Iran 'improving its missiles almost daily'

Defense Ministry's R & D Directorate says with Iran, each "day that passes not like the day before."

Iranian nuclear technicians 248.88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
Iranian nuclear technicians 248.88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran's missile technology is advancing on almost a daily basis, said Col. Guy Aviram of the Defense Ministry's MAFAT research and development directorate on Sunday. Last week, Iran test-fired a solid fuel version of the Ashura ballistic missile, believed to have a range of 2,000 kilometers. In contrast to the Shihab missile, which uses liquid fuel, the Ashura can be stored in underground missile silos and does not need to be fueled, like the Shihab, before launch. The use of solid fuel also grants the missile greater range. "This trend of using solid fuel is an improvement, and [is a] central part of their missile program," said Aviram, who works in the Defense Ministry's Homa Missile Defense Agency. "Together with the range and the intentions of the Iranian regime, we get a package of technology and intentions that puts us, as the country most threatened by Iran, in a place that every day that passes is not like the day before." Last week, Aviram was part of the Defense Ministry delegation that held talks at the Pentagon that culminated in an American decision to fully fund the development of the Arrow 3. Israel currently operates the Arrow 2, which was successfully tested in April and intercepted a missile which mimicked an advanced Iranian ballistic missile. The Arrow 3, Aviram said at a military technology conference near Tel Aviv, would be capable of intercepting enemy missiles at higher altitudes, and farther away from Israel. The Arrow 2 recently underwent a number of upgrades to its avionics and electro-optic targeting system, he added. "The concept is multi-layered, to allow us to give response to every threat on a different level," he said. "We expect there to be more than one chance to intercept incoming missiles, particularly with the long-range missiles which are capable of causing greater damage." In addition to the Arrow, the Defense Ministry is also developing David's Sling, a missile system designed to intercept medium-range rockets, as well as the Iron Dome for short-range rockets such as the ones used by Hamas and Hizbullah. Meanwhile Sunday, Iran began mass production of a 40mm cannon named Fath, which has a range of 12 km. and a rate of fire of 300 bullets per minute, the Iranian Fars news agency reported. "This weapon is classified as anti-aircraft artillery for low altitudes and is used on gunboats," Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar was quoted as saying on the sidelines of a ceremony to inaugurate the production line of the cannons. The Iranian minister stressed that the weapon's production was entirely domestic and in accord with the needs of the Iranian Navy.