Iran Continues to Upgrade Its Defence Technology

News Brief – September 22, 2011

In the wake of Turkey’s announcement that it would host NATO’s early warning radar system, which will largely be used to monitor Iranian missile launches, Tehran has announced that it has measures in line to neutralise the system.

Speaking on the sidelines of a military parade in Tehran Thursday, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said “ballistic missiles” were ready to be used against the system, “if the occasion calls for”.

“If these [Iran's] ballistic missiles were to be launched, NATO’s missile system would certainly be ineffective,” Hajizadeh said

However, it is unclear whether the brigadier general was referring to air launched anti-radar missiles, recently unveiled by Iran, or another as yet undisclosed missile system.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to upgrade its air defence technology with Iran’s Defence Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi announcing plans to develop a domestically built long-range air defence system.

His announcement came on the sidelines of the military parade Thursday that commemorates Iranian sacrifices made during its 8-year war with Iraq.

It also comes after an already agreed sale of Russia’s advanced S-300 air defence fell through. 

It is thought the deal failed after pressure was brought to bear on Russia by the U.S. and Israel.

Since then Iran has unveiled new domestically manufactured air defence systems – including an upgraded S-200 missile system and the Mersad air defense system, both medium range systems, but has been noticeably lacking in long range air defence weaponry.

Nonetheless, it will probably take some time before Brigadier General Vahidi’s announcement becomes part of Iran’s arsenal as the weapon still has to be designed, tested and manufactured.

Although the process may be well underway already, as Brigadeir General Vahidi first announced plans to develop a long-range air defence system back in May, the finished product may only be seen next year.

So although Iran has its arsenal of domestically manufactured short and medium range air defence weapons it is still notably without long-range air defences, a deficiency that military planners in the U.S. and Israel can’t have failed to notice.  

Meaning that until the gap in its long-range air defences is closed, Iran is still open to an all-out air assault.

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