On the last day of DIMDEX, a defense exhibition in Qatar, a country the U.S. calls a non-NATO ally, the Iranian missiles and Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commanders were a stone’s throw from the U.S. al-Udeid base.
A State Department spokesperson released a statement regarding the presence of Iranian military officials and defense equipment at the Doha Defense Expo.
“We are deeply disappointed and disturbed by the presence of Iranian military officials and members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps at the defense fair in Doha, Qatar,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
“We totally reject their presence at this show and its maritime defense exhibition,” he said, repeating the U.S. allegations against Iran, calling it the greatest threat to maritime stability in the Persian Gulf region.
The presence of the IRGC at the Qatar defense fair has attracted the attention of the media and political circles in the current context of the region, marked by the negotiations in Vienna to revive the 2015 agreement between Iran and the major powers and the concerns of certain states in the region.
During the defense fair in Doha, from March 21 to 23, the IRGC stand was adorned with a giant poster of a commando boat (Speedboat).
At a stand adjacent to the IRGC, US-based General Atomics was displaying its MQ-9B predator drone, designed to conduct anti-surface warfare, including maritime surveillance and precision-guided munitions.
One of the participating missiles was the Noor cruise missile. The Noor anti-ship missile is one of the first Iranian-made cruise missiles, which in standard mode has a range of about 120 km. The missile’s length is 6.38 m, of which 1.24 m is the main engine. It is 36 cm in diameter. The missile’s total weight is 715 kg, and the warhead is a high-explosive, semi-armoured penetrating warhead weighing 165 kg. It has a speed equal to 0.9 times the speed of sound, that is, something like 300 meters per second.
It includes a small DM-3B millimetre-wave active radar with a range of 130 km. The missile can fly at an altitude of five to seven meters above sea level near the target, and it is equipped with a guidance system with powerful anti-EW equipment. The effectiveness of the missile is such that there is very little chance of intercepting and destroying it.
In addition to the guidance radar, the Noor missile is equipped with an ultrasonic radio detector and an autopilot. Its precision radio finder keeps the rocket at the lowest altitude above sea level.
System tactical status display, missile status, data transfer and simultaneous fire control of 4 missile launch platforms are some of the other features of the Iranian Noor missile. The Noor missile can be launched from aircraft, surface ships, submarines and transport vehicles.
Tondar-class, Sina-class ships, Bayandor-class corvettes, Alvand-class and Jamaran-class destroyers, BH7 hovercraft, Mi-17 helicopters and Phantom F-4 combat aircraft are part of the equipment of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which can carry the missile. Mi-17 helicopters are capable of carrying and launching two of these missiles.
Iranian Participation in DIMDEX 2022
Tucked in the left corner of the exhibition area, Iran displayed a wide variety of models of missiles, UAVs, ships, aircraft etc., in Qatar’s latest DIMDEX edition. Not featured in the exhibition floor plan, Iran quickly built its Pavillion on the show’s last day. The Iranian Ministry of Defense hosted the Iran Booth and the IRGC commanders were part of a larger Iranian delegation to the show.
Bavar 373 air defense missile system with Hunter 4 TEL and Nasr-1 anti-ship missile with 35 km range were a part of the show.
The Bavar 373 Air Defense system equipment includes a mobile launcher mounted on a military vehicle, a phased array radar, a tracking radar device, and an air combat control cabin. The missile can intercept and destroy air targets from a distance of 260 km to an altitude of 27 km above the ground. The upgraded version of the Bavar 373 AD-200 air defense missile system is considered similar to the Russian S-300 system.
Qatar has good relations with Iran, with which it shares a giant gas field. In contrast, Qatar’s neighbour Saudi Arabia is embroiled in a series of proxy disputes with Tehran over its struggle for territorial dominance.
In October 2020, UN arms sanctions against Iran ended.
The sanctions were imposed in 2015 following a Comprehensive Joint Action Agreement (CJAP) against Iran. With the lifting of sanctions, Iran is legally able to buy military-level weapons or even sell its indigenous weapons on world markets.