Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Iran says has tested 2nd missile

CNN News:
Iran said Tuesday it has tested a second new radar-avoiding missile, the latest weapon to be unveiled during war games in the Gulf that the military says are aimed at preparing the country's defenses against the United States.

The new surface-to-sea missile is equipped with remote-control and searching systems, state-run television reported. It said the new missile, called Kowsar after the name of a river in paradise, was a medium-range weapon that Iran had the capability to mass-produce.

It also asserted that the Kowsar's guidance system could not be scrambled, and that it had been designed to sink ships. The chief of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, watched the latest missile test, the state-run TV said. READ MORE

On Friday, the country tested the Fajr-3, a missile that it said can avoid radars and hit several targets simultaneously using multiple warheads. Since the war games began Friday, the country also has tested what it calls two new torpedoes.

The second torpedo, unveiled Monday, was tested in the Straits of Hormuz, the narrow entrance to the Gulf that is a vital corridor for oil supplies. That seemed designed to be a clear warning to the United States that Iran believes it has the capability to disable oil tankers moving through the Gulf, if it should so choose.

The Revolutionary Guards, the elite branch of Iran's military, have been holding their maneuvers -- code-named the "Great Prophet" -- since Friday, touting what they call domestically built technological advances in their armed forces.

But some experts say it appears some of the technology has come from other countries, most likely Russia or North Korea.

Others have questioned just how radar-evading the missiles are. Iran's radars are not as advanced as those of Israel, for example -- meaning that perhaps the new weapons can avoid the radar that Iran has access to, but not more advanced types.

The United States said Monday -- after the second torpedo test -- that while Iran may have made "some strides" in its military, it is likely to be exaggerating its capabilities.

"We know that the Iranians are always trying to improve their weapons system by both foreign and indigenous measures," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said in Washington. "It's possible that they are increasing their capability and making strides in radar-absorbing materials and technology."

But "the Iranians have also been known to boast and exaggerate their statements about greater technical and tactical capabilities," he said.

It has not been possible to independently verify Iran's claims for the new armaments. But the country has made clear it aims to send a message of strength to the United States amid heightened tensions over Iran's nuclear program.

On Tuesday, state-run television also said the elite Revolutionary Guards had tested what it called a "super modern flying boat" capable of detecting radar. TV showed a brief clip of the boat's launch.

"Due to its advanced design, no radar at sea or in the air can detect it. It can lift out of the water," the television said. It said the boat was "all Iranian-made and can launch missiles with precise targeting while moving."