Pentagon: Iran boosts missiles' lethality

Declassified US military report discloses improved accuracy of missiles, new sub-munition payloads.

July 11, 2012 12:33
1 minute read.
An Iranian Qader long-range missile is fired

An Iranian Qader long-range missile is fired 370 (R). (photo credit: Reuters/Handout)


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The Iranian military has “boosted the lethality and effectiveness of existing” ballistic missile systems with “accuracy improvements and new sub-munition payloads,” according to a Pentagon report.

Portions of the document were declassified on Wednesday after having been presented to Congress last week.

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The Pentagon report, obtained by Bloomberg, notes that Iran’s short-range ballistic missiles are evolving toward an operational ability to target sea vessels.

The report, dated June 29, 2012, is signed by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and says new Iranian abilities “extend the destructive power over a wider area than a solid warhead,” according to Bloomberg.

Iran’s military improvements are occurring in parallel with regular ballistic-missile training that “continues throughout the country” and the addition of “new ships and submarines,” the report concluded.

The report repeats the longstanding US assessment that Iran with “sufficient foreign assistance may be technically capable of flight-testing” an intercontinental ballistic missile by 2015.

In February 2012, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a CNBC television interview that Israel estimates Iranian missiles will soon be capable of reaching the United States.

Iran is investing billions of dollars, Steinitz said, to develop inter-continental ballistic missiles.

“We estimate that in two to three years they will have the first inter-continental ballistic missiles that can reach the east coast of America,” he said at the time.

Iran also continues to develop ballistic missiles which can reach regional adversaries, Israel and Eastern Europe, including an extended-range variant of the Shahab-3 and a 2,000-km.-medium-range ballistic missile, said the Pentagon report.

The document also disclosed that Iran is improving the “survivability” of its missile arsenal, implying that Tehran has strengthened its missile counter- measures against potential attacks.

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The report also analyzes Iran’s potential ability to threaten Gulf shipping with missiles that can identify and maneuver toward ships during flight.

“This technology also may be capable of striking landbased targets,” the Pentagon said.

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