Iran’s military continues to improve the accuracy and killing power of its long- and short-range ballistic missiles, including designing a weapon to target vessels, according to a Pentagon report to Congress. The report was obtained and published by Bloomberg News on Tuesday.
“Iran has boosted the lethality and effectiveness of existing systems by improving accuracy and developing new submunition payloads” that extend the destructive power over a wider area than a solid warhead, the June 29 report signed by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says.
The improvements are in tandem with regular ballistic-missile training that “continues throughout the country” and the addition of “new ships and submarines,” the report found.
The report obtained by Bloomberg was provided to the four congressional defense committees last week to comply with a fiscal 2010 directive to provide an annual classified and unclassified assessment of Iran’s military power. The unclassified version provides the latest snapshot of Iran’s so- called asymmetric capabilities designed to counter the strengths of western militaries.
The report summarizes what has been said publicly about the status of Iran’s nuclear program and its aid to Syria, the Hizbullah terror group, Hamas, and Iraqi Shiite groups. It repeats the long- standing U.S. assessment that Iran with “sufficient foreign assistance may be technically capable of flight-testing” an intercontinental ballistic missile by 2015.
Iran “would present a formidable force while defending Iranian territory,” the Pentagon said in the report. “We assess with high confidence” that over 30 years Iran “has methodically cultivated a network of sponsored terrorist surrogates capable of targeting U.S. and Israeli interests,” it said. “We suspect this activity continues.”
Iran also continues to develop ballistic missiles with range to reach regional adversaries, Israel and Eastern Europe, including an extended-range Shahab-3 and a 2,000 kilometer (1,240 mile) medium-range ballistic missile, said the report.
Iran claimed last week it tested “tens” of short, medium and large-range missiles at a hypothetical enemy base,” presumably Israeli and American.
A report on Tuesday said the Islamic Republic is copy-catting the deadly Russian Kornet anti-tank missile that Hizbullah used against Israeli soldiers in the Second Lebanon War and which Hamas used to kill a student on a school bus last year.
Quoting defense sources in London and Moscow, the Gulf News website quoted a Russian defense advisor as saying that Iran may have obtained the design for the Kornet missile from Hizbullah.