Air-Defense Weapon Succeeds in Trial: Iran

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, shown in September 2011, said on Tuesday his nation had successfully tried out a new weapon for battling airborne threats (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi).
Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, shown in September 2011, said on Tuesday his nation had successfully tried out a new weapon for battling airborne threats (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi).

Iran on Tuesday said a weapon designed to eliminate airborne threats functioned as intended in a new trial, the Associated Press reported.

A missile fired by the "Mersad" system struck a fake airplane, according to video aired by official Iranian television. The device is said to be able to eliminate targets at ranges of up to 30 miles.

The test is believed to be part of an ongoing larger set of military drills that are to include trials of other anti-air weaponry.

"This military exercise is a message and a strong slap to those countries that threaten," Gen. Farzad Esmaili, head of Iranian air defenses, said in a thinly veiled warning to Israel and the United States. "And a message of peace and friendship to friendly countries."

Tel Aviv and Washington have both said the use of military force remains an option for dealing with Iran's contested nuclear program, which the two governments suspect of being aimed at producing a weapons capability. Tehran says its atomic activities have no military component.

Iran's claims regarding developments in its military capabilities cannot be taken at face value, AP noted.

"Iran has a history of unsubstantiated boasts about its weapons and indigenous capabilities," Reuters quoted International Institute for Strategic Studies missile specialist Michael Elleman as stating via e-mail. "Iran, while increasingly capable in the field of engineering and program management, is years away from creating new air defense systems on its own."

Esmaili also announced the rollout of two additional missile systems.

"The low-altitude missile system 'Ya Zahra 3' is completely indigenous and Iranian and has been designed and produced to suit internal needs," he said in an Iranian Students' News Agency report.

Meanwhile, the movable "Qader" missile system can be placed in field within 30 minutes, according to the official.

Iran on Monday also rolled out what it said was a home-produced vehicle that can fire missiles or unmanned aerial vehicles, RIA Novosti reported.

“Mass production of this hovercraft will considerably boost the operational capability of the Islamic Republic of Iran navy,” Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said in a televised rollout event for the system.

November 13, 2012
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Iran on Tuesday said a weapon designed to eliminate airborne threats functioned as intended in a new trial, the Associated Press reported.

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