Iran claims new defence system will shoot down drones & cruise missiles

Iran unveiled on Saturday (August 10th) what authorities claim is a locally upgraded missile defence system with a range of 400 km (250 miles) and able to defend against cruise and ballistic missiles and drones. 

The announcement comes at a time of rising tension between Iran and United States following the shooting down of a U.S. military surveillance drone in the Gulf by a surface-to-air missile in June. Tehran says the drone was over its territory; Washington says it was in international airspace. 

State television showed the 'Falaq', a vehicle and a mobile radar installation which it claims to be an improved version of the 'Gamma' system, which military experts said was of Russian origin. 

Western analysts say Iran often exaggerates its weapons capabilities, though concerns about its long-range ballistic missile programme contributed to Washington last year exiting the pact that Iran sealed with world powers in 2015 to rein in its nuclear ambitions in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions. 

“This system has high capabilities and can detect all types of cruise and ballistic missiles and drones,” Brigadier General Alireza Sabahifard, commander of the regular army’s air defences, was quoted as saying by semi-official news agency Mehr. He said that the Falaq was a locally overhauled version of a system which had been out of operation for a long time. 

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