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Iran developing advanced missile defense system
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
11/23/2011
Islamic Republic may be receiving help from North Korea in creating a complex barrier to protect nuclear sites.
 
Iran could be getting outside help in developing its own missile defense system, a preeminent Israeli missile expert told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Uzi Rubin, an architect of Israel’s missile defense program, was responding to Iranian reports boasting of a new domestic missile defense system named “Bavar 373,” which Tehran claimed was “a substitution for S-300 (Russian) missile system.”

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The S-300 was an aerial defense platform that was denied to the Islamic Republic by Moscow in 2010, despite an earlier agreement to purchase it. It was supposed to defend Iranian nuclear sites against foreign missiles and fighter jet attacks.

“Intuitively, it is difficult to imagine that the Iranian system is as good as the S-300,” Rubin said.

“Making the missile is the simple part. The problem is creating complex radars and other components. The effectiveness of the system depends on the radars. The Iranians have some skills in this, but years of experience are needed. It’s difficult to believe this can be done in one generation,” Rubin said.

However, “there are indications they are not working alone,” Rubin added, saying that North Korean weapons engineers may be providing assistance.

“They may be on the way to reaching these capabilities,” he said.

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A report by the semi-official Iranian Student News Agency on Tuesday quoted the commander of the Khatamol al-Anbiya Air Defense Base, Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, as saying that the Bavar 373 had “higher and more advanced capabilities than the S-300” and that the system would be “completed soon.”

Earlier this month, the Yonhap South Korean News Agency quoted a diplomatic source as saying that “hundreds of North Korean nuclear and missile experts have been collaborating with their Iranian counterparts in more than 10 locations across the Islamic state... including Natanz and Qom.”

One of the most advanced multi-target anti-aircraft missile systems in the world, the S-300 has a reported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time.

In Israel, there are two schools of thought with regard to the severity of the S-300 threat. On the one hand, there are those who argue that all means need to be used to prevent the system from reaching Iran.

Iran drilled a defense of its radar network in recent days against the electronic warfare of a hypothetical enemy, the ISNA said in a separate report on Tuesday.

Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.
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