Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Iran Test Fires Fateh 110 Surface-To-Surface Missile

Iran has test fired its home-built surface-to-surface Fateh 110 missile, state television reported on Aug. 25, less than a week after a similar test was carried out on another missile.

The television showed a sand-colored missile being launched from a vehicle and blasting into the sky from a desert terrain, leaving behind a thick plume of smoke. It did not say when the missile was fired.

Iran's English-language Press TV said the short-range Fateh 110 (Conqueror) missile is nine meters (29 feet) long and weighs 3,500 kilograms (7,700 pounds).

The channel's website quoted Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi as saying that the third generation Fateh 110 was a "single stage solid propellant" missile.

He did not specify the exact range of the missile but Iran has previously paraded a version of Fateh 110 which it said could travel between 150 and 200 kilometers (90 to 125 miles).

"This version works on solid fuel, so compared to previous generations it has an increased range and accuracy. Its preparation as well as launching systems are speedier," Vahidi said.

"This missile, which is in the short-range class, has added new features to the country's missile system."

The launch of Fateh 110 follows an announcement by Vahidi on Aug. 20 that Iran had successfully test fired its Qiam (Rising) short range missile, which was propelled by liquid fuel.

Vahidi further clarified on Wednesday that the test-firing of Fateh 110 was not related to the Pentagon's announcement on Aug. 11 that it planned to sell Patriot missiles to Kuwait, which is looking to bolster its defenses.

"Kuwait is no threat to us; we have friendly relations with this country," Vahidi said.

The test firing of Fateh 110 comes two days after Iran began mass-producing two high-speed variants of missile-launching assault boats, the Seraj and Zolfaqar.

On Aug. 22, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled Iran's home-built bomber drone, which he described as an "ambassador of death" to Iran's enemies.

The series of military announcements come as Iran marks its annual "government week," during which it flaunts its latest achievements in various fields.

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