After supplying Shahed-136 and Shahed-131 suicide drones to the Russian Federation, the iranian government is now planning to send more powerful drones such as the Arash long-range loitering munition, and it’s indigenously-developed Fateh-110 tactical ballistic missile and it’s longer-range varient, the Zolfaghar road-mobile ballistic missiles. Iranian-supplied drones has been very successful and helpful for the Russian Armed Forces in conducting continuous attacks in several Ukrainian cities and important targets. Suicide drones are very much cheaper as compared to the long range cruise missiles such as the Kalibr which russia uses to attack in Ukraine. So, with the potential supply of these above-mentioned weapon systems to Russia, the Russian Military Air strikes operations in Ukraine is going to be more deadly. In this article, i will explain briefly about the capabilities of these new iranian-made weapons.
According to recent reports published by several media houses such as The Washington Post, on October 16, 2022, Iran could strengthen its military support for Russia by providing Iranian-made short-range ballistic missiles Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar.
Although the Russian Forces are conducted successful air strikes in Ukraine with the help of iranian-supplied drones, but Iran has denied supplying Russia with weapons for use in Ukraine.
In a another report, the Army Recognition said that, at the beginning of the 1960s, Moscow and Tehran started to expand their relations in the field of defense and security. Approximately 15 years before the Islamic Revolution in Iran, many specialists’ Soviet military offered to help the advisor to Iran and many Iranian officers were studying in the Soviet Union.
In recent years, Russia has participated in joint projects with Iran for the development of weapons systems. From 1989 to 1991, four intergovernmental agreements were signed in the field of technology–military cooperation. Following these agreements, military equipment was sent to Iran including 2 long-range anti-aircraft missile systems, 24 fighter airplanes MiG-29, and 12 bomber aircraft Su-24 for an amount of 1.3 billion USD.
Since the 90s, Russia has delivered to Iran, 5,000 Fagot anti-tank missiles, 5,000 Malyutka anti-tank missiles, 3,000 Konkurs anti-tank missiles, 130 BMP-2 turret, 150 48N6 missiles for S-300PMU2 air defense systems, and search radar 64N6.
Fateh-110 tactical short-range ballistic missile of the Iranian Armed Forces
The Fateh-110, also known as NP-110 is an Iranian road-mobile single-stage solid-fueled surface-to-surface missile produced by Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization. The first generation of the Fateh-110 was flight tested in September 2002 and began mass production shortly thereafter. The initial range of the missile was 200 km and in September 2004 the second generation of the Fateh-110 increased the range to 250 km. The third generation of the missile, unveiled in 2010, increased the range to 300 km, and the fourth generation (2012) improved the accuracy.
The Fateh-110 was developed from Iran’s Zelzal-2 unguided artillery rocket essentially through adding a guidance system. Later versions of the missile modify other aspects of the missile and improve range and payload. The Fateh-110 is also license-built in Syria as the M-600. The missile has been used in the Syrian Civil War by Iran and Syria. In addition to its confirmed use by these two countries, it is widely reported that the Fateh-110 has been exported to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
As of 2017, Iran is assessed as having less than 100 launchers for all Fateh-110 variants. Iran used the Fateh-110B against Kurdish dissidents in Iraq in 2018. It is believed that during the January 8, 2020 missile attack of the US military bases in Iraq, Iran used the Fateh-110 missile.
An intelligence assessment shared in October 2022 with Ukrainian and U.S. officials contends that Iran’s armaments industry is preparing a first shipment of Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar missiles to Russia. According to some secret evidences,Iranian military companies in Yazd province dispatched more than 200 missiles to Russian army. The sale was confirmed by the Iranian side later in October.
Zolfaghar single-stage, solid-propelled SRBM of the Iranian Armed Forces
The Zolfaghar missile is an Iranian road-mobile, single-stage, solid-propelled SRBM named after the sword of Ali ibn Abi Talib Zolfaghar. It is believed to be derived from the Fateh-110 SRBM family (possibly the Fateh-313 missile). The Aerospace Industries Organization unveiled their new weapon in 2016 which entered service in 2017 as a longer range version of the Fateh-110 SRBM. It was first used in the 2017 Deir ez-Zor missile strike and was therefore one of the first used mid-range missiles since 30 years.
