With this very fast and above all manoeuvrable weapon, Tehran is extending the list of countries which have already announced the development of this technology, rekindling fears of a new arms race.
Iran claimed Thursday, November 10 to have manufactured for the first time a hypersonic ballistic missile, a very fast and above all maneuverable weapon, extending the list of countries which have already announced that they are developing this technology, rekindling fears of a new race for armament.
The announcement was made by General Amirali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Aerospace Force of the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s ideological army.
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“It will be able to pass through all missile defense systems”
“This hypersonic ballistic missile can counter air defense shields. It will be able to pass through all missile defense systems and I don’t think there will be a technology to deal with it for decades.“said the general, quoted by the Fars agency.
A hypersonic missile moves at speeds over 6,000 kilometers per hour, five times the speed of sound. According to General Hajizadeh, “this missile which targets enemy anti-missile systems represents a great generation leap in the field of missiles“. According to the Janes review, hypersonic missiles pose challenges to radar designers due to their high speed and maneuverability.
Several countries are seeking to develop this technology, which Moscow claimed to have used in combat at the start of its offensive in Ukraine. The announcement comes as Westerners have been trying for more than a year to revive the JCPOA, the 2015 nuclear deal between the major powers and Tehran.
This agreement aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring atomic weapons in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions has been in disrepair since the unilateral withdrawal in 2018 of the United States under the presidency of Donald Trump, which led to the progressive release by Tehran of its obligations. Negotiations, already deadlocked, now seem impossible.
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“Success” of an Iranian rocket
On November 5, Iran had also announced that it had tested with “hit» a rocket capable of carrying satellites into space. Western governments fear that satellite launch systems incorporate technologies interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, which Iran has always denied wanting to build.
Iran insists its space program is for civilian and defense purposes only, and does not violate the 2015 agreement or any other international agreement. While Iran and Russia, both hit by Western sanctions, have made a rapprochement in recent months, Tehran admitted on November 5 to having delivered drones to Russia, but before the war in Ukraine. kyiv and the West accuse Moscow of using Iranian drones for its attacks on civilians and infrastructure.
Russia, North Korea and the United States had announced in 2021 that they had carried out tests of hypersonic missiles, but it was Russia that took a step ahead, with several types of these missiles.
In March, in the first weeks of the invasion of Ukraine launched on February 24, Russia announced that it had used hypersonic Kinjal missiles, which was probably a first, Moscow having so far never reported the use of hypersonic missiles. use of this type of weapon except for trials.
China has several projects, which seem directly inspired by Russian programs, according to a study by the US Congressional Research Center. In particular, it tested a hypersonic glider with a range of 2,000 km.
Contrary to appearances, hypersonic missiles are not necessarily faster than ballistic missiles. The big difference is that the hypersonic missile is manoeuvrable, which makes its trajectory difficult to predict and its interception difficult.
THAAD anti-missile systems could intercept high-velocity projectiles, but they are designed to protect a limited area. If it is a hypersonic glider, the anti-missile detection systems, which measure heat sources, risk not recognizing the missile until after it is released, too late to intercept it.
Warning to Saudi Arabia –
While Iran and Russia, both hit by Western sanctions, have made a rapprochement in recent months, Tehran admitted on November 5 to having delivered drones to Russia, but before the war in Ukraine. kyiv and the West accuse Moscow of using Iranian drones for its attacks on civilians and infrastructure.
Iran, shaken for almost two months by demonstrations triggered by the death on September 16 of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian Kurd arrested by the morality police, accuses its “enemiesespecially the United States, of wanting to destabilize the country. On Wednesday, Tehran warned countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, that it would retaliate against any destabilizing action targeting the Islamic Republic.
“I would like to say to Saudi Arabia that our destiny and that of other countries in the region are linked to each other because of our neighborhood“Said Iranian Intelligence Minister Esmail Khatib, quoted by the Khamenei IR site. “For Iran, any instability in the countries of the region is contagious, and any instability in Iran can be contagious for the countries of the region“, he said.