Well, only a few months after Russia decided not to sell the advanced S-300 surface to air missile system to Iran, spinsters in Tehran are touting a homegrown version of that very missile.
From the AP:
Iran has successfully tested a newly developed air defense missile system during the country’s biggest ever air defense drill, the country’s military announced Thursday.
Iran’s state television said the test was Tehran’s response to Moscow’s refusal to deliver the advanced Russian S-300 air defense system amid U.N. and international sanctions on the country.
Gen. Hamid Arjangi, a spokesman for the five-day exercise, said the system - known as Mersad, or Ambush in Farsi - and Shahin, or Hawk, were developed by Iranian scientists and is capable of identifying and hitting targets at low and medium altitudes.
The article goes on to say:
The locally developed missiles were similar to the anti-aircraft missile system that Russia has refused to deliver, citing the latest round of U.N. sanctions imposed in response to Tehran’s nuclear program.
“The Iranian-made missile system is an upgraded version of the anti-aircraft Russian S-200 missile system and has the same capability as that of the Russian S-300 missile,” the television reported.
So this means Tehran is already “mass producing” a SAM comparable to the ones it was desperate to buy from Russia until the Kremlin nixed the deal last summer (much to the relief of certain Western air force planners). Right.
Russia’s missile, the S-300, is “capable of shooting down aircraft and missiles at ranges of over 90 miles (144 kilometers) and at altitudes of about 90,000 feet (27,430 meters).” It’s long been used to justify planes like the F-22 Raptor.
You’ve got to doubt whether Iran really could field such technology this quickly. Remember when it doctored the pics of a missile test in 2008? And don’t forget this display of military might.
Just sayin’, Iranian officials have a way of exaggerating.
Here’s the whole AP article.
— John Reed