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Wednesday, 19th May 2010

Iranís Ballistic Missile Capabilities: A net assessment

Iranís Ballistic Missile Capabilities: A net assessment
Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies (via Defence Professionals)
From Press Statement:

In tandem with its efforts to expand its nuclear capabilities, the Islamic Republic of Iran is making robust strides in developing ballistic missiles. The two programmes appear to be connected, with the aim of giving Iran the capability to deliver nuclear warheads well beyond its borders, though Iran steadfastly denies any interest in nuclear weapons and claims that its missiles are strictly defensive in nature.

Iranís modifications of the North Korean No-dong missile, resulting in the longer range Ghadr-1, and its recent success in testing locally produced space-launch vehicles and two-stage solid-propellant missiles have heightened concerns. Yet the worst-case scenario projected at the end of the twentieth century about Iran being able to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States within five years has not materialised....

Iran is also developing a new medium-range, solid-propellant missile, the Sajjil-2, potentially capable of delivering a 750kg warhead to a range of about 2,200km. Iran is the only country to have developed a missile of this reach without first having developed nuclear weapons. The solid-fuelled system offers many strategic advantages, including being less vulnerable to pre-emption thanks to its shorter launch-preparation time. The Sajjil-2, which was successfully flight-tested for the first time in November 2008, is still two to three years of flight testing away from becoming an operational system that can be deployed to military units. Iran has yet to demonstrate that the missileís individual stages perform consistently and reliably under a variety of operational conditions. If deemed necessary, this new missile could conceivably be used for combat in late 2010 or early 2011. However, the history of solid-propellant missile programmes elsewhere suggests an initial deployment of the Sajjil-2 in 2012 or later is more likely.


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