A new operational analysis offers a comparative perspective of the risk to US air bases from Chinese and Iranian conventional theater ballistic missiles.
The study tries to identify where the US Air Force should spend its funds to secure its air bases.
According to Heim, Iran’s ballistic missile arsenal poses no threat of seriously harming US air operations mainly because the US forces could operate from a large number of bases outside the worst threat ring (i.e., more than 500 km from Iran’s border),” Heim summarizes as reported by The Diplomat.
Some of the more dangerous missiles in Iran’s inventory are the solid-fueled Fateh-110, the liquid-fueled BM-25 medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM), and the two-stage solid fueled Ashoura MRBM which is still being developed.
Predictably, Heim determines that the US airpower faces a larger threat from China in East Asia than Iran in Southwest Asia, The Diplomat reported.
Heim’s overall conclusion is that “Iran could still threaten theatre ballistic missile (TBM) strikes on major cities but it currently lacks the credible capability to deny US air operations (…) [T]he Iranian ballistic missile threat to US air bases is exaggerated by the Iranians and likely to remain modest, relative to the threat those bases face in East Asia.”
For that reason Heim suggests that “scarce funds to harden air bases should be allocated first to the Western Pacific, where China’s growing TBM force presents a much greater concern.”
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