Iran’s military potential is one of the largest in the Middle East.
From a military geographical point of view, the position of Iran is very advantageous. It directly borders with countries that, at least at the present time, have not shown willingness to provide their territory under the NATO and Israel grouping for a military operation against their neighbor.
Turkey is unlikely to do this, as it claims a rebirth of influence in the Islamic world and has a complicated relationship with Israel. However, given the involvement in the internal conflict in Syria on the side of opponents of the legitimate government of this country - allies of Iran, as well as membership in NATO under certain conditions, Ankara can provide its territory for such operations.
In Pakistan, anti-American sentiment is strong. Therefore, the deployment of significant contingents of NATO troops is very difficult. However, Pakistan’s economic dependence on the United States and a strong pro-American lobby in the political elite can lead to the fact that under certain pressure the country's leadership will agree to the deployment of groups of troops intended for war with Iran.
Baghdad seeks to maintain at least a neutral relationship with Tehran and, most likely, will not provide an opportunity for invasion of its neighbor.
In Afghanistan, the grouping of NATO forces is not in a position to control the territory of the country, where, moreover, there is a lack of sufficient infrastructure to accommodate and ensure the intensive combat activities of large groups of troops. Saudi Arabia and the neighboring Arab monarchies are likely to agree to become a springboard for operations against Iran. They have a relatively well-developed military infrastructure that allows them to deploy large contingents. However, since these countries do not have a common border with Iran, their territory can be used mainly to house an air force grouping.
Iran’s military potential is one of the largest in the Middle East. The armed forces are distinguished by good training of personnel. Its fighting spirit is very high, which is largely determined by the fact that Iran is a theocratic state, in which Shiite Islam is accepted as the official religion. Today it is one of the most passionary religious movements.
The Armed Forces of Iran consist of two independent components - the army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). Each of them has its own ground forces, air force and navy with the corresponding system of government bodies of peacetime and wartime.
The total number of regular armed forces of Iran exceeds 900 thousand people, of which about 670 thousand - in the army and the IRGC, up to 100 thousand - in the Air Force, more than 45 thousand - in the Navy, and about 150 thousand - in the Basij forces and special forces "Code". The reserve of ground forces is 350 thousand people with a total mobilization resource 10 million.
Persians - the power!
According to the materials of the open press, in the combat structure of the Ground Forces more than 1600 tanksincluding 540 T-55, 480 T-72, 168 M47, 150 M60, 100 Chiften, 100 Zulfikar (quite modern tanks of their own Iranian design) and 75 T-62. There are 550–670 infantry fighting vehicles, 2085 non-self-propelled artillery guns and 310 self-propelled guns, about 870 MLRS, 1700 anti-aircraft guns of military air defense, a large number of anti-tank guns, and at least 220 helicopters. In addition, 32 Shihab-3 ballistic missile launchers (about 40 missiles available) and 64 operational-tactical missiles (for which there are about 250 Shihab-1 and 100 Shihab-2 missiles).
The basis of the combat power of the Air Force is 25 MiG-29, 65 F-4 fighter-bombers, more than 60 F-5, up to 24 F1EQ Mirage and 60 F-14 (of which about 25 are in flight condition), as well as 30 front-line bombers Su-24. In total, the combat structure of the Air Force has about 30 combat and 100 transport aircraft, more than 400 helicopters for various purposes. The presence of the F-14, which has a powerful radar with a phased array (target detection range of a fighter type - up to 200 kilometers, and a bomber type - 300 kilometers or more) and the possibility of automated data exchange, allows solving radar surveillance and fighter guidance tasks aviation for air targets. That is, the Iranian air defense, when creating a radar field, has, in addition to a very vulnerable ground component, also an air component with significantly greater combat stability.
The Iranian Navy is considered the most capable in the Persian Gulf. They consist of five corvettes, 20 rocket ships (including 10 type Houdong boats equipped with C-802 missiles with 120 kilometers of firing range) and 20 torpedo boats, 13 assault ships, 28 auxiliary ships, three submarines, 22 aircraft and 15XXUMX aircraft and 20 landing craft. . In addition, the Iranian Navy has 10 order of ultra-small submarines and about 70 coastal missile systems equipped with anti-ship missiles with a range from 250 to XNUMX kilometers.
Air defense is represented by missile systems, mainly Soviet (Russian) development. These are about 10 С-200 and 45 С-75, as well as X-NUMX "Tor-М29" and 1 ЗРПК "Pantsir" С-10. Also as part of the air defense system, there are 1 British air defense systems of the short-range "Rapier" and American-made Improved Hawk 30 air defense systems, for which the production of missiles and spare parts was mastered (these air defense systems were modernized according to the Iranian project, called "Shahin"). A certain number of Soviet “Kvadrat” air defense systems and 150 mobile outdated British air defense systems “Taygatt” are also known. In total, the country's defense consists of about 15 anti-aircraft fire units. As is known, Russia supplies C-3000 to Iran.
The combat capabilities of the Iranian armed forces are carefully hidden. However, on the basis of an analysis of their combat strength and strength, it is possible to sufficiently estimate their ability to resist external aggression.
The Iranian Air Force and Air Defense, provided effective masquerading measures are in place, can effectively resist even the most modern air enemy, in particular, they can easily disrupt the air offensive operation of the NATO and Israel air forces with participation of up to 300 – 350 aircraft and 500 cruise missiles. At the same time, the expected losses of the air defense system and the Iranian Air Force will not exceed the critical ones and they will retain their combat effectiveness, while the aggressor will miss 5 – 12 percent of its aircraft.
At the same time, the Iranian armed forces themselves can launch missile strikes using MRBMs at targets in the operational depth of the grouping of the armed forces of the enemy and disable up to four to six airfields for up to two to three days with the destruction from 10 to 15 of the aircraft and helicopters.
Iranian Navy is able to withstand a powerful naval enemy (for example the fleet USA) only in coastal areas, at a distance of up to 150 kilometers from the coast. According to the estimates of the American military experts, which they did after the exercises with computer simulation of military operations, the loss of the US Navy in the event of their entry into the Persian Gulf can turn out to be very significant with a favorable development for Iran - up to one aircraft carrier and up to four to five class surface ships destroyer cruiser. Losses of the Iranian Navy will also be very significant and may exceed 70 percent of the initial combat strength.
At a distance of more than 300 kilometers from the coast, it is effective to resist the US Navy. Iran is capable of only non-nuclear Russian-made submarines of the 877EKM project and mines. weapons. These forces and means of the Navy will at best be able to destroy or disable one or two enemy surface ships.
The Iranian ground forces, when fully mobilized, will provide in defensive operations a reflection of the blow of large groups of enemy troops. If these are troops of the most developed countries of the world, such as the USA, operating with the support of allies from the Arab world, then the Iranian Armed Forces will be able to repel the blow of a group of up to 200 – 250 thousand people.
The military-political analysis shows that the existing composition of the Iranian armed forces is in general consistent with today's threats against the country and makes it possible to neutralize them even taking into account not only military, but other factors.
You can swear, fight - no
The potential of the countries of the region, which are open opponents of Iran, does not allow them to oppose independently or even in a coalition. For example, Saudi Arabia, having a powerful technical equipment for the Armed Forces, is significantly inferior in spiritual potential and combat training of troops (which was well demonstrated by the conflicts in which the troops of the kingdom participated). Turkey, having a Kurdish problem in the rear, is unlikely to decide on a war against Iran, even in alliance with the Saudis and other Gulf monarchies. Israel, being an open enemy, is too far from the territory of the main adversary to be able to carry out more or less serious aggression against it with reasonable political goals.
In principle, aggression by the United States is possible against Iran. It may be caused, for example, by Tehran’s active expansion of its influence in the Persian Gulf zone. Such an aggression will most likely be carried out in the form of a large-scale air campaign of the type that took place in Yugoslavia. The US Army will try to avoid action, fearing serious casualties. Such an operation can pursue the goal of complete destruction of the Iranian nuclear complex and destruction of its economic facilities. It will be conducted by a coalition led by the United States. Its main participants can be Turkey and Saudi Arabia, whose territory and military infrastructure will form the basis of the necessary springboard. It is extremely important to involve Pakistan, without which it is extremely difficult to ensure effective impact throughout Iranian territory by tactical aviation forces.
The growing crisis in Europe and the USA themselves, as well as pressure from the international community in the event of a delay in the operation, may force it to collapse before the goals are achieved. That is, perhaps it can end in failure.
To prevent this from happening, the United States and its allies will have to ensure the overwhelming superiority of their air force in quantitative and qualitative terms over air defense and the Iranian Air Force. That is, it is necessary to create a grouping of aviation with a total number of at least 1500 machines, including up to 300 of aircraft wing aircraft and up to 40 – 50 strategic bombers. In addition, the release of 1500 – 2500 cruise missiles is likely, mainly for strategic aviation.
The total amount of cargo that will need to be delivered to the area of the forthcoming hostilities (according to the experience of military operations against Iraq) may exceed two to three million tons. And the total cost of such an operation, according to the most careful estimates, will exceed one trillion dollars. Even for the USA it is very sensitive.
Strikes on Iran will cause a spike in oil prices, which will exacerbate the unfavorable economic situation in Europe and cause a negative reaction from China. At the same time, it is impossible to disrupt Tehran’s nuclear program only by air operations, since its most important objects are located in rock shelters, which cannot be hit even by the most powerful conventional ammunition. And the use of nuclear weapons is unacceptable for political reasons.
It will be difficult to create an anti-Iranian coalition today. For all potential partners of the United States, being involved in such a war is fraught with serious aggravation of internal problems.
It is unlikely that it will be possible to hold a resolution permitting an operation against Iran through the UN Security Council. It will also seriously dampen the desire of US regional allies to join the coalition.
That is, Iran has created conditions under which large-scale aggression against it is practically impracticable.