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World panics over Iran's new 'super' missiles

11.02.2011
 

Iran has made yet another announcement about the development of a new type of weapon. The Iranian administration claimed that it was going to launch the mass production of new ballistic missiles. According to Chief Commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the missiles, called the Persian Gulf, develop the speed of 3,675 kilometers an hour and strike targets at a range of 300 kilometers. Jafari also stated, in a classic Iranian manner, that the new missile was unreachable for enemies.

This is undoubtedly a huge success for the Islamic Republic, and it makes one recollect Iran's previous achievements in the field of defense. Indeed, Teheran has achieved a lot at this point. It has supposedly started building own destroyers and frigates, not to mention state-of-the-art aircraft and air defense systems. What is more, Iran releases statements about the development of new types of arms on a regular basis. Iranian officials persistently claim that all of their systems surpass all foreign analogues in all respects.

What does the Iranian defense industry actually produce? Let's take, for example, the country's state-of-the-art fighter jets. Iran decided to develop its own aerospace industry at the end of the 1980s. Back in those years, Iran was staying in a state of war with Iraq. The Iranian Air Force lost much of its strength because of the sanctions imposed against the country. First and foremost, Teheran was experiencing serious difficulties with deliveries of spare parts.

They started talking about the achievements of the Islamic Republic in the field of defense aviation only after the sanctions had been lifted. In 2002, Iran designed its own cargo plane, which bore a striking resemblance to Russia's An-140.

A good beginning is half the battle. Afterwards, the world learned about the appearance of another superpower, which, according to official statements from Teheran, could build its own fighter jets. There was not just one type of aircraft - there were two. They were called Azarakhsh and Shafaq. The two planes looked exactly like USA's F-14 Tomcat and the ancient F-5 Tiger II. However, the Iranians were not confused about it. They continued to develop state-of-the-art defense technology - the technology, which made Iran's "enemies" giggle.

For instance, let's take the products of the Iranian helicopter industry. Even a quick glance on this miracle of Iranian defense technology immediately brings memories of ancient American fighters, such as AH-1 Cobra and others.

Iran's Shihab-1 and Shihab-2 "ballistic missiles" are simply modernized versions of Soviet Scud missiles. The situation with combat ships is the same. In February of 2002, for example, Iran launched the Jamaran destroyer equipped with guided missiles. Only a few countries in the world have such vessels in their navies.

However, a closer look at the Iranian destroyer reveals that the vessel can not be categorized as a destroyer at all. It is 94 meters long, the tonnage is 1,420 tons, and the crew counts less than 140 people. In other words, the vessel looks like a multipurpose patrol boat of the near-sea area (corvette). In comparison with similar Russian patrol boats (project 20380), the Iranian one has weaker air defense equipment, its missiles are of smaller range, etc. To crown it all, the body of the vessel looks like old British Alvand corvettes built by Vosper corporation at the end of the 1960s.

This is not the first time when Iran misleads the international community about its defense power. A while back, Iran launched the new oceanic frigate Sina, which was also equipped with "extremely powerful weapons." The tonnage of the Iranian frigate was very low, and it was later revealed that Sina was nothing but a missile boat.

Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis, told Pravda.Ru that everything that Iran could boast of was poor quality rip-offs of foreign arms.

"The so-called Iranian defense technology is a bluff, that has no match anywhere in the world. Most of the arms, which the Iranians advertise, have been ripped off from China, and China, as it is well-known, makes copies of Russian weapons. The quality of Chinese rip-offs is a lot lower than that of Russian weapons, and one can only imagine what the Iranians produced.

"It is also possible that Iran simply buys certain types of military hardware from third countries and then claims its ownership for those arms. It particularly goes about an analogue of S-300 missile systems, which Iran has demonstrated recently. I have two variants to explain where they took those systems from. It was either Belarus that shipped the complex to Iran, or they received the Chinese version of it known as HQ-9. The Iranians simply can not make copies of such weapons.

"As for the missiles, there are too many questions about them. All the previous versions were highly inaccurate in terms of target destruction: the speed of the missiles had been increased excessively," the expert said.

What does Iran intend to pursue with its global publicity stunts about its own defense power? The country fails to deceive foreign military experts. Most likely, the Iranian propaganda machine targets its own population.

Sergei Balmasov
Pravda.Ru

Read the original in Russian

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