Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Questions About New Iranian Weapons
Iran has over the last week unveiled with great fanfare a series of sophisticated and what they call "homegrown" weapons aimed to intimidate the west. Now there are claims that these weapons may have been supplied by others.
Tuesday experts said the believe that much of the technology came from Russia and that the high-speed torpedoes tested by Iran this week were likely Russian-built weapons that may have been acquired from from China or Kyrgyzston. They also questioned Iran's claims about all of the weapons capabilities.
They weapons they tested have impressive claims including:
- A missile, the Fajr-3, that is invisible to radar and able to strike several targets with multiple warheads.
- A high-speed torpedo, the Hoot, able to move at some 223 mph, up to four times faster than a normal torpedo, and fired by ships cloaked to radar.
- A surface-to-sea missile, the Kowsar, with remote-control and searching systems that cannot be scrambled.
- A "super-modern flying boat", undetectable by radar and able to launch missiles with precise targeting while skimming the surface of the water at a top speed of 100 nautical mph.
There are some questions over the Iran's claims. In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whiteman said "the Iranians have been known to boast and exaggerate" their weapons capabilities.
"The question here is, what radar did they test their own weapons against? If it's the radar they've been using for all these years, then that's not saying 100 percent that these things are undetectable," said Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born, Israel-based analyst.
The Hoot torpedo closely resembles the Russian-made VA-111 Shkval, the world's fastest known underwater missile, developed in 1995, said Ruslan Pukhov of Moscow's Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.
Pukhov said that the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan once had a Soviet torpedo testing center on the mountain lake of Issyk-Kul. And he said that in the turmoil that followed the Soviet breakup, Kyrgyz authorities sold Shkvals to the Chinese, who is a major importer of Iranian oil.
All these weapons, no matter if they were supplied by another country or "homegrown" as Iran claims are meant to deter action over the nuclear enrichment activities that Iran has refused to shutdown. If these weapons were supplied by others we do need to find that information out, we need to know who are enemies are so that we may be able to confront them.