Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fars News: "Iran Develops New Missile System with Longer Range"

Claims about weapons in the Iranian Press are frequently nonsense, and that could well be true of the claims in this story, but I think Iran is generally increasing its military capabilities:
The Iranian Defense Ministry announced on Saturday that it has succeeded in improving the range of its mid-range missile defense system named as 'Mersad'.

"The Mersad missile system is a highly important system and the range of its new generation will be more than the range of its current generation possessed by the Iranian Armed Forces," Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi told FNA today.

Elaborating on the features of the missile system which is capable of destroying advanced airplanes in low and mid altitudes, Vahidi reiterated, "The new generation of Mersad system covers higher altitudes and hits more targets simultaneously."

Iran first announced in April that it had built its first home-made mid-range missile defense system named as 'Mersad'.

"The Mersad air defense system that is ready for delivery to the Air Defense Base is a mid-range defense system capable of destroying advanced airplanes in low and mid altitudes," Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi told reporters in April.

Noting that the Mersad defense system enjoys superior and more capabilities than its western rivals like the Hag mid-range defense system, Vahidi reiterated at the time that Mersad is resistant to electronic warfare and can be used as part of a network of radar and air defense systems.

"The Mersad missile defense system is comprised of different target tracing and tracking radars, soft and hardware networks, launch pads for Shahin missiles and a command and control center," he added.

Iran has recently taken giant strides in building missile defense systems. Vahidi in May inaugurated the production line of a powerful missile defense shield to destroy incoming cruise missiles.

"Mesbah (Lantern) 1 air-defense system is designed and built to counter air attacks, different kinds of airplanes, cruise missiles, choppers and other air threats in low altitudes," he said at the time.

Iran also boosted its efforts to improve its missile defense system after Moscow's decision to annul the contract for the delivery of the sophisticated anti-aircraft S-300 missile to Iran.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier in September issued a decree on the ban, which also prohibited exports of tanks, aircraft and sea vessels to Iran.

An Iranian top military commander had announced several months ago that Tehran is able to replace the Russian-made anti-aircraft S-300 missiles with other air defense systems.

"If they do not deliver S-300 defensive system to us, we have replacements and we can supply our operational requirements through innovative techniques and different designs," Deputy Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base for Coordination General Hassan Mansourian said in November.

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