Iran’s air defence commander, Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, claimed in a series of announcements made on 28 August and 1 September that the Islamic Republic is making progress on two indigenous long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) programmes.
He said on 28 August that the Bavar-373 SAM had been successfully test-fired for the first time. This announcement came almost three years after he revealed the system was being developed to replace the S-300 mobile, long-range SAM systems that Iran ordered from Russia, but which were cancelled after the UN imposed an arms embargo in 2010.
Although no imagery of the test was released, the Bavar-373 missile appears to have been shown for the first time in Iranian television footage of a military exhibition in Tehran on 28 August. The footage fleetingly showed a white missile with ‘373’ written on it that appeared to be roughly the same size and shape as the ones used with the S-300P series.
It was displayed next to another previously unseen missile and a vehicle-mounted, rotating, planar-array radar that could be part of a mobile SAM system.
Brig Gen Esmaili said that Iran was working on another long-range SAM based on the old Russian S-200 system called the Talash-3, which he said had been successfully tested and would be unveiled on 22 September during Sacred Defence Week.
“Talash-1 and -2 were designed and unveiled in 2012 and 2013 with a short- and medium-range capability,” the Iranian news agency Mehr quoted him as saying. “Talash-3, which is a combination of the S-200 and localised technology, has been designed and produced in 2014.”
The only previous reference to an air defence system called Talash appears to have been made by Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan in November 2013, when he suggested it was a radar and/or command-and-control system for the Sayyad-2 SAM he was unveiling at that time.
“The Talash defence system was designed and built to detect and intercept targets for the Sayyad-2 missile,” he said.
The Sayyad-2 is a land-based version of the RIM-66 (SM-1) naval SAM, while the Sayyad-1 is a copy of the Chinese HQ-2/Russian S-75 SAM.
Brig Gen Esmaili unveiled two new radar systems on 1 September: the Arash-2 and Keihan (or Keyhan).
Iranian television footage suggested the Arash-2 is a development of the ‘Square Pair’ target engagement radar used with the S-200 SAM.
“In the past, Arash-1 radar was designed and produced by Iran’s army, but needed to be upgraded to be capable of quickly discovering micro air vehicles,” Mehr quoted Esmaili as saying. “Arash-2 radar greatly facilitates the air defence and is compatible with the world’s modern technology.”