Tehran: Iran has equipped its naval forces
with a short range "cruise missile," able to hit targets in
coastal areas and warships within "200 kilometres," the
country`s defence minister said on Wednesday.
"Today we are witnessing the equipping of the Guards navy
and army navy with ample numbers of the Qader cruise missile,"
General Ahmad Vahidi said, quoted by his ministry`s website
referring to the elite Revolutionary Guards who are tasked
with defending Iranian waters in the Gulf.
"It has 200 km range and has ability to be launched
quickly against warships and coastal targets. It flies in low
altitude, has high destructive power, (and is) lightweight
with high precision," he added.
He added that it could be fired from the coast or from
vessels of different classes, increasing considerable the
operational ability of the forces.
The Qader missile was unveiled last month by President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with Iranian officials dubbing it a
"cruise missile" built entirely by local experts. The
president said Iran`s military arsenal was defensive, aimed at
ensuring the country`s "enemies do not dare attack."
Iran in the past two years has increased development,
testing and unveiling of new "indigenous" military equipment,
The Iranian navy recently boosted its presence in
international waters, sending vessels into the Indian Ocean to
protect Iranian ships from Somali pirates.
It also sent two ships into the Mediterranean for the
first time in February, via the Suez Canal, to the annoyance
of Israel and the United States.
Iran`s navy commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayari, said
yesterday that Iran was planning to deploy ships close to US
territorial waters, without saying when.
Iranian naval forces are mainly composed of small units
equipped with missiles in the Gulf and operating under the
control of the Revolutionary Guards.