Iran unveils lightweight tactical ballistic missile

12 February 2020

A still photo from Iranian television footage of a Raad-500 being tested. Source: IRIN

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) announced on 9 February that it has developed a lightweight variant of its Fateh-110 family of tactical ballistic missiles called the Raad-500.

Iranian television showed a ceremony during which IRGC commander Major General Hossein Salami and Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of its aerospace force, inaugurated the new missile’s production line at an unidentified location. Missiles were seen at various stages in the manufacturing process, including a motor body being made using a carbon fibre winding machine.

The Iranian media reported that the use of carbon fibre made the missile twice as light as the Fateh-110s made of metal, resulting in a 200 km increase in range.

Brig Gen Hajizadeh was cited as saying that the technology also significantly reduces production costs and can be applied to surface-to-air missiles as well as surface-to-surface weapons.

The IRGC commanders unveiled two completed Raad-500 missiles that had separating manoeuvrable re-entry vehicles (MaRVs).

Footage of at least one Raad-500 was shown as part of the television package. This included a series of stills from a high-speed camera showing a MaRV accurately hitting its target.

The Zoheir solid-propellent motor section with a thrust-vectoring nozzle was also unveiled and shown being tested on a stand. It was stated that this would enable the development of solid-propellant satellite launch vehicles (SLVs) capable of manoeuvring outside the Earth’s atmosphere and ballistic missiles with an improved ability to defeat defence systems.

The unveiling of the Raad-500 and Zuhair took place on the same day that Iran confirmed that its latest attempt to launch a satellite into orbit had failed. The Zafar was launched from the Imam Khomeini Space Centre in Semnan province, but the Simorgh SLV failed to achieve the speed required to reach the designated orbit.

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