Iranian Multi-Warhead Missile Seen as ‘Extremely Unlikely’

Global Security Newswire Staff
Global Security Newswire Staff
Feb. 14, 2014, 7:42 a.m.

A newly de­scribed Ir­a­ni­an weapon is likely de­signed to hold cluster mu­ni­tions, not mul­tiple war­heads, as ini­tially re­por­ted, says IHS Jane’s De­fense Weekly.

Ir­an would face sub­stan­tial dif­fi­culties in equip­ping the “Barani” bal­list­ic mis­sile to pro­tect dozens of reentry vehicles dur­ing their re­turn in­to the at­mo­sphere, the de­fense pub­lic­a­tion said in a Thursday ana­lys­is. The Per­sian Gulf power earli­er this week said the mis­sile per­formed as in­ten­ded in a re­cent tri­al flight, and state tele­vi­sion paired the an­nounce­ment with a mock-up im­age of two bal­list­ic mis­siles each fir­ing roughly 30 reentry vehicles out­side the earth’s at­mo­sphere.

Ir­a­ni­an me­dia de­scribed the Barani as a “new gen­er­a­tion of long-range bal­list­ic mis­siles car­ry­ing mul­tiple reentry vehicle pay­loads.”

Jane’s, though, said it is “ex­tremely un­likely” that the mis­sile can ac­com­mod­ate mul­tiple war­heads, a ca­pa­city com­monly tied to nuc­le­ar arms. Rather, Ir­an prob­ably built the Barani pay­load to drop nu­mer­ous smal­ler bomb­lets after re­turn­ing in­to the at­mo­sphere, the ana­lys­is says.

U.S. in­tel­li­gence ana­lysts ref­er­enced Ir­a­ni­an work on cluster mu­ni­tions in a 2012 as­sess­ment for law­makers, the de­fense pub­lic­a­tion noted.

“Ir­an has boos­ted the leth­al­ity and ef­fect­ive­ness of ex­ist­ing sys­tems with ac­cur­acy im­prove­ments and new sub­muni­tion pay­loads,” the 2012 U.S. find­ings state.

Still, the Middle East­ern na­tion may be de­vel­op­ing a ca­pa­city to re­lease bomb­lets high­er than Pat­ri­ot an­ti­mis­sile sys­tems — fielded in neigh­bor­ing Ar­ab coun­tries — could in­ter­cept them, ac­cord­ing to the ana­lys­is. Earli­er this week, Ir­a­ni­an De­fense Min­is­ter Hos­sein De­hqan was re­por­ted to as­sert that the Barani mis­sile is cap­able of “evad­ing [the] en­emy’s an­ti­mis­sile de­fense sys­tems.”

Jane’s noted, though, that pos­sible cluster-mu­ni­tion pay­loads could be in­ter­cep­ted by Ae­gis-equipped U.S. an­ti­mis­sile war­ships, as well as the Ter­min­al High-Alti­tude Area De­fense sys­tem.

What We're Following See More »
Jon Stewart May Debut on HBO Before the Election
29 minutes ago

"Jon Stewart could arrive on HBO in time for the November presidential election. In a Paley Media Council interview Thursday with CNN’s Brian Stelter, HBO CEO Richard Plepler was asked whether viewers could expect to see Stewart, former host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” on HBO before the general election. 'Yeah, I’m hopeful,' Plepler said."

Metro to Begin Rolling Closures Next Month
3 hours ago

Beginning next month, Metro will begin a series of "about 15 separate large-scale work projects," each of which will close down stations and/or sections of track for up to weeks at a time. The entire initiative is expected to take about a year. The Washington Post has a list of the schedule of closures, and which lines and stations they'll affect.

Trump to Meet with Ryan, Leadership Next Week
4 hours ago

A day after saying he could not yet support Donald Trump's presidential bid, House Speaker Paul Ryan has invited the billionaire to a meeting in Washington next week with House leadership. Ryan and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will also meet separately with Trump. 

Obama on Trump: ‘This Is a Really Serious Job’
4 hours ago

"President Obama used the White House podium on Friday to dismiss Donald Trump as an unserious candidate to succeed him, and said leading the country isn't a job that's suited to reality show antics." At a briefing with reporters, the president said, "I just want to emphasize the degree to which we are in serious times and this is a really serious job. This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show. This is a contest for the presidency of the United States. And what that means is that every candidate, every nominee needs to be subject to exacting standards and genuine scrutiny."

Panama Papers Spur White House to Crack Down on Evasion
6 hours ago

In the The White House on Thursday night unveiled a series of executive actions to combat money laundering—"among the most comprehensive response yet to the Panama Papers revelations." The president's orders will tighten transparency rules, close loopholes that allow "foreigners to hide financial activity behind anonymous entities in the U.S., and demand stricter “customer due diligence” rules for banks.