Fars News Agency – May 2, 2011
Iran has a comprehensive plan to strengthen its air defense capability by using a combination of various missile defense systems for different altitudes, a senior Iranian commander announced on Monday.
“We are working on strengthened air-defense citadels, and we make use of all systems for all altitudes to keep these citadels strong,” Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli told reporters
The commander added that the Iranian air defense unit can cover an area, at least, 80,000 feet in altitude.
He said Iran is trying to upgrade its air defense capability proportionate to new regional and trans-regional threats, but meantime underlined that the country would not abandon its old defensive systems “since we believe in multiple defense layers”.
In April, 2011, Iran successfully test-fired two mid-range Hawk missiles named ‘Shahin’ capable of tracing and targeting aggressive aircraft at low and medium altitudes.
The two Shahin missiles were launched from a home-made air defense system named ‘Mersad’.
The Mersad air defense shield is a completely indigenized system developed by the Iranian experts and technicians to promote the country’s combat power. The system was deployed in all Army air-defense units on Sunday to boost the country’s air-defense power.
The Mersad system equipped with Shahin missiles is capable of tracing and targeting any enemy aircrafts at 70 to 150km altitude and is considered as a mid-altitude system among the country’s missile defense shields.
Last month, Iran successfully test-fired its latest air-defense missile system, dubbed as Sayyad 2, and Tehran’s defense officials said that the system would be deployed across the country in the near future.
Sayyad 2 air-defense system which has passed the tests in recent days is scheduled to be unveiled in the near future.
Iran had earlier unveiled Sayyad 1 surface-to-air missile which is a two-staged air defense missile that is capable of destroying targets with low Radar Cross Section (RCS) at low and medium altitudes.
The system enjoys the capability to defuse jamming and electronic warfare attacks.
Sayyad 2 is an upgraded version and enjoys higher precision, range and destruction power compared with its previous version.
In January Iran announced that it has successfully tested an optimized version of the mid-range hawk anti-aircraft missiles in an area close to a nuclear facility.
Lieutenant Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base for Operations Colonel Abolfazl Farmahini announced that the hawk systems optimized by the Iranian experts had undergone warm testing at Khondab nuclear facility near the Central city of Arak and successfully hit their targets.
The commander said that the test was aimed at assessing the level of preparedness of the defense systems deployed in the region to defend Iran’s sensitive nuclear facilities.
The commander stressed that Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base conducts such tests regularly to promote the country’s defensive capabilities.
In November, Iranian Armed Forces conducted the biggest ever nationwide air drills codenamed ‘Defenders of the Sky of Vellayat III’.
Iran’s air defense unit has conducted successful tests of different anti-aircraft defense systems, including the anti-cruise Tor-M1 and sophisticated S-200 anti-aircraft missile system.
The Tor-M1 is a short range, mobile air defense system intended for engagement of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, UAVs, and cruise missiles flying between medium and very low altitudes even in severe countermeasures environments.
Iran’s S-200 system is a very long range, medium-to-high altitude surface-to-air missile (SAM) system designed to defend large areas from bomber attack or other strategic aircrafts. Each battalion has 6 single-rail missile launchers and fire control radar. It can be linked to other, longer-range radar systems.