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Iran has hypersonic missiles. what does that mean? | army

Tehran, Iran — Iran unveiled Fateh, a hypersonic ballistic missile it says is capable of breaching defenses, which could raise further concerns in the West and Israel.

So, what are hypersonic missiles, who has them, what capabilities does the Iranian version have, and what is the context for their unveiling?

What are hypersonic missiles?

A hypersonic missile is a projectile that can travel at least Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. That’s 1.7 kilometers (1.05 miles) per second or 6,174 kilometers (3,836 miles) per hour.

Some ballistic missiles have already achieved these speeds, but this new weapon is different because it can take a more random path to its intended target after re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

This makes it harder to detect by radar systems and harder to destroy by defensive shields.

A growing number of countries are developing hypersonic weapons in the hope that they will provide them with a military advantage, but the challenge remains daunting.

For one thing, the friction of the upper atmosphere creates extremely high temperatures, and the high speed of the missile creates superheated particles around it, making it harder for radio communications to get through.

So far, Russia and China have demonstrated a range of hypersonic weapons, with Moscow the only country believed to have tested them in actual combat. The United States has also tested hypersonic missiles, but is slightly behind its two competitors.

What do Iranian missiles look like?

Fatah’s demonstration on Tuesday came months after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) first announced in November that it possessed hypersonic missiles.

Iran said the projectile had a range of 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) and could travel at speeds of up to Mach 15 (5.1 kilometers or 3.2 miles per second) before hitting its target.

It is also said to have a removable auxiliary nozzle and use solid propellant for high maneuverability in and out of the atmosphere, which the IRGC’s top commander claims means no missile defense system in the world can match it.

Iranian authorities also praised the “generational leap” in Fatah missile technology, which they said would give Iran new deterrent capabilities.

They dismissed Western skepticism about Iran’s development of hypersonic missiles, saying the truth would be revealed “on the day such weapons are likely to be used” and that the U.S. was only skeptical because the technology undermined its efforts to sell weapons to the region.

Should Israel and the West be worried?

Instead of directly threatening its sworn enemy Israel, as some previous missiles have, Iran has made public its newest missile, but the signs are already there.

Fatah’s current firing range is close to the distance between Tehran and Tel Aviv, but Amir Ali Hajizad, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ aerospace chief, said on Tuesday that the elite force may consider firing at a range in the near future. 2,000 km (1,242 miles) hypersonic missile.

This is the upper limit Iran maintains for its ever-expanding missile range to assuage Western, especially European, concerns about the range of its projectiles.

At the claimed speed, Fatah could theoretically reach the Israeli target within seven minutes. That would leave little room for detection and interception, even for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

When reporting the news of the missile debut, the Israeli media paid extensive attention to the Iranian media’s previous threats that Iran’s hypersonic missiles could reach Israel within 400 seconds.

Washington, for its part, has not commented directly on hypersonic missiles, but National Security Council official John Kirby said the Biden administration “has been very … staunchly opposed to Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, including the development of improved ballistic missiles.” Missile Program”.

After the unveiling, the United States also imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, including around its ballistic missile program.

What is the context?

Iran joins a handful of countries with hypersonic weapons at a time of major political and military developments.

The country’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers remains in limbo but remains in place, and a U.N. resolution backing it will lift some restrictions on ballistic missile development in October.

Western powers continue to express concern about the growing military alliance between Tehran and Moscow.

Iran has been accused of supplying attack drones for Russia’s war in Ukraine, which it denies. There have also been reports that Russia is seeking to buy Iranian missiles, but no such deal is said to have been finalized.

But Iran said it was seeking to buy advanced Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia.

Meanwhile, in the region, a China-brokered rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia has opened the way for a flurry of diplomatic activity. Tehran officially reopened its embassy in Riyadh on Tuesday, and the kingdom is expected to follow soon.

Speaking at the unveiling of Fatah on Tuesday, Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi sought to reassure neighboring Tehran’s intentions, saying the missile marked a “sustainable point of peace and security” in the region.

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