Iran Closer to Fielding Replacement ‘Game Changing’ Weapon System

News Brief – Oct 15, 2012

Iran continues to develop and augment its air defence inventory in response to the threat of possible Western air strikes. As well as the recent unveiling of a new medium range air defence system, the Raad, Iran has also revealed what looks like a tactical truck designed for its long-range air defence system
Speaking to journalists as Iran marked its ‘Air Defence Day’in Sept, Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Khatam al-Anbiya air defence base, claimed the new Iranian system would be an improvement on the Russian S-300, which was purchased to fend off possible US or Israeli air strikes.
However, although the S-300 deal was originally signed in 2007, Russia failed to deliver the system and finally cancelled the sale in 2010, following pressure from the U.S. and Israel.
In response Iran began developing its own air defence systems. In addition to upgrading its S-200 missiles and the recently unveiled Ra’ad medium range air defence system, Iran has continued to develop its own integrated long-range air defence system as a replacement for the feared Russian S-300.
Speaking to journalists at a conference on the Islamic Republic’s Air Defence Day, the commader of Iran’s Air Defence Force said the new Iranian system would be an improvement on the Russian S-300.
“The new system has higher and more developed capabilities than the S-300 for discovering, identifying and destroying the targets while tracking them,” Brig Gen Esmaili said.
As the Russian S-300 is considered a ‘game-changing’ weapons system, if what Brig Gen Esmaili says is true, Iran’s replacement for it could pose a significant challenge to Western air strikes.  
According to Brig Gen Esmaili steady progress has been made developing the Iranian system, dubbed the Bavar 373, and it could be deployed as soon as next year.
Meanwhile, photos and a video have surfaced of a truck that could be used for the weapons system. Dubbed the ZOLJANAH, the heavy duty tactical truck was first paraded in Tehran last month and looks optimised to carry a heavy duty weapons system like the Bavar 373.
Over the past decade Iran has put considerable effort into developing its own home-grown weapons technology, largely in response to the threat of air strikes on its nuclear facilities. Those efforts appear to be bearing fruit: not only in deterring U.S.-Israeli air strikes but in an increasing variety of home grown weapons systems.  
From the unveiling of new drones and radar systems to the Saad anti-aircraft weapons system, the Islamic Republic is developing into a regional military power of some magnitude.
There has long been speculation about a pending U.S-Israeli air campaign against Iran. Ten years ago it could have been accomplished but that’s changing.
Iran is not Iraq and right now it’s beyond Israel’s capability to unilaterally strike the Islamic Republic. Give it another year and it will probably be beyond America’s capability too.