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Iran announced that it has armed its warships with a new generation of cruise missiles and warned the West that its response to “any threat” will be “more deadly and heavier,” according to regional media reports.
A top Iranian naval commander revealed on Monday that Iran has armed its coastal defenses and warships with a new, domestically produced cruise missile primarily used to destroy enemy ships.
These new “Ghadir cruise missiles” have been loaded onto “both destroyers and missile-launching warships of the Navy, and they are also used as coast-to-sea missiles,” Iranian Navy Commander Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari was quoted as telling the state-run Press TV.
The new weapons were unveiled just a day before a top Iranian Army Commander “downplayed the U.S. and its allies,” warning them that “in case of any threat, our response will be more deadly and heavier,” according to Iran’s Fars News Agency.
Iran’s military moves come as the United States moves to significantly cut its own cruise missile stockpiles, including the full elimination of the well-known Tomahawk and Hellfire missiles.
Iran’s new Ghadir cruise missile has been described as a “state of the art” weapon that can be fired “surface-to-surface.” Iranian officials said that they primarily aim to fire it from the coast to the sea.
"Ghadir cruise missiles have been mounted on both Navy destroyers and missile-launching warships and they are also used as coast-to-sea missiles," Sayyari later told Fars.
The cruise missile is reported to have “great precision and high destructive power” compared to several other types of cruise missiles that are currently being produced in Iran.
The Iranian military employs at least six other types of cruise missiles that have been domestically produced.
As Iran increases its stock of cruise missiles, the United States is currently gearing up to significantly cut a wide range of missiles that have been employed for decades.
President Barack Obama’s 2015 budget proposal aims to abolish both the Tomahawk and Hellfire missiles, as well as scale back the procurement of many others.
Obama’s proposal slashes funding for the Tomahawk by $128 million and fully eliminates procurement by 2016.
The U.S. Navy also will be forced to end its acquisition of Hellfire missiles by 2015.
The Navy has long relied heavily on both of the missiles.
Some 220 Tomahawks were fired during the 2011 military incursion into Libya. Nearly 100 Tomahawks are used on average each year, leading defense experts to warn that the stock could be completely depleted by around 2018.
Meanwhile, Iran has upped its air defense surveillance and installed a “data gathering” system onto several sites, according to Fars.
The reconnaissance tools reportedly “send the data pertaining to the direction, altitude and speed of flying targets to the control centers” several miles away, according to Iranian Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili, who serves as commander of the country’s Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base.
These transmission systems would allow Iran to more closely track flying objects and target them.