A single-stage solid-propellant, surface-to-surface Fateh (Victor) missile is launched during Great Prophet 7 missile drill in Semnan desert, central Iran, on July 3, 2012.
The Pentagon has admitted that the “lethality and effectiveness” of Iran's missile systems has improved and Tehran would present a “formidable force” while defending its territory.
According to a June 29 report by the Pentagon, “Iran has boosted the lethality and effectiveness of existing systems by improving accuracy and developing new submunition payloads” that “extend the destructive power over a wider area than a solid warhead,” Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
The report, signed by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, was presented to the four US congressional defense committees last week to comply with a 2010 directive to provide an annual classified and unclassified assessment of Iran’s military power.
It noted that improvements in Iran's missile capability are occurring in parallel with regular ballistic-missile training that “continues throughout the country” and the addition of “new ships and submarines.”
Iran is “developing and claims to have deployed short-range ballistic missiles with seekers that enable the missile to identify and maneuver toward ships during flight,” the report added.
“This technology also may be capable of striking land- based targets.”
Congressional Research Service Iran analyst Kenneth Katzman said previous reports by the US government “always downplayed the accuracy and effectiveness of Iran’s missile forces.”
“The report [however], seemed pretty sober and respectful of Iran’s capabilities, crediting Iran with improving survivability,” Bloomberg quoted Katzman as saying.
Early in July, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) test fired domestically-produced missiles during a three-day military drill codenamed The Great Prophet 7
The tested missiles included Shahab (Meteor) 1, 2, 3, Khalij Fars (Persian Gulf), Tondar (Lightning), Fateh (Victor) and Zelzal (Quake) as well as Qiam (Uprising).
Iran has repeatedly stated that its military might poses no threat to other countries, reiterating that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence.