Iran Unveils New Air Defense Weaponry as Regional Tensions Ramp Up

Iran’s Defense Ministry/WANA/Handout via REUTERS
The long-range air defence system called Arman is displayed during an unveiling ceremony in Tehran, Iran, in this picture obtained on February 17, 2024.

Iran unveiled new weaponry on Saturday including what it said was the locally made Arman anti-ballistic missile system and the Azarakhsh low-altitude air defense system, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The announcement came amid heightened tensions in the region, with Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militants carrying out a string of attacks on vessels linked to the U.S., UK and Israel in the Red Sea in a show of solidarity with the Gaza Strip.

Gaza has been under military assault by Israel since Hamas’s attacks on Israel’s south on Oct. 7.

In response to the Houthi attacks, the U.S. has targeted sites inside Yemen as well as facilities of Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria. In turn, U.S. military bases have been attacked in Syria and Iraq. Israel has also struck Iranian targets in Syria.

Saturday’s unveiling ceremony of the two vehicle-mounted systems took place in the presence of Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani.

“With the entry of new systems into the country’s defense network, the air defense capability of the Islamic Republic of Iran will increase significantly,” IRNA said.

It said the Arman missile system “can simultaneously confront six targets at a distance of 120 to 180 km”, while the Azarakhsh missile system “can identify and destroy targets… up to a range of 50 km with four ready-to-fire missiles”.

In June Iran presented what officials described as its first domestically made hypersonic ballistic missile, named Fattah, with a range of 1,400 km.