Iran has unveiled the Fattah-2, a new Iranian-made ballistic missile that it claims can travel at hypersonic speeds.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday visited the Revolutionary Guard Aerospace Force center, where the Fattah-2 hypersonic ballistic missile was unveiled to the public.
Hypersonic weapons, which fly at speeds exceeding Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, could pose crucial challenges to missile defense systems due to their speed and maneuverability.
Ballistic missiles fly on a trajectory where anti-missile systems such as the US Patriot system can anticipate their trajectory and intercept them. The more irregular the missile’s flight path, the more difficult it is to intercept it.
In June, Iran unveiled the first Fattah missile system. At the time he claimed he could reach Mach 15, which is 15 times the speed of sound.
China is believed to be seeking the weapons, as is the United States. Russia claims it is already deploying the weapons and has said it used them on the battlefield in Ukraine. However, speed and maneuverability do not guarantee that the missile will successfully reach a target. Ukraine’s air force said in May it shot down a Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missile with a Patriot battery.
The Patriot missile system is widely used in the region by Gulf Arab countries allied with the United States. Israel, Iran’s main rival in the Middle East, also has its own strong air defenses.