Europeans say Iranian satellite launcher could be intermediate-range ballistic missile

by Jeremy Binnie

An Iranian infographic says the Ghaem-100 satellite launch vehicle could be used to carry a nuclear warhead. (Iran Metropolis News Agency)

The Ghaem-100 satellite launch vehicle (SLV) that Iran unveiled on 5 November could be used as an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), the British, French, and German governments said in a joint letter to the United Nations Security Council.

“Modelling and simulation of the elements constituting the Ghaem-100 indicate that, if converted to a ballistic missile role and equipped with a 500 kg warhead, it would provide Iran with a rapid route to an intermediate-range ballistic missile,” they said in the letter, which was released on 29 November.

It did not give a specific figure, but IRBMs are generally classified as having ranges between 3,000 and 5,500 km, meaning one based on the Ghaem-100 would be able to reach Berlin and possibly cover all of Europe.

The letter noted that the Ghaem-100 was launched by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), which includes Iran's strategic missile force, using a mobile launcher, and demonstrated an “extensive crossover of technologies with the development of long-range ballistic missiles”.


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Sweden orders 20 more Mjölner CV90 mortar variants

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The FMV and BAE Systems have signed a contract for 20 more Grkpbv 90 mortar systems for the Swedish Army. (BAE Systems)

The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) and BAE Systems announced on 27 January that they had signed a contract modification for 20 more Granatkastarpansarbandvagn 90 (Grkpbv 90) self-propelled mortars for the Swedish Army. The FMV valued the contract at approximately SEK293.5 million (USD28 million) and expects deliveries to take place in 2025.

The contract was awarded to BAE Systems' Swedish joint venture Utveckling, which combines BAE Systems' Hägglunds and Bofors manufacturing capabilities, with production to take place at BAE Systems Hägglunds in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.

The Swedish Armed Forces already operate 40 Grkpbv 90 systems delivered in 2019–21 under a previous contract, and another 20 were ordered in February 2022 for delivery in 2023–25. The FMV also ordered the integration of the Swedish Army's new LSS Mark command support system into all 60 Grkpbv 90s in 2023–25.

The Grkpbv 90 provides Swedish mechanised battalions with indirect fire support.


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IAV 2023: Elbit presents Crossbow turreted mortar

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Elbit presented the Crossbow 120 mm turreted mortar system at IAV 2023. (Elbit Systems)

Elbit Systems presented the Crossbow 120 mm turreted mortar at Defence IQ's International Armoured Vehicles (IAV) 2023 conference being held in London from 23 to 26 January.

The weapon can be installed in a mission module with minimal protrusion, can be easily operated by a single crew member, and is fuzed for fully automatic operation, according to Elbit.

It can fire the company's range of mortar rounds, including those with an extended range and precision guidance. It has a range of 10 km and a rate of fire exceeding 12 rds/min, achieving 16 rounds for the first minute, an Elbit representative told Janes on 23 January. Crossbow is designed to be fired on the move and to shoot and scoot with a multiple round simultaneous impact (MRSI) capability.

A second Elbit representative said it was developed over the last three years based on Elbit's experience in ammunition, fuzes, fire control, and command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) integration. It is scheduled to enter service in 2024 with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which financed its development.


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Ukraine conflict: Defence contact group meeting fails to agree to send Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting at Ramstein Air Base on 20 January failed to agree to send Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv (photo of Polish Leopard 2PL). (PGZ)

The Ukraine Defense Contact Group met at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on 20 January but failed to come to an agreement on sending Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv.

The new German Defence Minister, Boris Pistorius, said that Berlin had not reached a decision on supplying Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. However, he ordered his ministry to conduct an inventory of the different versions of Leopard 2s available in case there is a decision.

German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on 22 January that the German Ministry of Defence had already made an inventory of German Leopard 2s in mid-2022, which numbered 312 in Bundeswehr and 99 in industry stocks, with one tank being phased out. Nineteen of these tanks being used for training purposes could be sent to Ukraine, according to Der Spiegel.

He stated Berlin's position that a decision on whether or not to supply Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine was still open but had to be carefully weighed.


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The Ghaem-100 satellite launch vehicle (SLV) that Iran unveiled on 5 November could be used as an in...

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