Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Translation - Interview with Gen. Hajizadeh and Technical Descriptions of Features from the IRGC-ASF's Recent Exhibition

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp's Aerospace Force (IRGC-ASF) displayed a number of their latest achievements this past Sunday. The importance of this exhibition - which was timed, no doubt, to coincide with the latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 - was underscored by the presence of the Supreme Leader, and a veritable laundry list of senior military commanders.

In the English-language media, the star of the show was a copy of the RQ-170 downed over eastern Iran in late-2011, but a number of displays flew beneath the radar that were just as interesting, if not more so.

These include (but are not limited to):

- Raad / 3rd-Khordad / Tabas / Bashir / Taer Air-Defense Family
- Zelzal / Fateh / Khalij Fars / Hormuz / Fajr Ballistic Missiles
- Ya Ali Cruise Missile

Open-source reporting in Persian-language media helped augment traditional image-analysis techniques, providing insights into these system's capabilities. The following translations are relevant excerpts from these reports. Emphasis added.

Title: 2nd and 3rd RQ-170 Aircraft Currently Under Construction / Hormuz-1 Anti-Radar Missile and the Hormuz-2 Anti-Ship Missile
Date: 05/12/14 (02/22/93)
Source: Fars News (Video via Youtube)

Hajizadeh, referencing post-revolution self-sufficiency, said: We [have overcome] sanctions and have arrived at a point where the enemy cannot limit our military. ...

He said: In the past, we looked to, and relied on foreigners and their equipment, but we encountered obstacles – for example, we would only receive 40% of what we asked for, and then they would say 'you don't have to buy from us', [but] we still did, and in the end they still did not give us the radar, [instead] they delivered only some shoddy products and returned our money.

In another part of the interview, Hajizadeh referred to the Iranian RQ-170, saying: Obtaining the RQ-170 UAV is an intelligence achievement for us and [we have made a copy of it]. At the time [of the capture] we already had highly-capable UAVs, [so] we [only] gained a little from it.

He stated: The work [on the Iranian RQ-170] took place between Azar 1390 [December 2011] and today, and only the test flight remains, which may take place in one or two months (?) However, the 15% scale-model of this UAV has successfully flown before, and the prototype will fly during the coming months.

Hajizadeh also referenced the display of the one-to-one, and 40% scale models of the RQ-170, saying: The second and third RQ-170 aircraft are currently under construction.

The IRGC-ASF commander emphasized: … the enemy has said in recent years that their missile defense can hit [our] missiles, but today they come to us and say 'let's negotiate about [your] ballistic missiles'. If they could [defend against our missiles], they wouldn't negotiate.

He noted: In military-dimensions, we have crossed the sanctions barrier and they cannot limit us anymore [and in other areas sanctions are useless (?)].

Referring to the radar in yesterday's display, Hajizadeh noted: ...foreigners didn't give it to us, and we had only one image and one visit [to observe it], but with the assistance of our experts we were able to manufacture and operate them.

The IRGC-ASF commander said: We have arrived at the mass-production of precision-strike ground-to-ground missiles, and yesterday we presented the changes [that we have made in them] to the SL.

And in reference to the Hormuz 1 and 2 missiles, he said: The Hormuz 1 and 2 are two types of ballistic missiles, of which the Hormuz 1 is an anti-radar missile and can destroy the radar onboard an aircraft carrier, or a Patriot site on land, or a search[/surveillance]-radar site.

Hajizadeh added: The Hormuz 1 can strike a 20 foot container from a range of 300 km with complete accuracy.

The commander emphasized: The Hormuz 2 is an anti-ship ballistic missile that reaches speeds of Mach 4-5.

Hajizadeh also referred to the '3rd of Khordad' missile system: This system is a phased array radar, meaning that one radar actually has a total of 1,700 radars. This sytem has electronic scanning capabilities and is very advanced, and is competitive with the Russian S-300 and BUK-M2E.

He added: The '3rd of Khordad' system [can] destroy four targets simultaneously with eight missiles, three of which are installed on the [TELAR]-system and two more TELs can be added.

The commander said: The '3rd of Khordad' system will have a range of more than a 100 km with the missiles that will be installed on it in the future.

Hajizadeh, stating that today they have reached the edge of air-defense technology possessed by other countries, said: We have built systems that are not in the same class and level as foreign systems because [our] systems are innovative and not [vulnerable] to jamming.


