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Iran unveils homegrown defense shield-busting hypersonic missile
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Iran unveils homegrown defense shield-busting hypersonic missile
by Paul Godfrey
Washington DC (UPI) Jun 6, 2023

Iran unveiled Tuesday what it claimed was its first hypersonic ballistic missile in what military officials said was a "huge leap" in the country's missile systems industry.

The missile, which was unveiled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Tehran at a ceremony attended by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, is designed to penetrate all missile defense shield systems and destroy anti-missile systems, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

Dubbed "Fattah" and with an 870-mile range, the warhead has a spherical engine running on solid fuel with a movable nozzle that allows the missile to maneuver in all directions while propelling it at up to 9,600 mph

Last week, IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh said the homegrown hypersonic ballistic missile could maneuver below and above the Earth's atmosphere at Mach 13 -- 13 times the speed of sound -- and had completed all testing, according to the official Iranian news agency IRNA.

The news comes amid a developing missile arms race among the super-military powers vying for superiority in advanced hypersonic capability with the United States, China and Russia all either having hypersonic missiles in their arsenals or in late-stage testing.

The speed and low trajectory of hypersonic missiles -- compared with traditional inter-continental ballistic missiles -- mean they may be effective in evading early warning systems and therefore able to penetrate missile defense shields and other air defense systems.

Weeks after the United States alleged Russia had used a hypersonic missile against Ukraine, the U.S. Air Force said last month it had successfully conducted a test of a hypersonic weapon when a B-52H Stratofortress aircraft released an AGM-1831 Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon that achieved speeds of Mach 5.

The test came a month after the United States, Australia and Britain announced that they will work together to accelerate the development of advanced hypersonic capabilities.

The pact followed mounting concerns that the United States was being outpaced by Russia and China, in particular, as the two countries have conducted several confirmed successful tests.

U.S. defense officials have warned that hypersonic weapons cannot be detected and tracked by existing terrestrial and space-based sensor systems, with former Research and Engineering Defense Under Secretary Michael Griffin telling Congress in February that "hypersonic targets are 10 to 20 times dimmer than what the United States normally tracks by satellites in geostationary orbit."

Griffin said the United States did not "have systems which can hold [China and Russia] at risk in a corresponding manner, and we don't have defenses against [their] systems."

US sanctions Chinese firms aiding Iran missile program
Washington (AFP) June 6, 2023 - The United States placed sanctions Tuesday on several Chinese and Hong Kong firms it said were supplying Iran's ballistic missile program.

The US Treasury said the Chinese companies shipped centrifuges for producing fuels, non-ferrous metals with potential military use, electronics and gyroscopes to already-sanctioned Iranian government bodies and private companies closely involved in building the missiles.

Washington is concerned that Iran plans to develop nuclear weapons that could be loaded on ballistic missiles to menace Israel and other countries.

The companies include Beijing Shiny Nights Technology Development, Qingdao Zhongrongtong Trade Development, Hong Kong Ke.Do International Trade Co, Lingoe Process Engineering Limited and Zhejiang Qingji Ind. Co.

The US Treasury also placed sanctions on Iran's defense attache in Beijing, Davoud Damghani, saying he coordinated purchasing of Chinese supplies for Iran's defense industry.

The sanctions ban US firms and individuals and companies like global banks with US branches from doing business with those placed on the blacklist.

"Today's action reinforces our commitment to respond to activities which undermine regional stability and threaten the security of our key partners and allies," said Treasury Under Secretary Brian Nelson.

"The United States will continue to target illicit transnational procurement networks that covertly support Iran's ballistic missile production and other military programs," he said in a statement.

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