US intelligence agencies, as well as other intelligence bodies worldwide, continue to assess that Iran is developing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of targeting the US itself. New intelligence data determines Iran has accelerated its long range missiles program.
These suspicions have surfaced even before Iran unveiled its “Space Center” a few years ago. During the unveiling, Iran’s leaders stood near the models of four satellites, some of them spy satellites, which Iran claims to have developed all by itself and was about to launch into space in 2015 or the following year.
Unveiling these satellites was the second event in what Iran refers to as its “space activity”. Even if Iran is hardly a leading space power, its long range missiles program is a source for major concern.
When the space center at Semnan was unveiled, Israeli sources said the real effort focuses on developing ballistic missiles with “extremely long range”.
The Iranians also unveiled, as part of the space center, new launch sites, capable, according to experts, of supporting huge 40-meter long missiles.
The Sapphire launcher and its sub-launchers are seemingly designed launch satellites, but the same technology, say Israeli experts, is dual use – it can also be used for military purposes.
Israel is following the acceleration of Iran’s surface-to-surface missiles program. Experts here surmise it is clear the Iran has made some achievements in the field of missile guidance systems, albeit with some assistance of North Korean scientists.
Israeli experts further say the Iranians are ahead of schedule in their long range missiles program, which is parallel to their nuclear program. “When the Iranians will have a nuclear bomb, they will have already developed long range delivery systems,” former IDF Intelligence Corp Chief Ze’evi said recently.
Experts have pointed out the fact that Iran is conducting a real race to match Israel’s capabilities to intercept ballistic missiles armed with unconventional warheads.
The Iranian effort focuses on being one step ahead of Israel’s capabilities of intercepting their ballistic missiles.
Israeli is currently developing the Arrow-3 anti-missile system capable of intercepting Iranian ballistic missiles far from Israel. This guarantees that even if those missiles would be armed with unconventional warheads, the damage to Israel would still be limited in scope.
Part 2 will focus on the models of the missiles themselves and their warheads.