Title: 3rd-Khordad' System Comparable to S-300 / Range Increase to 200 km
Date: 05/12/14 (02/22/93)
Source: DEFA Press 
The '3rd-Khordad' air-defense system [can] track and fire at four targets, with eight missiles, simultaneously

This system has the ability to target fighters, bombers, and cruise missiles up to an altitude to 25 km.

The '3rd-Khordad' missile-system (a product of the Sepah's Air Defense [and] Radar Research Center) is comparable with the Russian S-300, except that the current Iranian system has a 50 km range and [version(s)] with a 100 and 200 km range are in development. 


Title: 'Zelzal Rain' with 30, 17-kg, bombs / A missile equivalent to 36 rockets
Date: 05/12/14 (02/22/93)
Source: DEFA Press

30, 17-kg, bombs are used in the 'Zelzal Rain', which are dispersed close to the ground to hit airport runways and equipment 
Title: 'Ya Ali'  Missile; the Newest Iranian Cruise Missile with a Range of 700 km
Date: 05/12/14 (02/22/93)
Source: DEFA Press

Yesterday, the SL visited an exhibition of the IRGC-ASF's achievments.
During this visit, a new cruise missile named 'Ya Ali' was unveiled, which was displayed in a red color.
According to information obtained, the Ya Ali cruise missile has a range of 700 km. Before this, Iran's cruise missiles had, at most, a range of 300 km.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

NEZAJA Garrison Transfers Continue in Country's North-East

In May 2014, Iran's Army Ground Forces announced two new developments in their long-stuttering relocation of units out of urban areas. On May 5th, the new garrison for the 130th Infantry Brigade was opened near the city of Bojnourd, and on May 6th, the 2nd phase of the new garrison for the 77th Division Operations HQ, and the 377th Brigade was opened near the city of Mashhad. [1] [2]

A detailed history and assessment of this nation-wide program through September 2013 can be found in a post by the author at OSIMINT.

In Bojnourd, although the new site's location cannot yet be identified, the demolition of several buildings in the old garrison by late-2013 suggests that the process is well underway. Demolitions include at least six barracks and a number of equipment & vehicle garages. The equipment associated with the latter has also been displaced.

The new site is reported to include a 96-unit residential housing complex.

In Mashhad, the 2nd phase of construction on the 'Samen Alaeme' garrison was opened and includes facilities for an additional combat battalion(s). However, the rest of the garrison remains largely unfinished, and is unlikely to be for some time.

As noted in the OSIMINT report linked above, one of the most significant aspects of this transfer plan - from the perspective of a geospatial analyst - is the adoption of a coherent, planned layout, with its characteristic battalion clusters.

The first phase (09/2010 - 07/2011) saw the completion of facilities for the 110th battalion.  From 2011 onward, the second phase has focused on the construction of an additional four clusters. However, only one of these four - belonging to the 134th Infantry Battalion - has been completed at the present time. [3] The other three are at varying levels of completion.

However, the most significant development is the reported resolution of the funding shortfalls that had previously delayed construction. [4] According to comments by the commander of the Divisional Operations HQ, the Army has agreed to sell land elsewhere in the country to make up for the deficit left after the sale of the former garrison's land inside Mashhad failed to pay for the construction of the new facilities.

Photo reporting from the ceremony - which included appearances by regional and national commanders -  include a few nuggets of information that, while not groundbreaking, are noteworthy nonetheless.

First, interior shots show facilities that are more spacious and comfortable than the Army's older garrisons. Although unquantifiable, these small details will make the life of a conscript more bearable, increasing morale. It may also increase the attractiveness of the regular armed forces, which is important given anecdotal evidence to suggest that the IRGC and Basij have drawn recruits who perceive these to be 'cushier' than service in the regular Army.[5]

Second, a display of weapons set up for the ceremony included two quad-bikes fitted with purpose-built mounts for, respectively, TOW and AT-4/5 ATGMs. The AT-4/5 launcher, however, was fitted with a TOW-canister, not their original Soviet-bloc weapons. [6] The explanation for this may be as simple as 'they used an inert mockup/training-aide', or may be something else entirely.

Appendix - Staff IMINT:

Works Cited:
[1] The 130th Brigade's New Garrison Opened in the Presence of the NEZAJA Commander. 05/05/14. NEZAJA.
[2] The Second Phase of the 77th Division's Samen Alaeme Garrison Came Into Operation. 05/06/14. IRNA
[3] ISNA photoset
[4] ibid IRNA 05/06/14
[5] IRNA Photoset
[6] IRNA Photoset