Iran unveils ballistic missile
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards unveiled on 9 February 2020 a short-range ballistic missile that they said can be powered by a “new generation” of engines designed to put satellites into orbit. The Guards’ Sepahnews website said the Raad-500 missile was equipped with new Zoheir engines made of composite materials lighter than earlier steel models. It also unveiled Salman engines made of the same materials but with a “movable nozzle” for the delivery of satellites into space.
- The Raad was “a new generation missile that has half the weight of a Fateh-110 missile but with 200 kilometres more range.
- The Fateh-110 is a ballistic ground-to-ground missile first unveiled in 2002. Its latest generation has a range of 300 kilometres (186 miles).
- Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Major General Hossein Salami unveiled the missile and engines alongside IRGC aerospace chief Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh.
- The complicated achievements on the bleeding edge of global technology that were unveiled today are our key to entering space.
- Salami noted the movable nozzle on the new engine allowed “manoeuvrability beyond the atmosphere” and amounted to a “leap in modern missile technology”.
- The new technologies that made the missiles “cheaper, lighter, faster and more precise” could be applied to all of Iran’s missile classes.
- Tensions between Iran and its arch foe the United States have soared since May 2018 when US President Donald Trump withdrew from a nuclear deal that offered Tehran sanctions relief in return for curbs to prevent it acquiring nuclear weapons.
- It has since slapped crippling sanctions on Iran as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign, with Tehran hitting back by progressively rolling back commitments to the nuclear deal.
- The US has also raised concerns in the past about Iran’s satellite programme, saying the launch of a carrier rocket in January 2019 amounted to a violation of curbs on its development of ballistic missiles.
- Iran maintains it has no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons, and says its aerospace activities are peaceful and comply with a UN Security Council resolution.