Irans latest home-grown Raad-500 missile has almost double the range—310 miles—of a similar missile, the Fatah-110, according to the military.
The cousin of the Fatah-110, the Fatah-330, also with a 310-mile range, is one of the two missile-types believed to be used in the January attack on U.S. troops at the Al-Assad base in Iraq. That missile attack was retaliation for the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3 by the U.S. military.
Irans military ambitions are currently clipped by financial constraints and sanctions. Unable to buy the latest military tech from around the world, it primarily relies on proxies, “hybrid warfare,” naval power, and missile defense, according to an unclassified Pentagon report published in November 2019. The Pentagon keeps a weather eye on Irans own missile and rocket development programs, wary of the possibility that the technology could be adapted to carry nuclear warheads.
Iran denies that it has ambitions to develop nuclear weapons.
Its space program is of particular concern since the technology needed to hoist a satellite into space could potentially be converted for use in long-range ballistic missiles.
On Feb. 9, the domestically made Zafar satellite (Farsi for “Victory”) fell short of reaching orbit. It was the third consecutive launch failure since the start of 2019. No Iranian satellite has successfully reached orbit in the past four years.
Officials told state media that the satellite was “successfully” launched and went “90 percent of the way,” reaching an altitude of 335 miles before losing speed in its final moments.
Iran already has the largest fleet of conventional missiles in the Middle East, which is expected to continuing growing in number and accuracy, according to the Pentagon.
The new missile has engines made of composite materials lighter than on earlier steel models, extending the range, according to Iran. It also contains that same terminal precision capability demonstrated during the attack on the U.S. air base in January, according to