Iran has claimed to have developed a hypersonic ballistic missile that can fly at least five times faster than the speed of sound, which could be a huge concern as it works on relations with Russia amid the Ukraine war. The semi-official Tasnim news agency reports that Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace commander, General Amirali Hajizadeh, said that the terrifying weapon could penetrate defence systems, warning that it may be decades before a technology capable of intercepting it is developed.
He was quoted as saying: “This hypersonic ballistic missile was developed to counter air defense shields. It will be able to breach all the systems of anti-missile defense. This missile, which targets enemy anti-missile systems, represents a great generational leap in the field of missiles.”
On Saturday (November 5), Iran finally admitted it had been providing Russia with “suicide drones”, the lethal weapons which Russian President Vladimir Putin’s troops have been unleashing in brutal strikes in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, there have been reports that Russia is using the drones as its missile stocks are running low, Western officials claim. They said the Kremlin was “pursuing a deliberate strategy of attempting to destroy Ukraine’s electricity network”, relying on Iranian drones to target these critical systems instead.
One official told Politico: “Our assessment is that the ability for the Russians to continue with these saturating barrages of precision weapons is getting to the point now where this will be unsustainable.”
But Iran is reportedly sending 1,000 additional weapons, including surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles and more attack drones to Russia, officials who closely monitor Iran’s weapons program told CNN.
The shipment is being closely looked at as it would be the first case where Iran sends advanced precision-guided missiles to Russia in a move which could give the Moscow an extra lifeline on the battlefield.
It comes after Russia’s military was ordered to pull out of Kherson, the only regional capital in Ukraine since Putin’s troops first invaded back in mid-February, in a significant blow for the Russian President.
But Israel’s former acting National Security Advisor Jacob Nagel previously told Express.co.uk in an exclusive interview that “we should all be worried” about Russia and Iran cosying up.
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He said: “Russia owes Iran because Iran is sending them suicide drones and maybe in the future ballistic missiles and other weapons. I don’t think Russia would send Iran nuclear technology or systems, but all the weapons, I don’t see why they would not send them.
“They would not do it today because they (Russia) currently do not have enough (weapons to send). At this moment it is Iran that is sending Russia weapons. But after the war is over, this is one of the biggest problems. The tightening of relations between Russia and Iran is very worrying.
“We have to be worried. Everyone should be worried. Israel, the US, Europe, everyone should be worried.”
But while ballistic missiles are already said to be on route to Russian troops in Ukraine, the arrivial a hypersonic weapons would be even more worrying for Ukrainians and the West.
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Hypersonic missiles are manoeuvrable, and they are harder to track and defend against. The US, for instance, has developed systems designed to defend against cruise and ballistic missiles, but its ability to track and take out hypersonic missiles is still an uncertainty.
Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters during a briefing on Tuesday: “We do have concerns that Russia may also seek to acquire additional advanced munition capabilities from Iran, for example surface-to-surface missiles, to use in Ukraine.”