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In 2009, it became clear that China had developed a mobile medium-range ballistic missile called DF-21D, designed to sink ships more than 900 miles away. This newborn technical achievement led to an ongoing debate about the survivability of US nuclear powered aircraft carriers, as the DF-21D outperformed attack aircraft serving on aircraft carriers’ decks . This further forced the United States Navy to introduce anti-ballistic missile capability to its destroyers and cruisers in the form of the SM-3 missile.
Ballistic missiles travel on an arc trajectory to maximize range and speed, sometimes even exiting the Earth’s atmosphere before launching toward their targets at incredibly high speeds, in the case of the DF-21, up to ten times the Speed of sound. However, until a decade ago there were no operational anti-aircraft ballistic missiles (although one was developed by the Soviet Union, but did not enter service) because it is much easier to program a ballistic missile to hit a city or military base, than to hit a small white and moving, that is, a ship.
However, only two years later, Iran announced that it had also developed an anti-aircraft ballistic missile. Tehran is usually notorious for exaggerating or fabricating claims about its military technology, but in 2013 footage from an apparently successful missile test was released, and by 2014 US intelligence reports confirmed the deployment of the missile.
The missile, which has quite a name in the nose Khalij Fars (“Persian Gulf”), is a derivative of the Fateh-110 short-range ballistic missile developed in the country. The Fateh-110 series, born on a truck, can be fired at short notice because it uses solid fuel; On the contrary, liquid fuel rockets require days to gas.
The Persian Gulf missile ostensibly uses an electro-optical / infrared finder to allow it to launch its 1,433-pound battlehead on a moving naval target, although this is not absolutely confirmed because Iran covered the seeker in the photos. An Iranian article states that, in a 2013 test, the missile reached a moving naval target with eight meters of accuracy (recording here). An evaluation of the 2014 CSIS concludes that, on average, the rocket will fall a few dozen meters from the target, and that the Khalij Fars has probably entered into service with the operational units of the IRGCN.
However, the Khalij Fars has a quarter of the DF-21 range of 190 to 220 miles and, therefore, does not fly as fast or high, with a lower maximum speed of Mach 3 as it sinks toward its target . Therefore, the Khalij Fars would probably be easier to intercept with defensive missiles.
Like Chinese ASBMs, Khalij Fars would also require external reconnaissance assets to provide initial guidance of its inertial guidance system (the GPS guide can also be installed in some variants). As the US surface warships. UU they can navigate at a speed of 30 knots (35 miles per hour), making sure that the aircraft carrier stays within the missile’s ‘target box’, which can only make limited (though precise) course adjustments during its descent guided by EO It would be a challenge. The ships in an aircraft carrier task force would likely detect the launch of the Persian Gulf missile and respond with evasive maneuvers to get out of the target space. Therefore, several missiles may be required to “fit” into the target.
However, the limitations of Khalij Far are mitigated significantly by the fact that the Persian Gulf is quite narrow: only 35 miles wide in the Strait of Hormuz, up to a maximum of 220 miles. Therefore, grouping mobile launchers within the attack range may not be as difficult as it would normally be. As the missile reaches a maximum speed of 38 miles per minute, the early warning time may also be limited compared to a longer-range missile (but more difficult to intercept).
Similarly, it would be easier to locate and identify target data for a ship in the Persian Gulf than the open vastness of the Pacific Ocean. The Iranian Navy and the IRGC Navy operate a wide variety of surveillance assets ranging from motorboats, semisubmersibles, and CH-53 and SH-3 helicopters manufactured in the USA. UU even unmanned aircraft, strange Bavar-2 ground-effect vehicles and ground-based search radar.
In 2014, Iran also revealed a faster variant of radiation (Mach 4) of Khalij Fars called Hormuz-1 and -2 designed to be located in terrestrial and marine radars respectively, possibly the first radiation anti-radiation in the world. ballistic missiles. An anti-radiation missile converts the greatest defensive advantage of a warship (its powerful radars) into a vulnerability by guiding it. A ship can deactivate its radar to break the blockade, but then expose itself to other threats.
The Hormuz missiles share with the new Zolfaghar variant of greater reach of the Fateh-110, a new mobile launcher with two rails. This could help a battery of anti-ship missiles to launch more missiles in a short period of time, over saturating the defenses. In addition, experience in the 1991 Gulf War suggests that ballistic missiles mounted on trucks can be surprisingly difficult to hunt even when benefiting from air superiority.
You can see a seemingly successful Hormuz quiz in this video.
In August 2018, Iran announced the development of a Fateh-Mobin variant (“Bright Conqueror”) of Fateh-110 with an infrared finder for terminal guidance, and claimed features that avoided radar, although such features were not evident for visual inspection. Mobin’s seeker apparently grants him anti-aircraft attack and ground attack capability.
Two months later, in October 2018, the commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, stated in a speech that Iran had developed a new guided ASBM with a strike range of 700 kilometers (434 miles), expanding the possibility of objectives throughout the Gulf of Oman. No name was specified, although the new Zolfaghar SRBM from Iran (an improved Fateh-110) has the same rank, so it is possible that it was referring to an anti-ship Zolfaghar variant.
The surface warships of the United States, however, benefit from the formidable multi-layered Aegis air defense systems, whose components are designed to deal with more challenging missile threats than the Khalij Fars; In addition, US carriers are always deployed as part of mutually supportive work groups.
However, the short-range ASBMs of the IRGC are located in a confined theater (the Persian Gulf) where they would have many opportunities to detect and attack the vessels. In addition, ASBMs attack from a different vector than the much more common anti-ship cruise missiles that glide in the sea were also deployed in the region. A saturation attack by many missiles at once, launched from different angles, and including multiple types of weapons, could potentially crush defenses and cause deadly effects.
Given the volume of the valuable commercial vessel in the Persian Gulf, Tehran is investing in improving its ASBM (and publicizing that effort to the world) as a means to build conventional military deterrence in a context of growing tensions with Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.
Source: Israel Noticias