In a recent announcement, Iranian Navy Commander Irani revealed plans to equip the Damavand-2 destroyer with the domestically-produced “Conqueror” hypersonic missile, making Iran the third nation, after China and Russia, to possess such a formidable “ship-shooting superb” capability.

This development has sparked a wave of enthusiasm in Iran but has also raised concerns, especially in Israel, where the relationship with Iran has been tense. The “Conqueror” missile’s poster even boasts the slogan “Hit Tel Aviv in 400 seconds,” further escalating tensions in the region.

The Conqueror Missile: A Technological Analysis

According to information released by Iran, the Conqueror missile boasts a range of 1,400 kilometers, placing it within the category of medium-range ballistic missiles. It is powered by solid fuel, enhancing its survivability and flexibility compared to liquid-fueled counterparts. Additionally, the missile exhibits an impressive strike accuracy of 30 meters in circular difference, signifying its potent targeting capabilities.

The most remarkable aspect of the Conqueror missile is its warhead. Equipped with a small engine and four split flaps, the warhead possesses the capability to maneuver both inside and outside the atmosphere. It can achieve an astounding terminal penetration speed of Mach 15. These specifications position the “Conqueror” as an advanced superb missile, rivaling some of the top missile systems globally.

Evaluating the Conqueror: Real Advancement or Smoke and Mirrors?

Despite its impressive specifications, some experts remain skeptical about the “Conqueror” missile’s true capabilities. Technically, the missile’s warhead design follows a maneuvering reentry vehicle configuration akin to the “Pershing 2” and “Iskander” systems. While this design allows for some controllable maneuverability, it falls short of the advanced “super gliding vehicle” configuration demonstrated by missiles like the Dongfeng-17.

Another limitation of the Conqueror missile is its warhead’s size and weight. A significant portion of the warhead is occupied by the spherical rocket motor, which reduces the available space and weight for additional equipment. This factor might hinder its warhead’s equivalent power compared to missiles like the Iskander, which boasts a 480 kg payload, far more substantial than that of the Conqueror.

Unraveling the Origins of the “Conqueror” Missile

Examining Iran’s missile development history is essential to understand the Conqueror missile’s roots. The Shahab-3 missile, developed in the early 2000s, bears striking similarities to the “Conqueror” in terms of appearance and range. Some experts suggest that the “Conqueror” is, in fact, a “spiritual sequel” to the Shahab-3, possibly incorporating a more advanced solid-fuel engine and employing high-throwing trajectories for increased altitude and penetration speed.

Strategic Implications of the “Conqueror” Missile

While the “Conqueror” missile’s actual combat significance may be limited when land-launched or ship-launched, its reputation as a “superb” missile has generated significant pressure on Israel and other Middle Eastern nations; Iran’s possession of this advanced weapon serves as a statement of the nation’s capabilities and intentions.

However, despite the attention drawn by the “Conqueror,” the core of Iran’s strategic deterrence against Israel remains its long-range missiles with warheads exceeding 2 tons, such as the “Korramshahr.” These powerful missiles, concealed beneath the desert, pose the most substantial threat to regions like Tel Aviv.

Conclusion

The “Conqueror” missile’s introduction into Iran’s military arsenal has undoubtedly garnered global attention. While it exhibits impressive specifications and capabilities, critically analyzing its technological advancements and true potential remains essential. Whether a genuine breakthrough or a cleverly constructed image, the “Conqueror” has succeeded in furthering Iran’s strategic objectives and exerting pressure on regional rivals.

FAQs

1. Is the “Conqueror” missile a legitimate threat to Israel? While the “Conqueror” missile’s specifications are formidable, some experts believe it may not match the capabilities of more advanced missiles other nations possess. However, its presence adds to the complexity of the region’s security dynamics.

2. How does the “Conqueror” missile compare to other hypersonic missiles worldwide? The “Conqueror” missile ranks among the advanced hypersonic missiles globally, but it might fall short of some cutting-edge systems developed by other nations, like the Dongfeng-17.

3. Does Iran’s missile development pose a regional security concern? Iran’s continuous development of missile capabilities has been a matter of concern for regional security. The introduction of the “Conqueror” adds to the complexities and tensions in the Middle East.

4. How has Israel responded to Iran’s “Conqueror” missile announcement? Israel remains vigilant about any potential threats from Iran and has monitored the development closely. Defense authorities assert that the “Conqueror” missile does not directly threaten Israel.

5. What other factors contribute to Iran’s strategic deterrence against its adversaries? Apart from the “Conqueror” missile, Iran relies on its long-range missiles, such as the “Korramshahr,” to assert its strategic deterrence against regional rivals. These missiles possess greater destructive capabilities.