This is the second of a two-part article. Read Part I here.
By: Pablo A. Jofré Leal / The Dawn News / March 17, 2017
In the first part of this work I spoke about the necessary correspondence of the development of Iran’s defensive strategy with other components of the life of the country: education, research in science and technology, and the development of opportunities that arise from natural riches.
Iran, in those aspects, is an example for other nations that have been oppressed for decades by hegemonic powers. For the Islamic Republic of Iran, the defense of their sovereignty hasn’t meant postponing their vision of the future.
Despite the sanctions, Iran is a military power
Considering the blockade imposed on Iran, the country has developed a very strong military industry and it’s self-sufficient to produce equipment and military systems for its self-defense, which has meant, above all, significative advances in the of fabrication of its own missile systems. For example, the Bavar 373 missile system—which is akin to the S-300 Russia gave to Iran in October 2016— has provided the Persian nation with a strong anti-missile system in its anti-air defense. This system causes a lot of concern to the Zionist entity, because it would be able to counteract the third- and fourth-generation aircrafts they and the Wahhabi monarchy [Saudi Arabia] possess. That explains Tel Aviv’s bravados regarding their plan to create a military alliance against Iran, which has managed to change the correlation of strength in the Middle East with its defense of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq, and has earned prestige in the defense area in the Muslim world.
Both the S-300 and the Bavar 373 will be an excellent complement to the domestically-manufactured Mersad system, which is equipped with Shahin missiles that reach targets at a distance between 70 and 150 km. Also, with Shalamcheh missiles, which reach three times the speed of sound and can be used against mid- and long-range targets. Regarding ballistic missiles, Iran owns the long-range Emad version of the Shahab-3, which reaches up to 1,700 kilometers, while the Shahab 4 missile reaches 3,800 kilometers and the Sajjil missiles reach up to 4,000 kilometers. All of them would be capable of reaching targets in enemy territory.
As for ground forces, Iran possesses up-to-date versions of Chieftain tanks and Shahram combat vehicles, designed to act in combat with mass-destruction weapons. It’s a multipurpose vehicle with proven effectiveness. The Bahman self-propelled, 57mm cannon provides ground forces with a considerable firepower, and the Puria tank-transportation system is also noteworthy. Tosum anti-tank missiles are an Iranian version of the Russian 9M113 Konkurs ATGM missile, with an almost 100% target-destruction effectiveness, which could easily destroy the Israeli Merkava, as they have done with US M1A1 and M1A2 Abrams tanks.
Iran’s army is divided into 5 large regional bodies with armored divisions, mechanized infantry divisions, reconnaissance battalions, self-propelled artillery, military engineers, logistics, communications, light infantry, independent artillery groups and an air force battalion. The 3,300 vehicles of this ground force are MBT M60A1, MBT M48/M47, MBT T-62 and MBT T-727 tanks. And also MBT T54/55/Safir-74 tanks. MBT Zulfiqar tanks, lightweight FV101 Scorpion and Tosan tanks, Sayyad exploration tanks, armored troop transport vehicles, and infantry combat vehicles.
This joins thousands of units of cannons and self-propelled rocket launchers and self-propelled air systems. Vehicles of engineers, lightweight and transport vehicles. Towed artillery pieces: mortars, cannons and rocket launchers of various calibers. Anti-tank artillery and missiles—mainly of domestic manufacture—like the Aaeghe and Dehalvie, anti-air missiles of short-, mid- and long range, anti-air cannons, lightweight weapons, anti-air defense batteries with Kowsar, Nasr, Noor Ra’ad, Qader and Khalij el Fars anti-ship missiles.
On Sunday, March 12, the Ministry of Defense presented the first advanced war tank entirely built in Iran. Similar to the Russian T90, the Karrar war tank has a high degree of mobility, firepower, laser telemeter equipment, computerized ballistics and an advanced navigation system.
Regarding the air force, the Persian nation, with over 50 thousand air force personnel and 5,500 aircrafts of different types, is immersed in a strategic plan to update, modify and modernize the Russian, French, Chinese and US aircraft it owns, including the 60 MIG 29 MIG 19, and the 15 Russian-made Sukhoi SU 25, the 60 US-made F14 Tomcats of the 70’s and the 223 F4 D/E Phantom II. These add to the Iranian-made HESA Saeqeh fighter jets and HESA Azarakhsh fighter-bomber jets. They also have made helicopters (the latest one being the multipurpose Saba 248), aircraft for transport, sea patrolling, vigilance, training, tankers and strategic observation.
All of this will be backed by the government’s agreement with Russia to obtain multi-purpose aircraft units, which were successfully used in Syria against terrorist groups—such as the Sukhoi SU 30 SM, the SU 30 and the SU 35 of the 4++ generation. This is part of the M-ATF program, which had to be stopped due to sanctions, where Russia committed to provide Iran with military technology. Thanks to this program, Iran will be able to update its air fleet to successfully defend itself against the aircraft used by Israel and Saudi Arabia, such as teh Eurofighter Typhoon, F15 and F18.
