Air Defenses Activated

Iran purports to unveil sophisticated domestically produced air defenses

Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi / AP
• May 20, 2013 11:55 am


Iranian military leaders unveiled Monday a sophisticated new air defense system that they claim can "detect and track targets at low altitudes and automatically hit them," according to state media reports.

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi revealed the new system at a ceremony in which he announced that the defenses had been built despite U.S. and Western sanctions on Tehran.

"They want to sanction the military parts and ban the aviation industry from selling Iran planes," Vahidi was quoted as saying by Iran’s Press TV.

"The new achievement has been made despite international sanctions against Iran’s military sector," Press TV wrote.

"Mass production" of the new defense system began on Monday, according to Iran’s Fars News Agency, which claimed the air system was "highly mobile" and "home-made."

The defense system marks another in a long line of new domestically produced Iranian military hardware. Tehran has increased the construction of missile systems and naval equipment in the past months, apparently in reaction to increased U.S. pressure on Iran.

"Vahidi noted that Iran has become self-sufficient in manufacturing airplanes," according to Press TV, which quoted the military leader as saying that "sanctions make us stronger."

The Iranian Defense Ministry notably partnered with the elite Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force to construct the new defense system, called Herz-9, according to Press TV.

The partnership is a sign that Tehran’s typically separate military units are working more closely to construct what they claim is highly sophisticated weaponry.

Workers at Iran’s Defense Industries Organization are reportedly responsible for construction the new defense system, which is "capable of detecting, identifying and intercepting low-altitude targets through automatic controls," according to Vahidi.

Iran claims that the system functions particularly well at night and that it can hook into Tehran’s larger defense networks.

Additionally, Iran has recently "test-fired different types of newly-developed missiles and torpedoes and tested a large number of its home-made weapons, tools and equipments [sic], including submarines, military ships, artillery, choppers, aircraft, UAVs, and air defense and electronic systems, during massive military drills," according to Fars.

Iran made aggressive military moves over the weekend when it dispatched a warship into the critical Strait of Hormuz shipping lane, according to reports. The ship has been "shadowing" a large-scale mine hunting exercise being carried out by the United States and other Western allies.

The warship travelled "within a mile of the western vessels" stationed in the Gulf, according to the Telegraph.

Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in response to what it claims is Western aggression. Closure of the shipping lane would greatly impact the delivery of oil.

Published under: Iran, Middle East, Military