Iran unveils Mehran Surface-to-Air Missile System Able to Target Israeli F-35s

Iran recently unveiled a range of cutting-edge defense technologies at an aerospace exhibition attended by Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei. Among these, the "Fattah-2" hypersonic missile and the somewhat mysterious "Mehran" mobile defense system stood out, marking a pivotal moment in Iran's defense capabilities. This event was highlighted by the Fars News Agency, an Iranian media outlet, on November 19, 2023.
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Iran unveils Mehran surface-to-air missile system. (Picture source: Iran Media)

The event, hosted at the Ashura Aerospace University of Science and Technology in Tehran, showcased the latest developments of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force. The exhibition featured the "Mehran" defense system, the "9th of Dey" upgraded system, the "Fattah-2" hypersonic missile, and the "Shahed-147" drone.

While details about the "Mehran" are scarce, it is known to be a long-range surface-to-air missile system with the capacity to carry four missiles. Its reported range of 320 km suggests a significant enhancement over the existing Bavar-373 system, which is already a sophisticated platform capable of engaging modern Western aircraft. The Bavar-373 is touted to be more advanced than the Russian S-300 system.

Despite the limited information available on the "Mehran," it is believed to be capable of providing a robust defense against a variety of aerial threats, potentially offering enhanced detection and engagement capabilities. This system could pose substantial challenges to Israeli F-35i aircraft in the region.

In addition to the "Mehran," Iran's plans for modernizing its air defense forces include the introduction of new air surveillance radars, surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, and comprehensive command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems.

Previously, the Iranian air defense arsenal included the SA-20C, an export version of Russia's S-300PMU2, acquired in 2016. This system, designed to counter aircraft, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles, is expected to be complemented by the "Mehran." Iran also maintains a diverse array of other SAMs, including U.S., Russian, and Chinese legacy systems like the long-range SA-5, medium-range I-HAWK, CSA-1 SA-2 Guideline, and short-range SA-15 and Rapier.