On Wednesday, Iranian pro-government media extensively covered the use of the Saqr missile by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen to strike US forces and Syria. Iran is indirectly implicated in all of these attacks in this way.
The Tasnim report notes that this “mysterious” missile has been used in many locations, all linked to pro-Iranian forces across the Middle East. He explains that the missile behaves like a cruise missile and a “loitering” ammunition, which can detect targets with optical and thermal systems.
In addition, according to the report, it “patrols” the sky while searching for the target to be destroyed and is loaded with explosives and a proximity fuse that activates when the target is close enough to detonate the 10kg warhead.
“Such a missile, which is actually an innovation in air defense systems, is a suitable weapon for targeting drones and helicopters at low altitudes. The Americans use a large number of targets, and the Saudis in the skies of Iraq and Yemen, and the Saqr missile has so far succeeded in destroying at least three Saudi drones in the skies of Yemen,” the Tasnim report says.
Iranian media claim that the missile is of a special design and “includes three parts: propulsion, guidance and control, and the missile’s warhead.” The article says it has a “microjet engine,” noting that most air defense missiles are powered by “solid fuel.”
The study details the weapon’s GPS, datalink, and autopilot. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) aerospace forces, recently said, “Drone power is a new power that has been created and has numerous branches, some of which are Iranian creations.”
The missile has been brought up before, so this is not the first time it has been discussed. The Quds-3 land-attack cruise missile and the Saqr-1 surface-to-air missile were the “two less startling missiles in the parade,” as the Iran Watch website put it in November 2022.
During interdictions of weapons shipments intended for Yemen, Western ships have seized both the Quds (which the US Navy has labeled as 351) and the Saqr (which is numbered 358).
According to the website, “the Saqr-1 has been sighted in Iraq,” and “a modified version of it has been alleged to have been employed by Iranian-backed militias to attack ground targets in Syria, but this was the first time it had been used.”
An alternative source claims the missile is 2.75 meters long and weighs up to 50 kilograms (kg) when fully fuelled. It may “loitere” and search for ground targets or “fight” against air targets. Therefore, operators will have numerous possibilities to employ the weapon.
Why is Iran talking about this missile now? It is not new, and its use was already suspected and assumed throughout the region. Is Iran raising the curtain on him as some kind of threat after the drone attack in Isfahan?
These are key questions to ask each time pro-regime Iranian media publish articles like this. It’s not out of the question that we’ll see more of this missile in the near future. However, what is unclear is whether it actually has the capabilities advertised in the publications.