The Iranian military’s annual “Zulfiqar” military exercise is often used to showcase new military technology. The excerpted article from Entekhab.ir, a website that leans more toward the reformist camp in the Islamic Republic’s political spectrum, announces successful tests of cruise missiles launched both from southern Iran’s Makran Coast (along the Gulf of Oman) and from a ship. The three missiles launched were the 22-mile-range Nasr anti-ship missile that appears to be an upgraded version of the Kosar missile, which itself is based on China’s C-704; the 186-mile-range anti-ship Qadir cruise missile that can be fired from both ships and land; and the 125-mile-range Qader anti-ship missile, which is based on the Chinese C-802. In addition, Entekhab.ir and other Iranian outlets reported on the successful test of the Arash, a long-range Iranian army suicide drone, which can launch from ships and land-based vehicles as small as ordinary cars.

This growing Iranian anti-ship missile arsenal and its increasing range can upend the operational environment much like Iran’s small boat swarming tactics sought to do by harassing ships in the relatively narrow and shallow waters of the Persian Gulf. In the case of Iranian small boats, U.S. Navy ships continued to engage in freedom of navigation operations throughout the Persian Gulf, but they could operate more securely outside the Gulf where they remained out of range. While the aircraft and missiles of U.S., French, and other blue water navies still outmatch Iran’s, the latest exercises and firing of various anti-ship missiles suggest that Iran is rapidly closing that gap. Such missiles deployed along Iran’s Persian Gulf coast could hamper shipping beyond the mines that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Navy deployed in the past.

The Qadir cruise missile which destroyed a surface target 300km away….

Source: “Shalik-e Mushakha-ye Kruz Qader, Qadir, va Nasr dar Razmyesh-e Mushtarek-e Zulfiqar 1400 (Qader, Qadir, and Nasr Cruise Missiles fired at Zulfiqar 1400 Joint Exercises),” Entekhab (website that leans more toward the reformist camp in the Islamic Republic’s political spectrum), 8 November 2021. https://www.entekhab.ir/fa/news/646489

Following the main stages of the Zulfiqar 1400 Army Joint Exercise, the operation to destroy the enemy’s surface and floating units was carried out using Iranian Qader and Nasr cruise missiles.

Admiral Sayyid Mahmoud Mousavi, spokesman for the Zulfiqar 1400 Joint Army Exercise, said, “In this stage of the exercises, the Iranian cruise missile, Qadir, was fired from the regular Navy’s tactical platform of coast-to-sea missiles along the Makran coast and hit a vessel 200 [124 miles] kilometers away.”

He added: “Also, the destruction of the surface target using the indigenous cruise missile Nasr by the regular Navy’s missile launcher was another exercise carried out in this phase of the exercise.”

Also, at this stage of the exercise, a missile-launcher warship fired the Iranian long-range Qadir cruise missile which destroyed a surface target 300km [186 miles] away.

A spokesman for the Zulfiqar 1400 Joint Exercise said that today Islamic Republic of Iran Navy has a wide and diverse range of cruise missiles. He added, “Unique capabilities, including effective warheads with high explosive power and the ability to withstand the enemy’s electronic warfare are among the characteristics of the Navy’s cruise missiles, which proved their efficiency in this exercise.”

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