Iran Successfully Test-Fires New Air Defense System

News Brief – Sept 24, 2012

Iran successfully test-fired a new indigenously developed anti-aircraft system, the country’s English-language Press TV reported on Monday.
In recent months there has been mounting speculation that the U.S. and/or Israel may launch air strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The weapons test is seen as a signal from Iran that it is ready to meet such a strike with a weapon designed for purpose.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, said at the military parade where the weapons was unveiled last Friday: “The system has been manufactured with the aim of confronting (hostile) U.S. aircraft.”
“The Ra’d air defense system is the first completely indigenous system of the Sepah (Revolutionary Guard), which has been designed and manufactured by committed Iranian technicians in the struggle for self-sufficiency,” Hajizadeh was quoted as saying.
Iran began developing the system after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev banned the delivery of the long range S-300 air defense system to Iran, saying it would violate UN sanctions. Iranian officials said that after Russia scrapped the sale Tehran had decided to build an Iranian equivalent of the S-300.
The Iranian version of the long-range S-300, the Bavar 373 is reportedly still being developed and may only enter service early next year.
In the meantime the Ra’d provides Iran with a valuable mid-range air defence system to counter air strikes on its nuclear facilities.
According to Iran’s Press TV, “The mid-range system … is capable of intercepting targets at a range of 50 kilometers (30 miles) and can fly at an altitude of 75,000 feet.” 
Designed to confront U.S. and/or Israeli air strikes, the weapon has been described as an “optimised version of the Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile system”.
A relatively modern weapon, the Buk missile system is designed to confront cruise missile, fixed and rotary winged aircraft, smart bombs and unmanned aerial vehicles.    
Meanwhile during his visit to address the United Nations in New York, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told reporters that he did not take Israeli threats of an attack seriously.
While Ahmadinejad may have played down the prospect of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilitites, the Wall Street Journal did its utmost to portray the Iranian president as a demagogue of the lowest type. Reporting his dismissal of Israeli threats under the headline: ‘Iran’s Leader Keeps Up Bluster Against Israel’.
Nonetheless, Ahmadinejad emphasised that Iran was ready to meet such threats should they materialise.
One way to do that would be with the Ra’d missile system. The only question is whether Iran will have enough of the weapons system deployed to meet the attackers.