Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Swords and Shields: Iran's missile allies

It is expected that the Shahab 4 and Shahab 5 would have, in addition to inertial navigation systems, advanced navigation technology, possibly sold by Russia, which could be competing with China in the lucrative Iranian ballistic missile market.
by Ariel Cohen
Washington (UPI) Oct 3, 2008
Attempts to thwart Iran's missile ambitions are hampered by the fact that Tehran is being backed by Russia and China. These powers are actually partners in the Iranian ballistic missile and space programs, which they view as both geopolitically desirable -- to dilute U.S. influence -- and lucrative.

It is likely that Iran's Explorer-1 rocket is the result of the country's advanced ballistic missile program.

The greater the range and payload capacity, the more capable is a missile to serve as a civilian SLV (satellite launch vehicle). Thus, the launching of the Iranian rocket could mark a threshold in Tehran's development of longer-range ballistic missiles.

And it is highly unlikely that, without plans to deploy nuclear warheads on its ballistic missiles, the Islamic Republic of Iran would be developing civilian space launch capability when commercial space launch services are readily and cheaply available from French Guyana to Russia to India and China.

It is expected that the Shahab 4 and Shahab 5 would have, in addition to inertial navigation systems, advanced navigation technology, possibly sold by Russia, which could be competing with China in the lucrative Iranian ballistic missile market.

The navigation systems of these missiles would have the Russian Glonass satellite navigation capability, Moscow's answer to the U.S.-developed Global Positioning System, or GPS. The GLONASS system is expected to have global reach with 24 satellites in orbit by the end of 2009, and to provide by 2011 a level of accuracy to civilians of 1 meter. The GLONASS system will be compatible with the U.S. GPS and Europe's future Magellan systems.

Russia's Topol-M ICBM has a guidance system featuring inertial navigation compatible with GLONASS. Eventually, the Iranian ballistic missiles would be capable of being armed with nuclear, chemical, high explosive -- HE -- and conventional warheads, and possibly special warheads as in some Russian ballistic missiles like electro-magnetic pulse -- EMP -- and anti-radiation against radars.

Russian, Chinese and North Korean cooperation would be desirable and necessary to stop Iran's missile program, albeit today it is politically inconceivable, due to U.S.-Russian tensions over Georgia and North Korean efforts to restart its nuclear program.

Although China is not a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement, which limits the spread of advanced weapons technology (the successor of CoCom -- the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls) and the Missile Technology Control Regime, Russia is. Pressure should be exerted on Moscow to abide by these control regimes.

China should be invited once again to become a member of these regimes, and should be persuaded to act as a responsible power and thus work as part of the international community to help stop the exports of its own and North Korean missile technology, and to exert pressure on Iran to halt its growing missile program.

Beyond that, only deployment of missile defense systems in the Middle East and Europe, and Iran's fear of nuclear retaliation, may prevent Tehran from deploying nuclear-tipped intermediate-range ballistic missiles -- IRBMs -- and intercontinental ballistic missiles -- ICBMs -- in the future. The Cold War experiences of the 20th century -- or worse -- may revisit the Middle East, Europe and the United States in the years to come.

(Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., is a senior research fellow in Russian and Eurasian studies and international energy security at the Heritage Foundation. His most recent book is "Kazakhstan: The Road to Independence.")

Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Learn about missile defense at
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at
All about missiles at
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Russia Eyes New Customers For Iskander E Missile
Washington (UPI) Oct 3, 2008
A surprising number of countries, including some with warm ties to the United States, are interested in buying Russia's short-range but formidable Iskander-E ballistic missile.

  • Analysis: NATO's troubled renaissance
  • Military Matters: One war, two fronts
  • France welcomes EU military progress but coy about NATO future
  • Gates warns of the limits of US military power

  • India tilts to the US with nuclear deal
  • Getting Strategic Balance In The Mideast With A Big Stick
  • Iran to enrich uranium even if fuel supply guaranteed: FM
  • US envoy in China for talks on NKorea nuclear deal

  • Russia, India To Develop New BrahMos Cruise Missile
  • LockMart's JASSM Successful In Latest Flight Test
  • Raytheon AIM-9X Block II Missile Completes First Captive Carry Flight
  • LockMart Wins Contract For Joint Air-To-Ground Missile Program

  • Swords and Shields: Iran's missile allies
  • Russia Eyes New Customers For Iskander E Missile
  • US missile defenses in Europe in US interest: Obama advisor
  • Venezuela To Spend One Billion Dollar Russian Loan On Air Defense

  • Researchers Scientists Perform High Altitude Experiments
  • Airbus expecting 'large' China order by early 2009: CEO
  • Airbus globalises production with China plant
  • Safer Skies For The Flying Public

  • AAI And Aeronautics Defense Systems Team To Provide Orbiter UAV
  • Joint Unmanned Aircraft System Mission Crosses Atlantic
  • Iraq takes delivery of US spy planes
  • Suspected US drone crashes in Pakistan: official

  • US close to security deal with Iraq: Negroponte
  • Dogs of War: The last contractor
  • Pentagon announces troop rotations to reduce Iraq forces
  • Iraqi president warns against delay in US deal

  • Army Orders EQ-36 Counterfire Target Acquisition Radars
  • US Army Facing Cost Crunch Part Three
  • New Green Warriors To Clean Up The Enemy
  • India, Russia To Develop Two Versions Of 5th-Generation Fighter

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement