This Article is From Nov 22, 2010

Iran launches Air Defence Missile

Tehran: Iran state television broadcast pictures of a successful air missile launch by Iranian forces on Saturday, Press TV reported.

The missile launch was part of a five day missile defence military exercise that started on Tuesday and is the country's biggest air drill, Iranian military officials said earlier this week.

Pictures broadcast on Saturday showed a test launch of a defence missile system made inside Iran called the S-200, that is thought to share the same name as a Russian missile S-200, but has the capabilities of a stronger Russian system known as the S-300, according to Press TV.

On Thursday, Iran unveiled another missile defence system, known as Mersad or Ambush in Farsi, and Shahin, or Hawk, and said it was an upgraded version of the Russian S-200.

It was developed by Iranian scientists and is capable of identifying and hitting targets at low and medium altitudes, according to General Hamid Arjangi, a spokesman for the five-day exercise.

The Shahin missile is likely Tehran's response to Moscow's refusal to deliver the advanced Russian S-300 air defence system amid United Nations and international sanctions on the country.

The Russian S-300 missiles are capable of shooting down aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missile warheads at ranges of over 90 miles (145 kilometres) and at altitudes of about 90-thousand feet.

Iran's military exercise, which started on Tuesday, is meant to showcase Iran's capabilities in defending its nuclear facilities from possible attack.

Iran conducts several war games every year, as part of its military self-sufficiency programme that started in 1992, and frequently unveils new weapons and military systems during the drills.

Its claims often cannot be independently verified.