In the naval department, Iranian forces have 20 thousand men, 65 air-naval vessels, four domestically-manufactured destructors, five frigates, four corvettes, 13 submarines, 30 fast attack crafts (FAC), a hundred patrol fast attack crafts (FAC P), 150 missile-launching fast attack crafts (FAC M), and 20 Hovercrafts. Iran’s strategy prioritizes speed over quantity, by using fast, small and mid-sized vessels, with great capacity for carrying precision anti-bomber missiles like the Chinese C 802.
Iran’s military industry has successfully developed the fabrication and use of radars, logistic systems, combat ships, destructors, mini-submarines—including the Ghadir, which weighs 120 tonnes, reaches a speed of 11 knots and capable of transporting the command of the Al Quds troops and launch missiles against the oil and military installments of the enemy—, torpedos like the Valfayr, which is equipped with high-speed warheads with great power of destruction. This adds to the development of missile systems like the Nasir cruise, which works in distances superior to 1,500 kilometers, and an entire program of anti-ship missiles guided with laser technology, of which the highlight is the Soumar Cruise missile, with a range of 2,400 kilometers.
In 2012, Iran began mass-producing Zafar anti-ship cruise missiles, which can be mounted on patrol and missile FACs and are capable of destroying small and medium-sized objectives. They’ve also developed Khalij e Fars and Tondar land-sea anti-ship missiles and Ghadr and Nasr anti-ship missiles. On March 8, Iran proved the advance of its military industry when it successfully tested their Hormuz 2 ballistic anti-ship missile, fully domestically-manufactured. This missile is able to reach a moving target at sea, with an autonomy of almost 300 kilometers. On that day, the Commander of the Air Division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Brigadier Amir Ali Hajizadeh announced that the Persian country is designing and fabricating a local version of the Russian S-300 anti-missile system, called Bavar 373. It’s worth recalling that the S-300 is already operating in the main areas of strategic interest of Iran: nuclear installations, oil industry, etc.
The Persian nation has proven its capacity of operation, whether in the defense of the navigation of the Persian Gulf, the protection of its merchant and oil ships, and the containment of US incursions. Its naval power is based on the Yamaran 1 and 2, and Damavand destructors, and the advanced Sahand destructor, which are capable of transporting helicopters, sea-sea and sea-air missiles, advanced artillery and torpedoes, and are endowed with an electronic war system. In the late 2016, Admiral Peyman Yafari Tehrani, Deputy Commander for the Coordination of the Iranian Army, pointed out that ‘the construction of an aircraft carrier is also one of the goals of our national Army’.
Up to this date, besides many types of destructors, Iran has built several kinds of submarines, including the Qaem, the Nahang, the Tareq, the Sina, and the latest one, the Fateh (‘Conqueror’), weighing 600 tonnes, which makes it a medium-weight submarine. All of them are equipped with torpedoes, missiles and mines, and the Fateh has the ability to operate at 200 meters under the surface of the sea for almost five weeks. Submarine fabrication requires a kind of technology that few nations in the world have, which proves the enormous capability of the Persian nation.
Besides developing the military industry, in order to effectively defend its revolution, Iran has established negotiations with the Russian Federation—with which they are allied in the combat against takfiri groups in Syria—to secure the aforementioned technology for combat aircrafts, plus helicopters, batteries of anti-ship missiles, conventional submarines and frigates that are able to use the powerful Kalibr cruise missiles —used with success to combat terrorist groups in Syria, launching them from the Mediterranean sea—. They also equipped the Army with at least a hundred T90 tanks, and obtained the license to fabricate that vehicle nationally.
Undoubtedly, an adequately-equipped Iran means protection for countries like Iraq and Syria, and a valuable support for the Palestinian people. Above all, it guarantees independence and sovereignty for Iran itself against the aggressive policies of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Monarchies of the Persian Gulf.
And without sanctions, Iran, through its solid defense system, its bases for a modern health, education and industry program, its promotion of the car-making industry, tourism and oil industry, will occupy in less than a decade a place among the 10 leading economies in the world. And that’s something Zionism and Wahhabism aren’t ready to accept. So, of course, acquiring a firm defense is the best guarantee of independence and sovereignty.
Ayatollah Jamenei has maintained that the country’s enemies ‘resort to any method, including negotiation, commerce, sanctions, and even military threats to achieve their goals.’ Against all of these threats, Iran must have the capability to respond appropriately. ‘I’m not opposed to political dialogue—although not with everyone, of course. I agree with political dialogue on world issues. But today it’s time for missiles and negotiations,’ he’s said, and the reality in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and Palestine proves the validity of this argument.