Iranian Multi-Warhead Missile Seen as ‘Extremely Unlikely’

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
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 »
Trump Deposition Video Is Online
18 hours ago

The video of Donald Trump's deposition in his case against restaurateur Jeffrey Zakarian is now live. Slate's Jim Newell and Josh Voorhees are live-blogging it while they watch.

Debate Commission Admits Issues with Trump’s Mic
19 hours ago

The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.

Trump Deposition Video to Be Released
19 hours ago

"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."

Chicago Tribune Endorses Gary Johnson
23 hours ago

No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."

USA Today Weighs in on Presidential Race for First Time Ever
1 days ago

"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."