Iran Rolls Out Upgraded Ballistic Missile

NTI: Iran on Tuesday rolled out the fourth iteration of its Fateh 110 short-range ballistic missile, among other updated arms systems,Reuters reported.

The Defense Industry Day display came more than two weeks after Tehran said it had conducted a trial flight of the Fateh version that is claimed to have more precise directional technology and a top flight distance of roughly 180 miles.

“This missile is one of the most precise and advanced land-to-land ballistic missiles using solid fuel,” Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said in a Fars News Agency report. “In the last decade it has had a significant role in promoting the Islamic Republic of Iran’s defense capabilities.”

The previous version of the ground-to-ground missile has been on active duty for about 10 years and has a maximum range of about 120 miles, according to earlier reporting.

Analysts have questioned Tehran’s statements regarding progress in development of better missiles and other weaponry.

“The Fateh 110 has a crude guidance and control system that operates during the missile’s ascent” instead of as it nears the target, according to Michael Elleman, senior fellow for missile defense at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “The Fateh 110 appears to lack the subsystems needed to effect terminal steering,” he added by e-mail.

Both Israel and the United States have said they are prepared to use military force against Iranian atomic facilities suspected of working toward providing the nation with a nuclear-weapon capability. Tehran, which says it has no military nuclear program, has said it would retaliate against Israel and U.S. military installations in the Middle East.

“Defensive advances are meant to defend human integrity, and are not meant to be offensive moves toward others,” the Mehr News Agency quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying. “I have no doubt that our defensive capabilities can stand up to bullying and put a halt to their plans.”

Vahidi said the government by the Iranian New Year, in March 2013, would commit to delivering next-generation missiles, fighter aircraft, submarines and other military technology, theAssociated Press reported.

Tehran also declared it has begun building an installation to counter airborne threats, Reuters reported. The new facility will be roughly 130 miles from the Isfahan uranium conversion plant and would ultimately have a 6,000-person staff.