Iran could have enough launchers to send a salvo of medium range ballistic missiles that would overwhelm Israeli ballistic missile defense systems, according to a Wednesday report from IHS Jane’s.
A May, 26 broadcast on Iranian television showcased a collection of transporter erector launchers (TELs) capable of launching the Iranian Shahab-3 guided ballistic missiles.
“Iranian television footage showed at least 26 TELs lined up in two rows for the event, which marked their purported delivery to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force, which operates the country’s ballistic missiles,” according to the report.
The Shahab-3 is based on a North Korean design and is capable striking Israel from Iranian territory.
“The delivery of such a large number of missile launchers demonstrates the Islamic Republic of Iran’s self-sufficiency in designing and building the strategic system and shows the Iranian Armed Forces’ massive firepower and their ability to give a crushing response to the enemy,” Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said in a report carried by Iranian state news.
The more missiles Iran can launch at once, “the greater its chances of overwhelming defensive systems, such as Israel’s Arrow, which only have a limited number of interceptors ready to launch at incoming targets,” according to the Jane’s report
Arrow is a joint U.S.-Israel BMD system which saw its first deployment in 2000.
Despite the Iranian rhetoric, some U.S. analysts doubt Iran’s ability to overwhelm Israel’s defensive systems.
“The Iranians are very good at telling themselves they have terrific and devastating technology which a cynic or skeptic like me may doubt,” naval analyst Norman Friedman told USNI News.
“It is a lot easier to multiply [launchers] than missiles.”
The training and coordination to fire enough salvos to overwhelm a modern BMD system is substantial, former U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Tom Marfiak — the anti-air warfare commander during Desert Shield and Desert Storm — told USNI News.
“Launching a single missile from a mobile TEL is a complex task for a trained crew. Much has to go right,” Marfiak said.
“Launching a number of missiles, nearly simultaneously, from multiple TEL’s, is a good deal more complicated than just lining them up for a parade.”