Iran claims to have built its first hypersonic missile

Fattah missile unveiled by Iran.

Fattah missile unveiled by Iran. Hossein Zohrevand/Tasnim News Agency via AP

Iran claimed on Tuesday that it had created its first hypersonic ballistic missile, a weapon that has the potential to beat Western air defenses.

The missile was unveiled at a ceremony in Tehran attended by Iranian President Ebrahim Rahisi. Called Fattah, or “Conqueror” in Farsi, the missile “can fly at very high speeds and perform various maneuvers in and out of the Earth’s atmosphere”, according to Iranian news agency IRNA.

Raisi said at the event that “a deterrent power has been formed”, adding that the missile “is an anchor of lasting security and peace for the countries of the region”.

According to IRNA, Fattah is said to have a range of 870 miles and could reach speeds of Mach 13 to Mach 15, or more than 11,000 mph. The hypersonic missiles fly at least at Mach 5, and “their speed and claimed maneuverability are thought to make them difficult to intercept”, reported The Guardian. The United States, Russia, China and North Korea have all successfully tested hypersonic missiles.

General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of Iran’s paramilitary aerospace program, said “there is no system that can compete with or counter this missile.” However, that claim is subject to the maneuverability of the missile, the Associated Press reported. The event showed what appeared to be a moving nozzle on the Fattah, which could allow it to change course in flight and make it harder to intercept air defenses.

The unveiling of the Iranian missile comes as tensions between the United States and other Western countries remain high. While Iran has pledged to continue with its weapons program despite Western opposition, Reuters noted that the country “sometimes overstates its missile capabilities.”

There are also fears that Fattah could potentially be used to attack Israel. Last November, Iran claimed it was developing a hypersonic missile that could reach Israel in 400 seconds.

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