Tehran, Iran – Iran has unveiled its first-ever hypersonic missile, Fattah, which it says can penetrate missile defence systems and will give it a military edge.
State media on Tuesday published images of an unveiling ceremony, attended by President Ebrahim Raisi and senior commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), with the domestically made black missile visible.
State media said the missile can move at a speed of up to Mach 15 (5,145 metres or 16,880 feet per second), has a range of 1,400km (870 miles) and features a moveable secondary nozzle and employs solid propellants that allow for high manoeuvrability.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has chosen the name, they said, which roughly translates to “the opener”.
Hypersonic missiles move at five times the speed of sound or greater and are manoeuvrable, making them difficult for defence systems and radars to target.
The United States, Russia, China and North Korea are believed to be the only countries to have successfully tested hypersonic missiles, but exact details of the weaponry remain scant.
IRGC aerospace chief Amir Ali Hajizadeh announced news of the development of the hypersonic missile last November at an event marking the anniversary of the death of Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, known as the father of Iranian missile technology.
Moghaddam died after an explosion at a missile base in 2011, which also killed more than a dozen other IRGC members. The explosion was reported as an accident, but some Western media reported that Israel was behind it.
In November, Hajizadeh said the new missile represents a “generational leap” for Iranian missile technology as it can manoeuvre within and outside the earth’s atmosphere and penetrate any missile defence system.
“The Fattah cannot be destroyed by any other missile due to how it moves in different directions and at different altitudes,” he was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
The West and Israel have repeatedly expressed concern over Iran’s missile programme, saying the country’s ballistic missiles could potentially be used to carry nuclear warheads – something Tehran denies pursuing.
The IRGC last month successfully tested a new ballistic missile with a range of 2,000km (1,240 miles) that earned more criticism from the West, with France claiming it violated the United Nations resolution that underpins the comatose 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.