6 April 2010

Ballistic Ability of Iran - Özer Çetinkaya

Time is running out for Iran. The missile trials of Iran which was dated in the earlier February was not only disturbed US and Israel, it also disturbed which are planning to collaborate with Iran including Russia and China. Russia and China is actually disturbed from Iran’s provocation of US and Israel for an intervention. Moscow and Beijing give significant importance to control Iranian nuclear program with negotiations because Russia and China have strong economic relations among each other. China had reached a trade volume of 32 billions dollars also it should not be forgotten that China signed a treaty on management of CNPC’s 11th phase of South Pars oil field.

Moscow wants Adamant Sanctions

Russia is also developing strategic collaboration with Iran. Russia have some agreements for partnership of sophisticated weapon selling and production besides this some agreements made for energy alliances with Iran. Moscow and Tehran also agreed on the North – South transport path which was made against TRACECA program. This path will become the only alternative for transportation of goods for Central Asia.

All these progress make Russia sensitive for an intervention which may be applied on Iran. Iran’s missile trial means a disaster scenario for Moscow and Beijing so these two countries are alarmed for this kind of trials. Russia is ready for supporting any sanctions which will be applied upon Iran. According to the senior officials in Russia: “ US has a soft policy on Iran”.

Despite of Moscow’s support on adamant sanctions onto Iran, Beijing seems more cautious on the issue. US weapon trade with Taiwan is affective on the policy of Beijing.

Iran’s Ballistic Infrastructure

Iran officials give some clues while stating their pride about missile trials except of their usual rhetoric. One of the most important clues is the clue about the Iran’s developing ballistic ability. Iran officials state that their country achieved a new level on space studies. A senior Iranian expert announced that different missile trials which will be the parts of each new trials will be continued in 2010. Trial which was made on 3rd of February is the core of the future studies according to the Iranian experts. Technical properties of the missiles and satellites are such as:

New age liquid fuel was used in the new multistage, satellite carrier simurg missile. It can produce the needed energy for putting a 60-72 kg weighted satellite into the orbit which ranged 500-600 km.

Simurg, with its engines, it can accelerate 7300 m/s for reaching to a 500 km ranged orbit.

Simug’s engine consists of four engines, each weighted 32 tons. The trast which was formed by clustering of these 4 engines, weighted 143-145 tons.

This engine system will be able to put 700 kg weighted satellites into the orbits which are ranged 1000 km.

Misbah 2

Misbah has a prominence because it is the most developed satellite system of Iran. The main features of Misbah are gathering information from ground stations and transferring them to control stations, providing communication between all military units of Iran across the country’s territory.

It was announced that Misbah 2 will work for providing communication and telecommunication but there is no doubt that Misbah 2 will be used for military intelligence.

Misbah 2 which is weighted 70 kg, can work in the orbits which are 700 km high from the ground and its operating life is three years.

The most important aim at constructing Misbah – 2 is expressed as developing satellite designing and construction technology. Iran interprets Misbah -2 as a new level for construction of more developed spy satellites.

Tulu Satellite

Another developed satellite system of Iran is Tulu Remote Measuring Satellite. It has a capability of launching with Simurg satellite carrier and also has technologic capabilities like sight taking, mechanisms and supervision of sun cells which are used for the first time. The main duty of the Tulu Satellite will be the taking cross-section sights, recording them and transferring information to the ground station with its 50 m ranged recognition capability. For achieving this, Tulu will be in communication with telemetric, pursuit and flight inspection stations in the ground. Tulu can scan and transfer any military action in Iran’s borders or within Iran’s neighbors (like Iraq, Turkey, Gulf of Basra, Caspian Sea) to the main station.

2 years of time is planned for Tulu’s utility period. In this period Tehran will finish developing higher technology satellites. New developing satellite is expected to have a 5 years of operating time and it can take high resolution sights.

Tulu satellite which is hexagonal shaped has a weight of 100 kg, width of 86 cm and it has a height of 100 cm.

Support of North Korea

North Korea added Taepodong – 2 missiles to its inventory after adding Taepodong – 1 missiles which are the developed versions of old USSR production of SSN – 6 missiles.

