Iran Announces New Weapons Systems
News Brief Ė May 2, 2010
As tensions continue over its disputed nuclear program, Iran announced the development of two new weapons systems over the weekend.
On Saturday May 1, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi revealed that Iran had developed a domestically designed combat helicopter, the 'Toufan' (Hurricane), equipped with hi-tech weapons and anti-tank missiles.
"The combat chopper is equipped with advanced weapons systemsÖand enjoys high mobility," the brigadier general said.
Ten of the helicopters had been delivered to the Iranian Navy, he added.
The following day Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi announced the development of a short-range defense system to combat Cruise missiles.
"A new short range anti-Cruise defense system with the capability to fire 4,000 rounds of bullets per minute has been produced at the defense ministry and soon will be inaugurated," Ahmad Vahidi told the Fars news agency.
"We are at the design and production phase of various defense systems in the short, medium and long-range categories," he added, citing the Mersad air defense and Shahin missile defense systems.
In addition to designing and manufacturing new weapons systems, Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said that his ministry would cooperate with the country's civil aviation sector to produce a wide-body airplane.
Speaking at an avionics conference in Tehran on Sunday, he said the production of a new domestically manufactured medium-size plane capable of carrying up to 150 passengers would commence soon.
Still, tensions with the West remain high over Iranís nuclear program, raising the possibility of new regional conflict.
For some time now Iran has periodically unveiled new domestically manufactured weapons and announced new weapons development programs. Among them the Mersad anti-aircraft missile, the surface-to-surface Nour missile, the Nasr 1 cruise missile plus launching its own domestically designed and built destroyer and fighter jets.
In addition Iran also fields the Sejil-2, a surface-to-surface missile with a range of 1,200 miles. This together with the Shahab 3, which has a similar range, brings Israel, US military bases in the Gulf and much of southern Europe within reach.
Meanwhile Iranís satellite launch program has brought fears that Iran could one day develop a multi-stage missile capable of reaching mainland U.S.A.
Given Israelís repeated warnings about Tehranís nuclear ambitions and speculation about how the West would react to an Israeli strike, it would only seem prudent for Iran to beef up its defensive capability.
However the current face-off with Iran resolves itself, one thing is certain: Iran is no Iraq and any military confrontation with the Mullahs is likely to be much bigger and nastier than the toppling of Saddam. Even without the intervention of Russia and China.
Last updated 05/05/2010