Iran's defense minister said Saturday his ministry had already upgraded its new "Mersad" missile defense system, the Fars News Agency reported (see GSN, Aug. 23).
"The Mersad missile system is a highly important system and the range of its new generation will be more than the range of its current generation possessed by the Iranian armed forces," said Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi.
"The new generation of Mersad system covers higher altitudes and hits more targets simultaneously," he told the news agency.
Tehran in April noted production of the nation's first indigenously produced, medium-range antimissile system, part of a broader program to augment Iranian capabilities against cruise missiles and other incoming air weaponry. Mersad can be made part of that defensive array, Vahidi said.
The "Mesbah (Lantern) 1 air-defense system is designed and built to counter air attacks, different kinds of airplanes, cruise missiles, choppers and other air threats in low altitudes," Vahidi said in May.
Iran hopes to augment its own capabilities following Russia's decision against exporting advanced S-300 systems to the Middle Eastern state. Moscow said the delivery would violate the latest round of U.N. Security Council nuclear sanctions against Tehran (Fars News Agency, Oct. 23).