first is from the North through Turkey's airspace along the border with Syria. Range to targets is 1000-1200 km. the Main obstacle – would require the consent of Ankara, however, even under American mediation in this matter, its implementation does not seem to be currently possible.

The second route over the territory of Jordan and Iraq. The distance is small (700-800 km), but would have to fly covertly, without notice, at low altitude, hoping that the air defenses of these countries are not going to notice Israeli planes.

The third route over the territory of Jordan and Saudi Arabia from the Persian Gulf. For the military leadership of Iran is, of course, it would be a surprise, but the main question is whether tel Aviv to negotiate with Riyadh. It should also be noted that this route is the longest (1300-1500 km).

However, in order to negotiate the passage of aircraft through the territory of Saudi Arabia or Turkey, to Israel in any case will require mediation and US support.


Probable routes of Israeli air strikes on the nuclear infrastructure of Iran

There's a fourth route over the territory of Syria, but here it is necessary to apply Israeli pilots with the highest skill and planning, given the fact that the airspace controlled by the Russian s-400 and -300.

However, as noted by foreign sources, the Israeli air force is still able to fly undetected over the territory of Syria and Iraq.

It should be noted that the range with a combat load, the Israeli F-35I – 1100 km, F-16 – 1300-1500 km, F-15 – 1900 km. And if I have to fight with the Iranian fighter planes, the Israelis may not be enough fuel for the return journey. In a given situation depending on the situation you can fly and land on an airfield controlled by the US in Afghanistan or to sit in the territory of Azerbaijan or Georgia. If landing in another country no, it means that can not do without the help of us air tankers.

To saturate Iran will need a few dozen fighter-bombers on targets in Iran, the number of which can reach 100. It is the position of the Iranian air defenses, ballistic missiles that have to be destroyed, that Iran has not retaliated against Israel and the nuclear infrastructure.

More significant goals of the operation can be achieved when performing joint us-Israeli air strike for the scrapping of the most important objects of the Iranian nuclear complex. With the United States will apply military aircraft F-22, B-2 and cruise missiles, sea-and air-based.

  1. Large-scale air operation by the Israeli air force and the United States lasting from several weeks to several months to complete destruction of the nuclear complex, defeat the Iranian economy, in public administration, civil and industrial infrastructure, all critically important country, which Tehran will lose its leading position in the region and create a situation of mass unrest and separatism in the country.

It is possible that in the course of this operation, there may be a limited part of the us armed forces, following the example of their actions in Syria supporting the Kurds, creating a zone of its military presence and actions of special operations forces.

  1. A full-scale war involving the United States in conjunction with Western and Arab coalition with the active use of military air, naval forces and ground forces to complete the defeat of the armed forces of Iran, the occupation of its territory and establishing puppet Pro-American regime.

In terms of doing a full-scale war for holding the air-offensive in Iran, the United States with the exception of aviation based on aircraft carriers, you will need to create several groups air force:

in Saudi Arabia and the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf for operations in the Western and southern parts of Iran;

– in Turkey for operations in Northern and North-Western parts of Iran (although the Turkish factor is the participation of the currently excluded);

in Pakistan and Afghanistan for operations in Eastern and South-Eastern regions of Iran;

The cruise missile strikes in all cases the use of military force may be applied from the Northern part of the Arabian and Eastern Mediterranean seas. Given the rather high potential of the air defense system of Iran in the planning of air operations, the experience of Iraq and Yugoslavia, its members will strive to achieve your goals in the shortest possible time – within one to two months.

Referring to the specific implementation of a military strike on Iran, then it can be implemented in three phases.

In the first phase suppressed the air defense system of the country and disabling the major military installations.

In the second phase, applied massive air strikes in the basic state and the military industrial facilities of Iran in order to reduce the military-economic potential of the country and suppress the will of the Iranians to resist. It will be air defense sites, airfields, Navy bases, arms depots, missile launchers.

In the third stage, by weakening the air defense system, will focus on nuclear facilities and transport infrastructure, and industrial facilities. Total starts bombing everything to resist, to work, to keep and to carry.

In case of success, possibly by the end of the second or third week of active operations of the US air force and its allies will develop the following: air defense and aviation armed forces and the revolutionary guards of Iran suppressed or weakened so much that it can't do anything to actively oppose American plans to conduct the second phase of the military operation.

