Iran has unveiled its first Fattah hypersonic missile (JAFB1C005400), which should be Mach 13-15. This is more than the declared speed of the Russian "Dagger", which is capable of reaching Mach 10-12. The statement of the command of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said that "Fattah" has high accuracy, maneuverability and stealth for radar systems. It is alleged that it cannot be intercepted with the help of air defense and missile defense systems. Prior to this, only the United States, Russia and China had hypersonic missiles. The Insider asked Israeli military expert David Sharpe to comment on the reality of Iran's claims:
What is "Fattah"
The Iranians showed a rocket, or at least what looks like a rocket. Moreover, they demonstrated fragments of tests. This is not a flightless model, but an already tested rocket. But the question of its operational readiness remains open, because sometimes it takes years from the first tests to putting on missiles on duty.
As for the range, it depends on which missile we are talking about. I have long been interested in the subject of Iranian missiles, and for Israel it is more than relevant. The Iranian missile program should be taken seriously. In some places, their statements are made for intimidation and for PR, but somewhere they sometimes downplay the characteristics of their products.
Here we are talking about the Fattah missile. Both the name and the form indicate that this is a continuation of the development of a very famous and dangerous family of missiles for potential adversaries, starting from the Fateh-110 and on to the Khybersheken, which, according to previously announced figures, had a range of 1450 km.
The new rocket in question is its next brother. It flies for 1400 km, but the Iranians have enough missiles and a longer range. According to confirmed data, there are Iranian missiles capable of flying 2000 km. In addition, there are suspicions that their characteristics are underestimated, and in reality the flight range is 2500 km, or even more.
However, this rocket deserves very serious interest. It has a detachable warhead, which is a fairly common practice for Iran, but in general for developing countries this is not trivial. In addition, she has a thrust vector control engine, that is, she is able to maneuver out of the atmosphere. In addition, it has aerodynamic rudders, a kind of “wings”, which, when the warhead enters the atmosphere, must somehow correct its flight, increasing accuracy and adding an element of maneuverability. This should complicate the life of the enemy's missile defense systems.
If we talk about hypersonic speed at the launch stage, then there are no problems with this at all. Even the German V-2 had a speed of almost Mach 5 at the final stage. But the possibility of reaching Mach 13-15 is extremely doubtful. This classic warhead, albeit a separable, controllable and adjustable one, and not a glide block that the US and Russia are trying to develop.
My preliminary assessment is that 13-15 swings is a clear overkill. But it is not yet clear how close "Fattah" is to mass production and to the possibility of using it in hostilities.
Purely theoretically, if she had such speed and at the same time good accuracy, then it would be very impressive. Say, with a range of 1000 km, an accuracy of 50 meters means that half of the ammunition will decompose into a circle with a radius of 50 meters, and 40-43% - into a circle with a radius of more than 50, but less than 100 meters.
How much the existence of such a missile will complicate the defense of Israel
The whole situation with Iran is not only a demonstration of missiles, but also a threat against Israel, which is in a permanent armed conflict with Iran. There are military operations of a covert and overt nature, including in Syria. Various kinds of sabotage attributed to Israel are being committed in Iran, in particular at its nuclear infrastructure facilities. On the other hand, Iranian forces are constantly taking one step or another against Israel.
Of course, the nuclear threat is the backdrop to all of this. If the world fails to stop Iran with sanctions, then Israel may be puzzled by the question of striking Iran's nuclear infrastructure to stop its program. It is relevant, it is being discussed. Both Israeli officials and the military, while from different political parties, are more or less unanimous in this understanding.
Rockets are the most important Iranian deterrent. Iran demonstrates them one after another, including those reaching the territory of Israel.
Israel is countering this threat, including in the area of missile defense. The Arrow-3 system has been developed, which is designed to intercept missiles with a range of more than 1000 km far from Israeli territory, including beyond the atmosphere.
There are other aspects of missile defense, cooperation with the United States. The work has been going on for decades, both in monitoring Iran's missile program and in anticipation of what the Iranians might create. Naturally, they do not stand still, they create drones, cruise missiles, complicate the work of anti-missile defense. This is a constant confrontation, tension.