Iran says powerful air defense system to be ready in 2015

Long-range missile shield overcomes development bottleneck, army says; called more advanced than Russia’s S-300 battery


Iran’s chief air defense commander said that a homegrown air defense system based more advanced than Russia’s highly-regarded S-300 battery would come online in two years. The highly anticipated Bavar 373 program — “belief” in Persian — has been hampered by setbacks, but on Saturday, Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli claimed that the troubles facing development had been solved and the anti-missile defense system would be completed by the end of 2015, Fars News Agency reported.

Last May it was announced that Iran would soon unveil a home-made long-range air-defense missile system similar to the Russian S-300. The S-300 is a series of Russian long range surface-to-air missile systems produced by NPO Almaz. The S-300 system was constructed for the Soviet Air Defense Forces in order to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles. Subsequent variations on the model were developed to intercept ballistic missiles.

  The S-300 system was first deployed by the Soviet Union in 1979, devised for the air defense of industrial and administrative facilities, military bases, and control of airspace against enemy strike aircraft.   The deployment of S-300 batteries in Iran could provide a significant impediment to carrying out a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, a threat which forms the core of Israel’s deterrence policy.

In May, Rear Admiral Farhad Amiri said the Bavar-373 missile defense system had already reached the manufacturing stage and its subsystems had been already certified.   In 2007, Iran agreed to a deal worth $800 million to buy five Russian S-300 missile defense systems. But the contract was scrapped in 2010 by then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, who expanded on the sanctions imposed on Iran by the UN Security Council.

As a result, Iran filed a $4 billion lawsuit against Russia in the international arbitration court in Geneva. It is currently pending review. The Russian version of the missile shield can trace around 100 flying targets simultaneously and destroy a number of them, while the Iranian adaptation is said to possess a higher targeting capability, among a number of optimized features.   Iran has also upgraded the S-200 missile defense system, improving its mobility and a narrower ready-for-operation time.

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