Our new article for Examiner.com looks at the implications of today's missile test by Iran. With the successful launch of a solid-fueled Sajjil-2, Tehran has re-affirmed its plans to field advanced missiles, capable of hitting Israel and U.S. targets throughout the Middle East.
But the Sajjil-2 is more than just a new Iranian missile. It's a first-strike weapon, designed to put a chemical, biological or nuclear warhead on an Israeli target with minimal warning. Over the past decade, Tehran has invested heavily in underground complexes for its short and medium-range missiles.
Some of those facilities--like the base at Bakhtaran--have launch portals built into the roofs of hardened bunkers, allowing missiles to be launched from inside. Such facilities are ideal for staging surprise attacks, and solid-fuel missiles support that strategy. They can be launched with minimal preparation, and the solid-fuel technology is less volatile that the liquid fuel used in older Iranian missiles.
As we note in the article. development of the Sajjil-2 reduces Israel's warning time to a matter of minutes. Liquid-fueled systems like the Shahab-3 require longer preparation time (more than a an hour in some cases) and--preferably--outside an enclosed bunker, where a fuel leak could be disastrous.