Middle Eastern information sources report the departure of an Israeli Navy attack submarine from the Eilat Naval Base, which is apparently heading for the Persian Gulf region. On December 21, 2020, a US naval force comprising the Ohio-class submarine the USS Georgia (SSGN 729) and two Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers the USS Port Royal (CG 73) and the USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) entered the waters of the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz.
Military analysts suggest that early next year, the US Navy along with Israel will strike at Iran's military, industrial and nuclear facilities. The attack will certainly involve both countries' air force. At the same time, there is a good chance that Israeli submarines are assigned to a special role of using Popeye Turbo sea-based cruise missiles with reduced-power nuclear warheads.
The Israeli Navy is armed with six German-produced Type 800 Dolphin modified diesel-electric submarines. Each has six to ten 533 mm and four 650 mm torpedo tubes and is equipped with torpedoes, mines, anti-ship and Popeye Turbo sea-based cruise missiles (SLCM) with a range of up to 1500 km. They can also have nuclear warheads with a yield of up to 200 kilotons.
Indicative of possible SLCM launches being prepared by an Israeli submarine against Iranian facilities may be the December 25 night missile strike on an arms depot and an industrial enterprise where Iranian-made missiles have been assembled, next to the town of Musayyaf in the Hama Governorate. According to the Israeli command, the missiles were launched in the Mediterranean Sea from the direction of Lebanon.
Syrian observers note that the strike entailed the destruction of Iranian facilities, despite the efforts by Syrian air defense systems. It can be expected that the Israelis fired test combat launches of their naval weapons ahead of using them against Iran. At the same time, Israeli submarines don't need to enter the Persian Gulf for target practice, given the possibility of launching cruise missiles from the Indian Ocean. According to the same Israelis, an attack submarine of the Israeli Navy was on constant standby near the Strait of Hormuz, with two submarines being on station at various times.
One should also bear in mind that the Jewish state's military and political leadership began studying possibilities and preparing for strikes against Iran's military and industrial facilities back in the early 1990s. Plan implementation was initially hindered by the lack of necessary material resources (special ammunition, navigation systems, tanker aircraft, etc.), as well as by political discord and hostility to Israel on the part of the Arab monarchical regimes.
The United States, which was opposed to the outbreak of a military conflict in the Persian Gulf, played a significant part. It seems however that Washington may get itself into escalation with Iran unless its leadership complies with the new American administration's requirements. It is entirely possible that America's latest military buildup is a mere muscle-flexing by outgoing President Donald Trump. As well as his possible intention to "bang the door" and create a major hotbed of military conflict with an outcome unpredictable for the region.