Iranian ballistic missile 311 (R).
(photo credit: Fars News / Reuters)
Iran is developing an advanced low-flying cruise missile that could potentially carry a non-conventional warhead, Arieh Herzog, director of the Defense Ministry's Homa Missile Defense Agency, said on Wednesday.
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Herzog, who will step down from his post in the beginning of the year, spoke at the annual International Aerospace Conference in Jerusalem.
Earlier this month, close to 20 Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officers, including the architect of Iran's long-range ballistic missile program, were killed in a mysterious explosion at a missile base near the city of Bid Kaneh. The officers were reportedly working on the development of a new missile when the explosion took place.
"The Iranians are developing a capability that within several years,
they will have cruise missiles that can fly at low altitudes and carry
non-conventional warheads," Herzog said.
Herzog said that Israel's missile defense capabilities were drawn from the Iranian's development of missiles.
Israel currently has three Iron Dome counter rocket defense batteries
deployed throughout the country in additional to two Arrow batteries to
defend against long-range ballistic missiles.
In 2012, the Air Force plans to begin deploying the David's Sling to
protect against medium-range missiles. The David's Sling is being
developed to also intercept cruise missiles.
Herzog also referred to the development of the Arrow-3 missile defense system which will serve as the upper tier of Israel's multi-layered missile defense program. The system is expected to become operational by 2015.
"The system is in an advanced development stage and due to its capabilities we will have a number of interception possibilities out of the atmosphere," Herzog said.