According to Iranian sources, the Zolfaghar missile has a length of 10.3m, a diameter of 0.68m, and a launch weight of 4620kg with a warhead weighing 579kg that is designed to separate in midcourse phase, making it more difficult to detect, track and intercept than unibody missiles like the 9K720 Iskander.
It was first unveiled during a military parade aboard a vehicle decorated with an anti-Zionist banner on 25 September 2016 after which Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan claimed that the missile had a range of 700 km. The Iranian Ministry of Defense would later on release a video of its testing. On 17 June 2017 Iran launched six Zolfaghar missiles into Syria towards the Deir ez-Zor region on ISIS targets as a response to the attack in Tehran on 8 June 2017.
In February 2019 Iran unveiled a new longer range version of the Zolfaghar missile called the Dezful missile with a range of 1000 km, this is an MRBM.
On 7 March 2021, Yemeni Houthi attacked different locations in Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles and armed drones with a Zolfaghar ballistic missile along with several Samad-3 loitering munitions targeted the Aramco oil facilities at Ras Tanura.
Arash-2 kamikaze drone of the Iranian Armed Forces
According to reports by the Ukrainian site, defense express, the Arash-2, also known as the Kian 2, is an Iranian kamikaze drone that may pose a greater threat than the Shahed-136.
According to unconfirmed information that russia ordered from Iran a new type of drones, namely the Arash-2, which have a larger combat unit and range compared to the Shahed-136 (the Kremlin ordered 2,400 units of them).
There is little information about the capabilities and characteristics of the Arash-2. Most of it comes from Iran itself, which is characterized by ascribing to its weapons even better than western analogs.
Overall, the Arash-2 (also known as the Kian 2) was first demonstrated in 2019 and is a further development of the Arash-1 (Kian 1) kamikaze drone that was publicly announced in 2015. Compared to the previous version, it is twice as large.
According to the Iranian media, the Arash-1 has a wingspan of 2 meters, a payload of up to 30 kg, a practical ceiling of 5.5 km, cruising speed of 350 km/h and a maximum of 480 km/h.
On the other hand, the Arash-2 (Kian 2) has a wingspan of up to 4 meters, a length of up to 4.5 meters, and a range of up to 1,000 km (1,600 km, according to some sources).
Iranian sources claim that the drone has a jet engine. But in the first public photos, the tail part of the drone was wrapped in cellophane, and in other available photos it is clearly visible that it is equipped with a propeller engine.
There is also a version that Arash and Kian differ in their engines. But then the specs of these kamikaze drones should be completely different in terms of flight range and combat part.
A civilian chassis is used as a launch platform for this drone, which can be disguised as an ordinary truck. A rocket booster is used for launch.
Iranian sources claim that Arash-2 (Kian 2) can be equipped with a passive homing radar head and its purpose is to destroy radar stations. They also claim the possibility of equipping it with television cameras, but there is not a single photo with them. Regarding the passive anti-radar head, its installation is theoretically possible.
On some drones, installed antennas are visible. But its size hardly indicates the possibility of a full-fledged communication channel at a considerable distance. The possibility of its use as an element of a passive radar head is debatable. However, after viewing some photos, one gets the impression that it is generally finished in a graphic editor.
Thus, it is possible to assume that there are several versions of the Arash-2 (Kian 2) itself. It is not exclusive that some of them can be equipped with a passive radar homing head, while others are “flying bombs” guided by satellite navigation for hitting stationary objects.
At the same time, the meaning of the development of almost identical kamikaze drones with similar capabilities Shahed-131, Shahed-136 and Arash (Kian), Arash-2 (Kian 2) may well be explained by different organizations that carried out development in the interests of different structures. In particular, the Shahed-131/136 was developed by the Iranian Aircraft Industrial Company, and Arash (Kian) by specialists of the Iranian Air Defense Forces, and the supply goes to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or the ground forces, or the air force.
The Arash-2 (Kian 2) specifications, according to Iranian and other sources
Wing span: up to 4 meters
Length: 4.5 meters
Speed: unspecified, approximately 400 km/h when using a jet engine, up to 200 km/h when using a piston engine
Range: about 1000 km, according to some sources 2,000 km
Warhead: unspecified, approximately from 30 kg, there is unconfirmed information about 260 kg with a rocket engine
Means of guidance: satellite navigation, possibly a passive radar homing head