(photo credit: AP Photo/Iranian Defense Ministry,Vahid Reza Alaei)
Iran continued to flex its muscles on Wednesday, announcing it had tested a new surface-to-surface missile equipped with an upgraded guidance control system.
Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said the third generation of the Fateh- 110, which means “conqueror” in Farsi, was equipped with a high accuracy guidance control system. He said the solid-fuel missile was developed domestically by Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization and tested on Wednesday.
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The missile is of particular interest to Israel since Hizbullah has hundreds of M600 missiles, which are copies of the Fateh-110. Hizbullah is believed to be storing the M600 in private homes throughout southern and central Lebanon.
The new version of the missile increases the weapon’s range from earlier generations, Vahidi said. Earlier versions of the missile have a range of around 200 kilometers and can carry a 250 kg warhead.
“Employing a highly accurate guidance and control system has enabled the missile to hit its targets with great precision,” Vahidi was quoted by state TV as saying Wednesday.
The missile test on Wednesday is understood in Israel as being part of an Iranian campaign to show off so-called new military platforms in an effort to flex the Islamic republic’s muscles after activating the Bushehr nuclear reactor last week.
On Sunday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled Iran’s domestically-built unmanned aerial vehicle that can reportedly carry a 200 kg bomb but cannot reach Israel.
On Monday, Iran announced that it was producing two new high-speed missile boats called Seraj and Zolfaqar.
Yiftah Shapir, director of the Military Balance Project at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said that the platforms unveiled were not new and were based on systems that Iran is already known to possess. The unmanned aerial vehicle, he said, appeared to be modeled after a system from as far back as the 1970s.
“This is not about military capabilities but is more connected to political issues and to Iran wanting to make a political statement that it is strong and that the world should fear it,” Shapir said.