Iran unveils guided 333 mm artillery rocket

09 February 2017
The Fajr-F-C is seen in front of its launcher. Source: Iranian Ministry of Defence

The Iranian Ministry of Defence unveiled a range of new weapons on 6 February, the most potentially significant being a guided version of the 333 mm Fajr-5 artillery rocket.

The unguided Fajr-5 is already in service with Iranian-backed militant groups Hizbullah and Hamas, which could use a guided version to carry out more accurate attacks up to 75 km into Israeli territory.

The first indication that Iran was working on a guided Fajr-5 was seen in May 2014, when a prototype was seen during a visit to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force by Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

That version had forward fins for adjusting its course, but its rear stabilisation fin unit was not fitted. The steering fins protruded to an extent that they would not be able to fit into a standard launch tube, even if they could be folded down, meaning the missile would have to be launched from a partially slotted tube or a rail.

The Fajr-5-C version unveiled on 6 February had smaller steering fins that have been moved further forward on the missile's nose. This presumably has resulted in the warhead section being redesigned and now placed behind the guidance and control section. It also had rear stabilisation fins that - like the spin-stabilised unguided version - wrap around the base of the missile and pop out after it leaves its launch tube.

However, the steering fins still protruded beyond the missile's maximum diameter, meaning the entire missile would not fit in a 333 mm launch tube.

The four-tube launcher that was displayed behind the missile indicated that the steering fins will not have to fit inside the launch tube because the nose of the missile will protrude from the end. While similar to the type used with the unguided version, the Fajr-5-C launcher had conical caps to protect the missiles' protruding noses.

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