Iranian army IRGC operates new Fath 360 MLRS like US Army with HIMARS
Iran tested this September month its indigenously-produced Fath 360 satellite-guided ballistic missile during military exercises, an apparent bid to match America’s M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) that has been deployed with lethal success in Ukraine, Gabriel Honrada writes in Asia Times.
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Fath 360 rocket launcher is likely Iran's answer to the U.S. M142 HIMARS (Picture source: Mashregh News/Facebook)
Fars News reported last week that Iran tested its Fath 360 short-range surface-to-surface missile and performed combined arms operations with the system during the Eghtedar 1401 military drills at Nasrabad, Isfahan. Iran Press News Agency reports that the Fath 360 was delivered to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in 2021.
Fath 360 missile can hit strategic targets at the speed of 3,704 km/h, and its velocity can be increased to some 5,000 km/h while communicating with satellites for quick navigation and fast strikes against enemy targets. So, the missiles can be fired at Mach 3, after which they connect to satellites for rapid homing and strike their targets at Mach 4, state-owned Tasnim News reported. Iran’s Fath 360 may most likely use Russia’s GLONASS satellite navigation system for targeting data. Russia reportedly gave Iran GLONASS access during the latter’s January 2020 strikes against the US-held Al Asad Airbase in retaliation for the US killing of IRGC General Qassem Soleimani, as reported by Defense World.
The Iran Press News Agency said the Fath 360 is downsized member of the Fateh ballistic missile family, allowing it to fit more missiles on a truck, carrier or launcher. The Fath 360 is 4-meter long with a diameter of 30 cm, weighs from 850 to 1,100 kg with a 150kg warhead, and has an 80–100km range. Its lightweight dimensions allow multiple missiles to be mounted on a truck-based launcher, with six, four, or two-round launch canisters available. Those specifications make the Fath 360 roughly comparable to HIMARS on paper, Asia Times writes. Global Security notes that the M31 GMLRS rocket that the US has supplied for Ukraine’s HIMARS units sends a 90kg unitary warhead at up to 70 km at Mach 2.5, and can be fired from the six-round HIMARS or the heavier 12-round M270 MLRS which the UK has sent as military assistance to Ukraine.
The Fath 360 may also mark a trend towards smaller wheeled multiple launcher rocket systems (MLRS), Asia Times comments. Large and heavy systems such as the US M270 MLRS and Russian B-300 Smerch pack formidable firepower holding a dozen rockets each. The Fath 360’s light-wheeled configuration potentially makes it more adapted to the Middle East’s mountainous, desert and urban areas compared to the heavier Fateh and Fajr launchers.
The surface-to-surface Fath 360 and Labeik missiles as well as the Dezful and Majid air defense systems were unveiled last April (Picture source: Tehran Times)