Iran has unveiled new missiles and drones, it claimed this week. A ballistic missile named for former IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani was shown off in the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The new exhibit also included drones and a cruise missile named for Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, former head of Kataib Hezbollah.
The new weapons are named for the two men the US killed in January in Baghdad. Soleimani and Muhandis, a key Iraqi militia leader and ally of Iran, were architects of Iran’s regional policy. Naming the weapons after them is supposed to honor them and also threaten the US. The new cruise missile has a turbocharged lightweight engine, according to Iranian media.
Drones are increasingly important, Rouhani told Fars News. UAVs play a larger role today on the battlefield, he said. Iran has pioneered drones since the 1980s and now has an array of the weapons. Some are copied directly from US platforms, while others are local and innovative. Iran has supplied them to its allies in Yemen and elsewhere.
In the field of missiles, Iran has reached real deterrent power, Minister of Defense Amir Hatami said. Iran’s missiles can now reach 2,000 km., and the new Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis missile can reach 1,000 km., he said Iran also says it has a range of up to 1,400 km. with other, solid-fuel missiles.
It is not clear if these boasts have been proven, but Iran did use ballistic missiles to target the US in Iraq in January and has targeted ISIS in Syria. And it has clearly increased their precision and range. When Tehran fired them at ISIS, it used drones to monitor the strikes. It did the same thing in 2018 against Kurdish dissidents in Koya.
This shows that Iran has reached sophisticated levels of missile and drone production. It also used cruise missiles against Saudi Arabia last year, coordinating the attack with drones, although not all the cruise missiles made it to their targets.