North Korea which could not achieved the trial of these long ranged missiles because of the physical impossibilities, compromised with Iran and started to use Iran lands for the trials of these missiles.

In this sense, 4000 km ranged Musudan missiles which were similar to Taepodong – 1 and Taepodong – 2 missiles, developed by the cooperation of Iranian and North Korean defence industry experts are testing in Iran too.

According to the Iranian officials, technique/expert cooperation between Iran and North Korea continues. Especially on missile technologies, at least 3 North Korean experts are working in Iran. Also Iranian experts are joining the instructions and development studies in North Korea.

Potential of Nuclear Warhead

In spite of Iran’s declaration International Public thinks that Iran has a secret nuclear weapon program. Declaration of Iran’s Leader Ahmedinejad which states Iran as a “Nuclear Power”, strengthen the thoughts on the Iran’s secret nuclear weapon program[1]. Iran is defending that they are working on an amicable nuclear program until the beginning of these discussions. In fact there are only a few countries which are known as owning nuclear weapons officially or thought to own nuclear weapons. Most of the countries are known as only using nuclear energy. Declaration of Ahmedinejad which shows the Iran within the nuclear armament league automatically increases the number of question marks.

In spite of world’s focus on nuclear weapons, launching devices which can carry those nuclear weapons will be determining elements. Iran’s missile trials should be examined in this sense.

There are various options for launching missiles to their aims which include freefall of missiles with using hunting-bombardment/bombardment planes, ballistic missiles which can be launched both from ground and undersea, cruise missiles, barrel artillery systems, space located systems, torpedoes with nuclear warheads and mines. Iran may try some of those options if it owns nuclear weapons but the safest and most effective option for Iran is ballistic missiles. Not only using biological, chemical or nuclear warheads but also using conventional warheads, ballistic missiles can be very effective both physically and psychologically when they are launched onto military gathering points and cities.

Different of Shah Regime, Iran regime started to build up its deterrence ability mostly on ballistic weapons instead of conventional weapons after the collapse of the shah regime. The most important underlying reason behind this issue is the fear of possible spare part and education problems which risks conventional power construction because of the US configured military infrastructure in the Shah Regime. Another issue in this choice is actually the impossibility of winning a conventional war against US and US supported Gulf Region Countries. Because of this, a destructive asymmetric war doctrine has started to used in Iran against the threats. One of the basic elements of this doctrine is ballistic missiles.

Iran had gained the mass - production ability of aversive ballistic missile systems after the 30 years of research and development process. In this process Iran gained the technical aid of North Korea, China and Russia. Iran which gained a know-how ability in spite of the international pressures and embargos, is not only producing small ranged (SRBM, ballistic missiles have a range of 1000 km) and medium ranged missiles (MRBM, ballistic missiles have a range of 1000-3000 km) also Iran recorded many of these kinds of missiles in its inventory. Iran’s next aim is to produce long ranged ballistic missiles (IRBM, ballistic missiles which have a range of 3000-5500 km) and finally Iran aims to produce intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM, ballistic missiles have a range of more than 5500 km).

Small, Medium and Long Ranged Rockets

According to the announcements of Iranian officials, Iran continues to produce unguided rocket systems named as Nezeat which can be considered as artillery rockets, this type of rockets have 100-200 kg of warheads and their range is between 100-160 km. At Zelzal rocket program which was started for a similar reason with Nezeat, INS guidance system was used and margin of error was so much decreased. Zelzal – 2 rocket’s another version which was produced with the cooperation of Syria is named as Fattah – 110. This 600 mm caliber rockets have a range of more than 200 km. It thought that Iran is transferring those rockets to Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. If launched, those relatively small ranged Fattah – 110 rockets can hit many critical civil and military targets in Israel. Existence of these rockets leaded Israel to develop air defence systems (Like Iron Dome and David’s Sling air defence systems owned by Rafale) for destroying small ranged rockets. While the battle in Southern Syria in 2006, Hezbollah launched 4000 rockets (most of them were Handmade Kassam Rockets) and this attack caused death of more than 40 Israel citizen and temporary migration of 250000 people.

Both Şahap-1 and Şahap – 2 rockets are derivations of Russian Scud (R-17) rockets which were using liquid fuel. Şahap – 1 was developed in the end of the 80s with the help of North Korea and it is a derivation of SCUD-B Rockets which are ranged 300 km. It was thought that Şahap – 2 had become operational in the middle of 90s. Şahap - 2 rockets are derivations of Russian SCUD-C rockets and it was developed by the cooperation with North Korea. They have 550 km range and they have a warhead weight of 700 kg.

Medium ranged ballistic rockets have a range of 1000-3000 km. Iran Revolution Guards are using Şahap-3 rockets actively and testing more developed rockets in these days. Şahap-3 rockets are also in this rocket class. Şahap – 3 rockets were designed in the basis of No Dong-1 rockets with the cooperation of North Korea. Rockets became operational in the beginning of 2000s. The rocket which was known as Şahap has a range of around 1300 km. More developed Şahap – 3A’s range is around 1500-1800 km. The triangular warhead which is atmosphere cycled, rises the suspicions about Iran’s development of unconventional warheads. Circular error probability of Şahap – 3 rockets is between 500 and 1100 m according to Iranian Officials. They have a capacity of carrying warheads which are weighted 500-800 kg. It is known that, Şahap – 3 rockets gained the capacity of carrying atmosphere cycled warheads which can carry nuclear weapons. All series of the Şahap – 3 rockets have one leveled engines which work with liquid fuel. Iran officials are complaining about the difficulty of launching the rockets which use liquid fuel, because those rockets needed to get filled with fuel before launching. This issue directs Iran to develop rockets which use solid propellant with the information and technology gained from North Korea and China.

Future of Missile Program

It can be clearly seen that Iran continues working on high level ballistic missile technologies like GPS/INS guidance system, warheads which have capacity to carry nuclear weapons and so on. Iran may take the developments to the further points which they can produce ballistic missiles have more than 3000 km of range, called as IRBM. Iran’s action of putting satellites with its own capabilities is a signal for Iran’s inclination towards the dual use, both for civil and military uses. Iran’s space program may shade the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program in the near future. Officials from Iran state that Şahap – 5 and Şahap – 6 can be tested in 2015.

Mossad has Started Secret Operations
Possibility of an intervention on Iran is increased after Iran’s nuclear centrals has started to produce energy and at the same time Iran continues on missile development programs. Iran officials announced that according to the studies of Iran intelligence, MOSSAD has already started secret operations. According to those Iranian officials, secret operations of MOSSAD will be applied in three stages by the sign of Benjamin Netanyahu:

1) Planning assassinations for interrupting the Nuclear Program
2) Sabotaging nuclear facilities.
3) Hitting nuclear facilities with limited interventions.

According to Tehran death of nuclear physician Prof. Dr Mesud Ali Mohammed in a bombing attack is a part of these MOSSAD operations. Also murder of Mahmud al Mabhuh (one of the leaders of HAMAS) which was happened in his hotel room in Dubai was a part of these operations too. Iranian officials underline that Mabhuh’s role on Tehran-HAMAS relations, he was an important leader on this issue.

Tehran thinks that CIA and MOSSAD have a corporation on planning and organizing the attacks which are aimed through scientists who are working on Iran Nuclear Program. Iranian nuclear physics expert Shahram Amiri’s disappear while his umre visit to Saudi Arabia was a kidnapping operation of CIA, announced by senior official Manucher Muttaki. Besides this, Iran admits the Amiri’s role in the nuclear program. Iran Defense Ministry senior official Ali Rızari Asqhari’s disappearance in Turkey at February 2007 was thought as a part of those operations. If uranium enrichment and missile developments continue this fast, Iran may face with harsh sanctions of UN. Sanctions cannot convince Iran for stopping these programs at this point. After the US withdrawn from Iraq, Iran will become a military target. It is already known that Israel is closer to the intervention option. Hitting Iran’s nuclear infrastructure with a US aided Israel intervention option will be an issue which will be discussed often after 2011. It should not be forgotten that Russia and China’s opposition towards an intervention on Iran will be stronger than their opposition towards the Iraq War.

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