The Iranian military announced the introduction of a new and improved medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) on Thursday, described as one of the most advanced missiles Iran has ever produced.
The missile is the latest version of the Khoramshahr series of MRBMs, dubbed the Khoramshahr-4 or Kheibar missile.
Kheibar (“Fortress” in Farsi) is one of the most advanced missiles designed by the experts of the Ministry of Defense’s Aerospace Industries Organization. It is a liquid-fueled missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers and a warhead weighing 1,500 kilograms with impressive strategic and tactical capabilities.
Like other Khorramshahr-class missiles, the Kheibar also has the ability to adjust its trajectory in mid-flight, during which the reentry vehicle is in space – a rare capability on ballistic-style missiles.
Upon re-entering the atmosphere, the missile can deactivate its guidance system, rendering it impervious to electronic warfare attacks that might try to disrupt its trajectory during the terminal phase.
It should not be confused with the similarly-named Kheibar Shekan (“Fortress Breaker”) missile, another MRBM that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unveiled last year.
The missile also has an incredibly short launch time of just 12 minutes, and reaches a speed of Mach 16 outside the atmosphere and Mach 8 inside the atmosphere.
Despite its speed, the Kheibar is not considered a hypersonic weapon, since it uses that speed to climb vertically and its warhead follows a ballistic trajectory.
Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Ashtiani oversaw the unveiling, which was part of a ceremony marking the 41st anniversary of the liberation of Khorramshahr in 1982.
“We are taking steps to equip the armed forces in various areas of missiles, drones, air defense, and so on, and the unveilings will definitely continue in the future,” he said.
Khoramshahr had been essentially annihilated by the Iraqis two years earlier, during the open stages of the invasion that began the Iran-Iraq War. The city was doggedly defended by Iranian troops and civilians, which delayed the Iraqi invasion forces enough to allow the Iranian Army to regroup and form defensive lines deeper inside Khuzestan.
The missile is also being unveiled at a time that Iran is facing increasing threats from Israel and its tensions with the United States remain high.