Iran unveiled upgrades to six weapons on Tuesday, including a more
accurate short-range missile, a more powerful naval engine and an
airborne testing laboratory, Iranian media reported. The country also
released plans to launch domestically-manufactured fighter jets and new
submarines by early 2013, and has production of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
"on the agenda," Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said according
to Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency.
The hardware was presented at a ceremony marking Defense Industry Day and was attended by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
has said it is considering military strikes on Iran's nuclear sites if
the Islamic Republic does not resolve Western fears it is developing
atomic weapons technology, something Tehran denies.
Iran says it could hit Israel and US bases in the region if it comes under attack.
It has also threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz,
the neck of the Gulf through which 40 percent of the world's sea-borne
oil exports pass, which would likely invite a military response from the
According to Mehr, Vahidi
said that Iran would fly domestically-manufactured fighter jets at the end
of the current Iranian calendar year, which culminates on March 20,
2013. He also announced ambitious plans to deploy Iranian-made
submarines and UAVs.
“God willing the Defense Ministry’s fighter
jets will be operational by the end of the year,” Vahidi said according
to Mehr. “We are also trying to use new submarines in the next year.”
Among the upgrades unveiled Tuesday was a fourth-generation of the Fateh-110 missile, with a range of about 300 km.
said earlier this month it had successfully test-fired the new model,
which it said was equipped with a more accurate guidance system.
missile is one of the most precise and advanced land-to-land ballistic
missiles using solid fuel," Vahidi was quoted as saying by the Fars news
agency. "In the last decade it has had a significant role in promoting
the Islamic Republic of Iran's defense capabilities."
Iran said it had successfully test-fired medium-range missiles capable
of hitting Israel, and tested dozens of missiles aimed at simulated air
It also presented a more powerful, 5,000-horsepower
seaborne engine, the Bonyan-4, Fars quoted Vahidi as saying. A previous
version had 1,000 horsepower, the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA)
Doubts over capabilities
experts have cast doubt on Iran's claims of weapons advances,
especially its assertions about its missile program, saying it often
exaggerates its capabilities.
"The Fateh-110 has a crude guidance
and control system that operates during the missile's ascent" rather
than during final descent, said Michael Elleman, senior fellow for
missile defense at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in
"The Fateh-110 appears to lack the subsystems needed to effect terminal steering."
also presented Armita, an "airborne laboratory" to help test aircraft
launch systems and oxygen generation and train fighter pilots, Fars
It was named after the daughter of Dariush Rezaeinejad, an Iranian scientist killed last year, Vahidi said, according to ISNA.
believes agents working with foreign intelligence services including
the American CIA and Israel's Mossad are behind the assassinations of
several of its scientists.
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