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Cordesman_NSWG_photoIran’s Rocket and Missile Forces and Strategic Options

Dr. Anthony Cordesman

Center for Strategic and International Studies

October 7, 2014

 

Iran’s Rockets and Shorter Range Missile Systems
Iran’s family of artillery rockets and shorter-range missiles give Iran a wide mix of capabilities.
Iran’s shorter-range systems include a family of artillery rockets that supplement its tube artillery
forces, and provide a major increase in area fire capability in terms of both range and volume of
fire. They could also compensate in part for Iran’s limited close air support capability, particularly
in a defensive mode.
There are varying reports on Iran’s holding of artillery rockets, but key types and their ranges
include the Fajr 1-Type 63-BM-12 (8 kilometers), H-20 (unknown distance), Falaq 1 (10
kilometers), Oghab/Type 83 (34 -45 kilometers), Fajr 3 (43 kilometers), and Fajar 5 (75-80
kilometers). Iran’s shorter-range artillery rockets may have limited military value — given the lack
of any near-term prospect of an outside invasion — but Iran ‘s longer-range artillery rockets can be
used in harassment fire and as weapons of intimidation against targets across the Iranian border in
Iraq and Kuwait. The longest range systems could be used against targets in the other Southern
Gulf states.
Iran’s shorter-range missile systems include a wide variety of systems, and again reports vary
sharply as to types, numbers, and performance. Iran sometimes announces missile programs,
names, and ranges that are questionable, but its short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) seem to
Naze’at (100–130 km), Zelzal family (Zelzal-1 (150 km), Zelzal-2 (210 km),
Zelzal-3 (200–250 km), Fateh-110 (200–300 km), Shahab-1, Scud B (350 km) Shahab-2, Scud C,
Hwasong-6 (750 km), and Qiam 1 (700–800 km).
To put these ranges in perspective, any system with a range of 200 kilometers can strike from a
position on Iran’s Gulf coast at a target on the Southern Gulf coast that is immediately across from
it. Iran can also, however, disperse many of its shorter-range missiles away from positions directly
opposite a target in the Southern Gulf and still fire from sites deliberately chosen to disperse its
missiles. Iran’s longer-range systems can be widely dispersed and still used against targets on the
Southern Gulf Coast.