TEHRAN (AP) — Iran said Saturday that it had successfully test-fired an upgraded version of a short-range ballistic missile with improved accuracy, increasing its capacity to strike land and naval targets.
Iran’s defense minister, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, said the missile, the solid-fueled Fateh-110, had a range of 185 miles. He also said the weapon could strike with pinpoint precision, making it the most accurate weapon of its kind in Iran’s arsenal.
“By reaching this generation of the Fateh-110, a new capability has been added to our armed forces in striking sea and land targets,” state television quoted General Vahidi as saying. “Few countries in the world possess the technology to build such missiles.”
Iran’s military leaders have said they believe that future wars will be air- and sea-based, and Tehran has sought to upgrade its air defense systems and naval power in anticipation of such a possibility.
Iran has been pushing to upgrade its missiles, which are already capable of striking Israel and American bases in the Middle East. In June, the Pentagon noted significant advances in Iranian missile technology, an acknowledgment that Iran had improved the accuracy and firing capacities of its missiles.
The Fateh-110, or Conqueror, is a single-stage solid-propellant, surface-to-surface missile put into service in 2002. The earlier version of the domestically produced missile had a range of 120 miles.
The weapon was developed by Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization.
Iran also has a variety of longer-range missiles, including a Shahab-3 variant that, with a range of 1,200 miles, can reach Israel and southern Europe.
Many of Iran’s missiles could, in theory, carry a nuclear warhead. The United States and many of its allies say that Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at developing nuclear technology. Iran says that the program is for peaceful purposes.
Israel is about 600 miles from Iran’s western borders, while the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, about 120 miles from Iranian shores in the Persian Gulf.