Earlier this week, Iran revealed some of its latest military and defence technology achievements. Particular emphasis was given to a new radar system, said to be capable of detecting aircraft at a range of several thousand kilometres.
Speaking at an exhibition of over two dozen ‘salient achievements’ of the air defence forces on Wednesday, the commander of Iran’s Air Defence Force, Alireza Sabahifard, said Iran’s new radar systems are capable of detecting and destroying objects of ‘any size’ if they violate the country’s airspace.
He further stated that “today, we have the ability to identify any drones in the sky of the country and the region and destroy it if necessary.”
Among the systems that were unveiled was the Emad (‘Pillar’ in Persian), a virtual warfare simulator designed for use by all branches of the military for exercises and simulation purposes.
Another system that was discussed is the Kashef-99 (lit. ‘Discoverer’) radar, a 3D phased-array vehicle-mountable radar capable of detecting small aircraft, drones, and even micro air vehicles (MAVs). According to the official statements, the system can detect up to 300 targets simultaneously within a 12 km range, and was developed by Iran Electronic Industries, the state-owned defence electronics company which also created the Kashef 1 and Kashef 2 2D S-Band radars.
Earlier this year, Iran announced the development of two other radars – the Khalij-e Fars (‘Persian Gulf’) and Moraqeb (‘Watchful) strategic 3D phased array radar systems, which officials say are capable of monitoring US military bases at distances of between 400 and 800 km. The Islamic Republic is also reportedly working on even longer range radar systems with the ability to detect enemy targets at ranges of as much as ‘thousands of miles’.
In July, Iran demonstrated the capabilities of its orbiting ‘Noor’ military satellite, releasing satellite pictures of the US’s Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, a key facility for the the United States Central Command.
In June 2019, the Khordad-3 air defence system produced by Iran Aviation Industries Organization shot down a Northrup Grumman Global Hawk surveillance drone in the Strait of Hormuz. LINK
The announcement of the advanced radar system was met with considerable scepticism in Israel. The Jerusalem Post commented:
“The articles at Fars News are not the first time Iran said it would be able to create radar with a range of up to 3,000 kilometers. It has made this claim before, dating back to 2015. It hasn’t shown any evidence that the radar it has built has this range. Nevertheless radar technology does exist that could give Iran the ability to produce long-range radar, whether it could reach so far seems unlikely.”
The report further commented that:
“Radar can help Iran monitor aircraft over the Persian Gulf or further away. Iran shot down a US drone last year over the Gulf of Oman. Iran’s discussion of its new radar capabilities comes days after Iranian media also reported Israeli airstrikes on Syria. This could mean Iran is sending a message about deploying radar to Syria. Iran allegedly deployed a 3rd Khordad air defense system to Syria in 2018. Iran has sent radar to Syria before, in 2010. It has defense agreements with Syria as well. In July US jets intercepted an Iranian aircraft over Syria. In January Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner by mistake.
A foreign report in the summer of 2019 indicated Iran had sent radar installations to Syria but that they had actually not been compatible with Syrian air defense. May reports said that Syria was using Chinese-made radar after Russian radar were not successfully detecting Israeli airstrikes. Israel has said it struck more than 1,000 Iranian targets in Syria as of 2019. An August 13, 2020 report in Haaretz said that airstrikes on ‘Syrian anti-air systems also struck about a fifth of the country’s radar systems’.” LINK
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