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Long-range anti-ship missile enters Iranian service

One of the Abu Mahdi long-range anti-ship missiles that was displayed during the induction ceremony. (Islamic Republic News Agency)

The Abu Mahdi long-range anti-ship missile has entered service with both the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) and the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN), it was announced on 25 July.

At least 11 missiles were displayed during an induction ceremony attended by Minister of Defence Brigadier General Amir Mohammadreza Ashtiani, IRIN Deputy Commander Admiral Hamza Ali Kaviani, and IRGCN Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri.

Named after an Iraqi militia commander who was killed with the IRGC's Major General Qasem Soleimani in a January 2020 US airstrike, the Abu Mahdi was unveiled in August 2020 and has a claimed range of more than 1,000 km.

Brig Gen Ashtiani described the Abu Mahdi as a strategic missile with no equivalent that can be launched at warships from deep within Iranian territory, while Adm Kaviani said the missile would be fitted to IRIN ships.

Rear Adm Tangsiri noted that the missile's range will force enemy aircraft carriers to withdraw so far that their aircraft will be unable to reach Iran. He added that the Abu Mahdi flies at a very low altitude, making it harder to detect and intercept, and has a “double seeker” that enables it to counter electronic countermeasures.

Tasnim News Agency reported that the dual-radar seeker has both active and passive modes and that the guidance system uses artificial intelligence to plot a flightpath via a series of waypoints, enabling it to exploit gaps in enemy air-defence coverage and enabling multiple missiles to simultaneously approach a target from different directions.

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