TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran has developed a hypersonic missile capable of penetrating all defence systems, General Amirali Hajizadeh, the commander of its Revolutionary Guards aerospace unit, claimed yesterday.
Hypersonic missiles, like traditional ballistic missiles which can deliver nuclear weapons, can fly more than five times the speed of sound.
“This hypersonic ballistic missile was developed to counter air defence shields,” Hajizadeh said, quoted by Iran’s Fars news agency.
“It will be able to breach all the systems of anti-missile defence,” said the general, adding that he believed it would take decades before a system capable of intercepting it is developed.
“This missile, which targets enemy anti-missile systems, represents a great generational leap in the field of missiles.”
The announcement comes after Iran admitted on Saturday that it had sent drones to Russia, but said it had done so before the Ukraine war.
The Washington Post reported on October 16 that Iran was preparing to ship missiles to Russia, but Tehran rejected the report as “completely false”.
It also comes at a time of protests that have rocked Iran since the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest for allegedly flouting the republic’s dress code for women.
Unlike ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles fly on a trajectory low in the atmosphere, potentially reaching targets more quickly.
North Korea’s test of a hypersonic missile last year sparked concerns about the race to acquire the technology, which is currently led by Russia, followed by China and the United States (US).
Both Iran and Russia are targetted by stringent sanctions – Iran after the US unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal, and Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February.