New Iron Dome version can destroy tunnels
Iran keeps its ballistic missiles in underground bunkers
Israel has started testing a secret new weapon for defeating the tunnel systems which the Palestinian Hamas and Hizballah are busy digging for surprise attacks against Israel. Western sources reported Friday, March 11, that the new weapon, dubbed the “Underground Iron Dome,” can detect a tunnel, then send in a moving missile to blow it up.
US intelligence sources disclosed only that new weapon is equipped with seismic sensors to detect underground vibrations and map their location before destroying them.
Western experts have been talking for years about a secret Israeli weapon capable of destroying Iran’s Fordo nuclear facility, which is buried deep inside a mountain not far from the Shiite shrine city of Qom. They suggested that this hypothetical weapon could be slipped through the Fordo facility’s vents, thread its way through the underground chambers and take down the illicit enrichment facility.
It was discussed again three years ago, when the Israeli Air Force on Aug. 23 2013 blew up the Popular Palestinian Front-General Command underground facility at Al-Naama on the South Lebanese coast, 15 km south of Beirut.
The PPF-GC leader Ahmed Jibril was then taking his orders from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.
How this operation turned out was never revealed. But Western military sources saw it as a strong Israeli message to Tehran that its underground nuclear facilities were now vulnerable to attack. The secret JIbril command center was constructed in the 1970s by East German military engineers as one of most heavily fortified military sites in the Middle East.
As for the new weapon, the Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood said that the US had allocated $40 million for completing in 2016 the establishment of “anti-tunnel capabilities to detect, map and neutralize underground tunnels that threaten the US or Israel.”
According to the spokesman, the main part of the development work (on the secret weapon) would be conducted in Israel in 2016. The US would receive prototypes and access to the test sites and hold the rights to any intellectual property.
The Israeli firms working on the anti-tunnel weapon are Elbit Systems and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which developed the Iron Dome.
Sherwood denied claims from Israeli defense quarters that the US had earmarked $120 for developing the system, or that another $80 million would be available – half in 2017 and half in 2018.
debkafile’s military sources emphasize that the timeline implicit in those estimates doesn’t necessarily represent the tempo of he Underground Iron Dome’s development.
According to past experience, unfinished Israeli weapons have more than once been rushed to the battlefield to meet an emergency war situation. The Iron Dome is one example. This has the advantage of testing innovative systems in real operational conditions, with the result that improvements and adjustments can be introduced much faster than planned.
Our sources add: Both Palestinian Hamas and the pro-Iranian Hizballah are working overtime on tunnels for sneaking terrorists and commando fighters into Israel to attack IDF posts and civilian locations. During Israel’s last counter-terror operation in the Gaza Strip, Hamas staged a deadly tunnel attack on the Israel side of the border and is planning repeats. Hizballah is training commando units for underground surprise incursions to capture parts of Galilee in northern Israel.
The Israeli government has spent more than $250 million since 2004 on efforts to thwart tunnel construction under the Gaza border.
IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eisenkot hinted at these efforts in February. “We are doing a lot, but many of [the things we do] are hidden from the public,” he told a conference at Herzliya’s Interdisciplinary Center. “We have dozens, if not a hundred, engineering vehicles on the Gaza border.”