Tehran’s Missile Ties
Mar 12, 2010
By Douglas Barrie
Iran is continuing to build its tactical missile capability on the basis of Chinese technology with the claimed entry into series production of the Nasr 1 anti-ship missile. The Nasr family may also include air-launched derivatives.
Iranian media reported earlier this month that the missile was entering production, suggesting that test firings of the Nasr 1 had been carried out at the end of 2008. According to the local press reports, the Nasr 1 is initially intended for installation on small ships—including fast-attack craft—and for coastal defense. Iranian military officials are quoted as saying the Nasr is also intended for helicopter-launch.
The Nasr 1 anti-ship missile appears to be identical to the Chinese C-704, anti-ship weapon first shown at the 2006 Zhuhai air show. Mock-ups of several variants of the C-704 were displayed at the same venue in 2008. China National Precision Machinery Import & Export Corp. (Cpmiec) posted basic performance parameters for the weapon along with imagery of a “production batch” of the missile.
Tehran has long-standing links to Beijing with regard to tactical missile systems. It first acquired Chinese anti-ship weapons in the late 1980s. China, however, remains publicly reticent to discuss in any detail the nature of its tactical guided-missile work with Iran. And, Chinese defense industry executives have been unwilling to discuss whether their anti-ship missile developments were intended for Iran.
Another Cpmiec-promoted anti-ship missile—the C-701—is already in service with the Iranian military. Versions of this small anti-ship missile are part of the Iranian Kosar series of weapons.
Yet to be determined is whether the C-704 was developed initially to meet a Chinese requirement—or if the program was from the outset intended for Iran. There is no indication—as yet, at least—that the C-704 has entered service with the Chinese military.
The extent to which Iran is actually producing the Nasr 1 is also a point of conjecture. Previous projects, such as the Kosar family covering the C-701 and the Hongdu JJ/TL-10 (JJ/TL-1) seem to have been at first kit-built from major sub-assemblies. The major sub-systems would have been manufactured in China and then shipped to Iran for final assembly.
Based on the Iranian imagery, the Nasr 1 is almost certainly the active radar-guided variant of the C-704. Brochure material lists the radar terminal acquisition performance as about 15 km. (9.3 mi.) with the missile’s maximum engagement range in the order of 35 km.
Two further versions of C-704 were displayed at Zhuhai—both designated C-704KD. The KD-designation may indicate an air-to-surface application. Infrared and TV-guidance seeker options both bore the C-704KD designation.
A family of medium-range electro-optically and infrared-guided air-to-surface missiles would provide a useful addition to the air force and navy’s air-launched weapons inventory. Cpmiec officials suggested in late 2008 that development of the C-704KD was already at a stage where the system could be exported.
The Nasr 1 designation indicates there may be further members of the Nasr family. The Nasr 2 name has also recently been used in local press reports associated with an anti-ship missile, and this could be another member of the weapon family. Footage of the Nasr production line also showed an electro-optical seeker assembly on a test stand.
The Nasr nomenclature has previously been associated with the Hongdu JJ/TL-6 (JJ/TL-2) missile, which is similar to the C-704, though its claimed range is 20-27 km. rather than 35, and its mid-body wingspan is narrower.
The TL-10 also corresponds to a member of the Kosar family as well as the C-701, and one possibility is that the TL-6 could also be part of the overall Nasr family. Development of the Hongdu weapons began in the latter half of the 1990s.
The intended customer for a further Cpmiec anti-ship missile revealed in 2008 has not been made public. The C-705 is a small turbojet-powered cruise missile, intended as an anti-ship weapon. Whether this weapon is also on offer to Tehran is not known.Photo Credit: Mattin
Saturday, March 13, 2010
China and Iran's Nasr 1 SSM.
Posted by Coatepeque at 11:21 AM