In the framework of air offensive operations will be challenged guaranteed gain full air superiority over the territory of Iran. The total duration of hostilities can be from 2 to 6 months, depending on the determination and ability of Iran to counter the aggressor and the reaction of the world community, primarily China and Russia. While the United States and its allies will have to ensure the overwhelming superiority of its aviation group in quantitative and qualitative relations over air defense and air force of Iran.

You will need to create a group of aviation with a total population of not less than 2,000 to 2,500 machines, including up to 400 aircraft carrier-based aircraft and 500 bombers. In addition, there is likely to be allocated from 1500 to 2500 cruise missiles, mainly for strategic aviation.

Intense fighting such a group would require the establishment of appropriate logistical supplies. The total volume of cargo that must be delivered to the region, the experience of military operations against Iraq, could exceed 3 million tonnes. Total costs of such an operation will, according to the most conservative estimates, over a trillion dollars.

However, air operations completely disrupt the Iranian nuclear programme will be impossible, as its most important sites located in rock shelters, which are existing, even the most powerful conventional munitions to strike is not possible. May require the use of nuclear weapons, which would be unacceptable for political reasons.

During the ground operation, probably on the territory controlled by American troops will create a puppet government, with which agreements are concluded for the development and export of Iranian oil, lease land for military bases, as well as rent or annexation of a small portion of the territory in the Strait of Hormuz. Besides unfold the work of the CIA, using the scheme applied in Iraq, i.e. an attempt to outbid the high command of the enemy, promising him money and freedom.

Considering the fact that Iran for decades is preparing for a possible military confrontation with the United States of America. Instead of having to engage in direct military competition, which clearly manifest the Iranian drawbacks on the background of the strengths of America, Iran is developing asymmetric "hybrid" strategy that combines advanced technologies, tactics, special operations, guerrilla war, which aimed at depriving the American troops bases and freedom of maneuver at sea and in the region as a whole.

As a matter of priority "retaliatory steps" to attack the us-Israeli coalition command of the armed forces of Iran considers the missile strike on the control points, naval and air force bases United States, located on the territory of the Arab States of the Gulf and its waters. In addition, the missile strikes are caused by densely populated residential areas of the cities of tel Aviv and Haifa, as well as the vital enemy targets of a social nature: the system of water and energy supply, international airports and major transport hubs, shock, which paralyzes the life of the country.

To implement this part of the "retaliation" missile brigade of the aerospace forces (ACS), the IRGC have enough missile armament. In particular, for attacks on Israeli territory in the [IRGC has about 150 ballistic missiles, medium-range (IRBM), such as "Shahab-3" and "Shahab-3M", with a cassette (or, in the opinion of the specialists, separating) warhead (launch range up to 2000 km). However, while in recent years Iranian experts have carried out some work to reduce the circular error probable (CEP) from the head of the missiles, the lack of practical launches at maximum range does not allow to speak about their high precision.

The destruction of American targets in Qatar, Bahrain, Iraq and Afghanistan will be implemented in missile systems NEG "Shahab-1" (launch range of the missile up to 330 km) and "Shahab-2" (launch range of up to 700 km), and tactical missiles "Nazeat and Zelzal" various modifications (launch range from 80 to 300 km).

It is obvious that massive strikes will be applied simultaneously as from Iran and bordering with Israel territories, including Lebanon and the Gaza strip. For these purposes, developed a plan for the use of units of the military wing of the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas in the Arsenal which there are tactical missiles. Thus, despite the current military-political situation in Syria, the attack on targets of the Israeli military and government infrastructure is expected from this side, where, according to available information, Iran is carrying out a redeployment of tactical missiles "Zelzal" (with a launch range of up to 300 km). You also cannot exclude strike at Israel and directly to the armed forces of Syria, in the Arsenal which there are complexes "Scud" of various modifications. According to the Iranians, this tactic will significantly reduce the effectiveness of Israeli air and missile defense.

In addition to air strikes, command of the Iranian armed forces in the plans for the implementation of the "retaliation" takes a serious role causing significant losses in manpower divisions of the Israeli and American armies through the massive use of suicide bombers. In particular, there are three main area of operations: Israel (forces of Hamas and Hizbollah), Iraq (forces of the army militants "al-Mahdi") and Afghanistan (force bombers prepared directly in Iran).

In addition, in the areas of actions of the suicide bombers, in addition to the physical elimination of government officials and servicemen of the armies of the United States and Israel planned their kidnapping and holding hostage in order to exert psychological pressure on the leadership of these countries.

It is impossible to exclude a series of major terrorist attacks against embassies and other agencies of the US and Israel on the territory of the States of the middle East region.

Special teams can use a portable anti-aircraft missiles to shoot down American planes flying in supposedly "friendly" airspace, and also during takeoff and landing. They can also apply anti-ship cruise missiles, anti-ship mines and improvised explosive devices for attacks on vessels and ships in the Suez canal, the Strait of Hormuz and the ports of discharge in the Persian Gulf.

Simultaneously, a special role for the implementation of the "retaliation" in the waters of the Persian and Oman gulfs assigned units and formations of the Navy of the Army and the IRGC. Special attention of the Iranian command uses a large number of small and fast missile boats, the crews of the task "at any cost, even if not to destroy, but to cause substantial harm" the warships of the enemy. So, at present at the disposal of the Navy, the army and the IRGC has about two thousand small boats and about 150 high-speed boats of the type "Sana" and "Iucaa" with RCC "Kowsar-3" with a launch range up to 25 km and "Nur" with a range of up to 190 km.

In addition, the missile brigades (RBR) of the Navy of the IRGC, which is currently equipped with anti-ship missiles (ASM) of the C-801 and C-802 (launch range 45 and 120 km, respectively), as well as OU-1 and OU-2 (launch range 85 and 95 km, respectively), began to receive RCC Iranian production "RA'd". For the first time the weapons were demonstrated during military exercises "Payambar-e Azam-3" in 2008, the missile has a launch range of about 300 km, which allows the Navy the IRGC to hit surface targets on the depth of the Persian Gulf. In order to avoid the destruction of missile formations of the Navy of the IRGC units of the 26th and 36th RBR Navy, the IRGC (Bandar Abbas and Bushehr, respectively) derived from points of permanent deployment. The missile divisions, which are armed with self-propelled and towed launchers anti-ship missiles, constantly changing their firing positions on the coast of the Persian and Oman gulfs and near the Strait of Hormuz. Along with this, work on the translation of RCC fixed PU on the mobile base.

For the destruction of the coastal infrastructure of naval bases of the United States in the Persian Gulf also provides for the application of special operations forces Navy army and the IRGC (the number of combat-ready groups – 1500, each of which includes from 5 to 18 people).

Hybrid marine Iran's strategy involves the use of tactics, unexpected attacks using guided missiles in confined and crowded space vessels the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman. Iran could apply such an attack in combination with volleys of anti-ship cruise missiles and massive flights of drones that can be launched either from the Iranian shore or from the Islands guarding the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

About this, commander of the IRGC in their speeches said about the plans of use "factor of Hormuz" in the case of attempts by the US or Israel to carry out aggression against Iran. According to him, the Iranian armed forces will spare no effort for the violation of navigation in the waters of the Strait. A large length of Iran's coastline along the Strait of Hormuz, the presence of the dominating heights and advanced weapons with a firing range exceeding the width of the Strait of Hormuz, allow to organize in this area long-term positional area of defense. Other ways of blocking the Strait of Hormuz are its mining and the violation of the fairway by sinking of large tankers. Americans are currently celebrating the fact of their permanent presence in the O. Stall, South of Bandar Abbas, some of old Iranian tankers.

Even if Iran will not be able to permanently disrupt sea traffic in the Persian Gulf, his actions will still be devastating. Iran will block the Strait of Hormuz, which would neutralize a significant part of the capacity of OPEC (Organization of countries-exporters of oil). The blockade of the Strait of Hormuz would lead to a sharp increase in geopolitical tensions around the world. The cessation of exports from Iran to OECD countries (Organization for economic cooperation and development) without replenishment from other sources, may increase oil prices by 20-30%. Other sources of oil production and emergency oil reserves will be able to get into the market and offset the price increase only for a short time.

Closing the Strait of Hormuz will cause a powerful rise in prices. If you manage to cut off the supply of oil at least for a few weeks in the global economy will decline. This is a very serious price to be paid to Western countries for aggression against Iran. And this development still is a factor in the sobering consciousness of the military leadership of the US and Israel who are planning full-scale military action against Iran.

