Did Iran Bluff? Report Claims it Held Back Advanced Missiles in Israeli Strike

Iran claims a successful strike on Israel using mostly old weapons, forcing Israel to deploy its best defenses, while both sides threaten further action.

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Girish Linganna
Girish Linganna
Girish Linganna is a Defence & Aerospace analyst and is the Director of ADD Engineering Components (India) Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of ADD Engineering GmbH, Germany with manufacturing units in Russia. He is Consulting Editor Industry and Defense at Frontier India.

During the retaliatory strike against Israel, the Iranian side only used outdated missile weaponry. In this manner, Tehran compelled Israel and its Western allies to employ maximum resources with minimal effort on Tehran’s part, says Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iran’s elite military unit. “We attacked Israel using outdated weapons and minimal means. We did not use missiles like ‘Khoremshahr,’ ‘Sajil,’ ‘Shahed Hajj Kasem,’ ‘Kaibar shikan,’ or ‘Hypersonic-2.’ We forced Israel and the Western camp to use the maximum of their arsenal with just minimal efforts on our part,” Hajizadehwas quoted by the Tasnim agency.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the elite unit of the Iranian Armed Forces, launched a strike on Israeli territory on the night of April 14 in response to the Israeli airstrikes on the Iranian consulate in Syria earlier in the month. According to various reports, the attack involved several hundred missiles and drones, including Shahed 131 and 136 kamikaze drones, hypersonic missiles “Fattah” and “Fattah-2.” Iranian state television channel Press TV reported that all hypersonic missiles reached their targets. Contrary to the above claim, according to the Iranian IRNA news agency, the Israeli air base in the Negev desert was targeted by Iranian armed forces using Kheibar ballistic missiles. The state news agency also stated that the cruise missiles used in the attack were Paveh missiles capable of attacking targets from multiple directions by taking varied paths.

Shahed 131 and 136 kamikaze drones

The attack used the domestically built Shahed 131 (Geran 1 in Russia) and 136 (Geran 2 in Russia) drones. These have a range of about 1,200 miles.

Shahed 131 is a predecessor of Shahed 136 drones. It carries about 10-15 kg High Energy Warhead.

 Shahed 136 drones have a range of about 1500 miles and can loiter for up to 12 hours. They can also fly autonomously to a target.

Paveh-351 Cruise missiles

Paveh 351 is a long-range jet cruise missile heavier and faster than Iran’s Shahed 238, unveiled only last year. Paveh has a range of roughly 1,650 kilometers and travels at a speed of about 800 kilometers per hour. 

Emad missile

The Emad missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers and travels at speeds of up to Mach 7.2. It is Iran’s first precision-guided, long-range, surface-to-surface ballistic missile, and it can carry a payload of 750 kg. It uses a maneuverable reentry vehicle, or MaRV, and the ability to strike within 500 meters of the targeted target. It is based on North Korea’s Nodong missile.

Kheibar Shekan missile

The Kheibar Shekan (Kheibarshekan) missiles, unveiled in 2022, are one of Iran’s most modern ballistic missiles. It has older variants. The latest solid fuel version is known to have a range of 1,450 km. Several of these missiles were used to attack the Israeli Air Force base. An Israeli Arrow anti-ballistic missile in the Dead Sea shot down this missile.

Fattah and Fattah-2 Missile

Fattah is a hypersonic missile with a range of 1400 km and speeds of Mach 13-15. The Fattah-2 hypersonic missile has a range of 1,500 km, similar to the Fattah’s 1,400 km range, and is fueled by a solid-fuel rocket motor. It has a Reentry vehicle (RV). According to Tasnim News Agency, the RV’s engine runs on hydrazine fuel, which is commonly used in hypergolic propellant mixtures that combust spontaneously when blended. According to Tasnim news agency, this new type can fly at a significantly lower altitude and change course numerous times during the trip. The IRGC does not intend to extend its missiles’ range beyond 2,000 km. 

According to the Israeli army, Iran launched a total of over 300 munitions and UAVs, including approximately 170 drones, more than 30 cruise missiles, and over 120 ballistic missiles. However, Israel claims that only “a few missiles” reached the country’s territory and caused “minor damage.”

Iran’s Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Mohammad Bagheri, announced that Tehran had concluded the “True Promise” operation and did not plan to continue it, but if Israel takes any measures, the next Iranian operation will be larger in scale than the previous one. Israeli Minister Benny Gantz stated that the country intends to create a regional coalition against the Iranian threat and respond to the attack at the appropriate time and in an appropriate manner. It is expected that the Israeli government will determine its future actions.

Overall, it appears that Iran has primarily used its older missiles or stocks to target Israel. 


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