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The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force has launched a new indigenously manufactured air defence system with multi-target tracking capability during the Aerospace Exhibition in Tehran, Iran.

Completely designed and manufactured by the Iranian experts in 18 months, the ‘Third of Khordad Air Defense System’ can trace all types of flying targets within an operational range of 50km, and subsequently destroy them by firing missiles, reported Fars News Agency.

Specifically, the system features enhanced radar, tracing and missile-launching systems, and is capable of tracing and targeting wide range of fighter jets, bombers and cruise missiles flying at an altitude of up to 25,000m.

An unnamed IRGC Aerospace Force commander was quoted by the news agency as saying that the system is comparable to the advanced Russian-built S-300 long-range air-defence missile shield, and also noted that its operational range would be increased to 100km followed by 200km in future.

Iran has long sought to acquire the S-300 system, and also signed an $800m contract with Moscow in 2007 for the supply of five S-300PMU-1 battalions.

"The ‘Third of Khordad Air Defense System’ can trace all types of flying targets within an operational range of 50km."

However, the contract was cancelled by former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev following the fourth UN Security Council arms embargo on the country in September 2010.

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Manufactured by NPO Almaz Bureau, the S-300 is a mobile, long-range air defence system designed to detect, track and destroy incoming cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and high and low-flying strike aircraft.

In addition to this, the IRGC Aerospace Force also unveiled the domestic version of the RQ-170 Sentinel unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which was tracked and downed by Iran in late 2011.

Manufactured through the reverse engineering of the Lockheed Martin built drone, the Iranian version has been equipped with bombing capability to carry out a wider range of missions, in addition to the routine surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

Image: Iran’s newly launched Third of Khordad Air Defense System is claimed to be similar to the Russian-built S-300 long-range air-defence system. Photo: courtesy of KGG1951.

Defence Technology