Under favorable for Iran, the development of the situation at sea, enemy losses starting in the coastal marine area from 100-150 km and ranged up to 300 km can be significant. The loss of one aircraft carrier, the possibility of partial withdrawal of one aircraft carrier and four to six ships of the class frigate, cruiser, destroyer. However, the loss of the Iranian Navy will also be very significant and can reach 60-70% of initial fighting strength.

The Iranian leadership, planning "revenge", comes from the fact that the ground war phase of us-Israeli aggression is unlikely or would be limited in scale. In this regard, the Holy Army and the IRGC will be used mainly for solving problems of air defense. To repel possible air strikes particular attention is paid to organization of defense nuclear facilities at Natanz, Arak, Isfahan, the nuclear plant in Bushehr and the new plant "Ford." Air defense system is organized on the zonal-object principle and includes three turn, enshrined, respectively, for the IRGC, the army and the security Forces. It should be noted that the first emphasizes the fact of involvement of units of the security Forces (SOPS) for the decision of tasks of air defense. To this end, the structure of the DIS formed several groups of air defense, which are armed with guns, anti-aircraft artillery and MANPADS. According to the Iranians, similar to the construction of air defense under conditions of massive use by the enemy aviation and cruise missiles will minimize the probability of defeat the most important objects. Not to mention the establishment of the forces of resistance "Basij" mobile air defense battalions on motorcycles, armed with is portable anti-aircraft missile complex "Misar-1" (analogue of the Russian MANPADS "Strela-2") and "Misar-2" (analogue of the Russian MANPADS "Igla-1M"). In order to ensure the needs of the national armed forces air defenses all the enterprises of the defence industry of the Ministry of defense and armed forces (MOPS) that produce components for these systems will work in three shifts.

When the air strikes the U.S. and allies against nuclear facilities, and major airfields and industrial targets the problems can create a Russian air defense system tor-M1, which significantly strengthened the air defense of Iran. Combined delivered the s-300 complexes these complexes are short range, provide a sustainable defense system that can protect as cover object and the s-300. In this tandem the leading role will belong to the "long arm", to shoot down targets at a great distance, and "Torah" will be to destroy air targets at a distance up to 12 km and at altitudes up to 6 km. This will ensure that the cloaked objects from cruise missiles and enemy aircraft.

If Iran will be able to take effective counter-measures using electronic warfare, camouflage and mobility of firepower, the total damage from the actions of the Iranian air defense may exceed the allowable for the U.S. air force and its allies threshold aviation casualty 3 %, allowing air to disrupt an offensive of the U.S. air force and Israel with the participation of about 300-350 aircraft, and 500 cruise missiles. In this case the expected loss defense system and air force of Iran will not exceed critical values, and they will keep fighting ability, whereas loss of the aggressor will be calculated from 5 to 15% of its aircraft.

The reason for this development is the increased level of combat training in the Army air force and the IRGC in the conduct of regular drills involving all units of these armed forces. In the course of these exercises, along with working techniques of air combat, pilots practiced such a complex element as bombing from very low heights. These events indicate the willingness of the Army air force not only dogfighting, but also to put missile and bomb strikes against a potential enemy. Every year, all the fighter air bases are subjected to a complex inspection of the parent headquarters.

To fight the enemy ships in the Persian Gulf, the destruction of coastal infrastructure and disruption of the oil industry in the structure of the air force of the IRGC formed the group "pilots of death". To solve these tasks it is planned to use at the disposal of the IRGC, Iraqi planes flown to Iran during the U.S. military operation "desert Storm". The specialists of aviation industry of Iran spent repairing these aircraft and their preparation for the task. They removed all the equipment except what is necessary for piloting and navigation.

The army of Iran, together with units of the IRGC with the full mobilization will provide in defensive operations, a reflection of the impact of large groups of enemy troops. If it will be the troops of the leading military countries of the world such as USA, UK and France, acting with the support of Arab allies, that Iran's military will be able to defeat a group numbering 200-250 thousand people and inflict damage on the enemy, numbering up to 300-350 thousand people.


List of sources:


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  2. Ganiev T. A., Bondar Yu. M., O. G. Cherneta, Tolmachev, S. G. "Special country studies. The Islamic Republic Of Iran". Moscow. WU -
  3. Ganiev T. A., Bondar Yu., Tolmachev, S. G. "Analysis and forecasting of military-political situation in foreign countries. The Islamic Republic Of Iran". Moscow. WU - 2013.
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Ganiev T. A.

Tags: Iran , assessment , USA

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