Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Force

Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Base

The seal of the I.R.I Air Defense Base
Active 1933–1954 (Part of Ground Force)[1]
1954–2008 (Part of Air Force)[1]
2008–Present (As Separate Force)
Country  Islamic Republic of Iran
Branch Artesh
Type Air defence
Size 15,000 (estimate)[2]
Headquarters Tehran
Motto(s) Arabic: وَمَا رَمَيْتَ إِذْ رَمَيْتَ وَلَـكِنَّ اللّهَ رَمَى
"And You Did Not Throw When You Threw, But God Did Throw" [Quran 8:17]
March 18 April
Anniversaries 1 September
Commander Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili

The Islamic Republic of Iran Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base (Persian: قرارگاه پدافند هوایی خاتم الانبياء ارتش جمهوری اسلامی ایران) is a branch split from IRIAF and part of Islamic Republic of Iran Army. It controls all of Iran's military land-based air defense. It is currently commanded by Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili.


As of 1996 Iranian Air Defence forces included about 18,000 military personnel. The tradition of aircraft-based air defense, derived from the US-trained Air Force from before the 1978-79 revolution, was giving way to an expanding arsenal of ground-based air defense missile systems. Still, Iran was at the time unable to construct a nationwide, integrated air defense network, and continued to rely on point defense of key locations with surface-to-air missile batteries.

The bulk of Iran's Air Force Air Defence holdings by the mid-1990s revolved around 30 Improved HAWK fire units (12 battalions/150+ launchers), 45-60 SA-2 and HQ-2J/23 (CSA-1 Chinese equivalents of the SA-2) launchers. Also available were some 30 Rapier and 15 Tigercat SAM launchers. There are reports of the transfer of SA-6 launchers to Iran from Russia in 1995/1996.In 1997 the Iranian Air Defense forces declared the Almaz S-200 Angara (SA-5 'Gammon') low-to high-altitude surface-to-air missile (SAM) operational.

In December 2005 Iran entered into a contract to purchase 29 TOR-M1 (SA-15 Gauntlet) mobile surface-to-air missile defense systems from Russia worth more than US$700 million (EUR 600 million).

Between 1998 and 2002 Iran imported approximately 6 JY-14 surveillance radars from the China National Electronics Import-Export Corporation. The radar can detect targets up to 300 km away and is now part of Iran's air defense system.[3]

On 1 September 2008 it was reported that Russia may proceed with plans to sell advanced S-300 air defence systems to Iran under a secret contract believed to have been signed in 2005. On 22 September 2010 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree banning the sale of the S-300 and other military equipment to Iran.[4] The sale was canceled because of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929 sanctions on Iran. On 10 November 2010 Iran announced that it had developed a version of the S-300 missile.

Iranian land forces have a total of some 1,700 anti-aircraft guns including 14.5mm ZPU-2/-4, 23mm ZSU-23-4, 23mm ZU-23s, 37mm type 55s, 57mm ZSU-57-2 and 100mm KS-19s.Iran also had 100-180 Bofors L/70 40mm guns and modest numbers of Skygaurd 35mm twin anti-aircraft guns.It largest holding consisted of ZU-23s(which it can manufacture).[5]

Recently Iran has built several new anti-aircraft guns including Samavat 35mm Anti-Aircraft Guns, Sa'ir 100mm Anti-Aircraft Guns (Upgraded automatic version of KS-19) and the Mesbah 1 air defense system.[6][7][8][9]

On 21 August 2012 the Iranian military started construction of its largest air defense base in the city of Abadeh in the Southern Fars province. The air defense base is due to be built at the cost of $300 million and will have 6,000 personnel available for a large array of duties, including educational ones.[10] Days later, the defense ministry also announced plans to develop Bavar 373, a new long-range air-defense system, by March 21, 2013.[11]


Air-defence artillery systems

Model Type Quantity Notes
ZPU-4 Anti-air artillery +
ZU-23 Anti-air artillery +
Oerlikon 35 mm/Samavat Anti-air artillery 100+
KS-19/Sa'ir 100mm Anti-Aircraft Guns Anti-air artillery +
Mesbah 1 Close-in weapon system +
ZSU-23-4 Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon 100+
ZSU-57-2 Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon + Domestic "Bahman" based on 6x6 truck chassis.[12]

Air-defence missile systems

Model Type Quantity Acquired Notes
MIM-23 Hawk Surface-to-air missile 150 1970s-present Locally manufactured improved version of the original 1960s US Hawk system. The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force had recently revealed its own version of the MIM-23 Hawk the Shahin which is under production. In 2010 Iran announced that it will be mass-producing its next generation of air defense system called Mersad which would integrate with the Shahin missile.[13]
SM-1 Surface-to-air missile + Locally manufactured copy of a c.1970s variant
Shahab Saqeb Surface-to-air missile + 2002–present copy of the Chinese HQ-7 (FM-90) system. This Project was First Joint Winner-Applied Research in 14th Khwarizmi International Award- 2001;Tehran-Iran -The Project Title:Production of Low Range Ground to Air Missile;Shahab Saqeb - Initiator:Iran Aerospace Ind. Org.& Contributor:D.I.O)[14]
SA-2 Dvina/Sayyad-1 Surface-to-air missile 45 Up to 45 Launchers, HQ-2J and indigenous-produced Sayyad-1. Upgraded copy of HQ-2, Sayyad-1A has IR tracking. This Project was First Joint Winner-Applied Research in 14th Khwarizmi International Award- 2001;Tehran-Iran -The Project Title:Manufacture of Sayyad-1 Missile -Initiator: Iran Aerospace Ind. Org. Contributor:HESA & Arak Machine Ind.[14]
Ghareh Surface-to-air missile 10 upgraded copy of SA-5 Gammon with 250 km range. Iran has five battalions and each battalion is composed of six launchers and one fire control radar.
SA-6 Gainful Surface-to-air missile 8 1995–present Reports of eight SA-6 systems transferred to Iran from Russia in 1995/1996.
SA-5 Gammon Surface-to-air missile 200 Locally upgraded and improved [15][16]
Rapier missile Surface-to-air missile 30 1971–present 45 towed systems with Blindfire radar delivered before 1979. 72 self-propelled systems and local production of 1,000 missiles cancelled 1979
Tigercat Surface-to-air missile 15
SA-22 Greyhound (Pantsyr S1) Surface-to-air missile 10 2008–present [17][18]
Tor missile system Surface-to-air missile 29 2005–present [19]
S-300 Surface-to-air missile 9 2016 Iran claims to possess two S-300PT from Belarus and two others from another unspecified source. Russia started delivery of S-300 PMU2 system in January after signing a new contract with Iran, according to Russian news agency TASS.[20] Iran announced that it had a "domestically made" system with the same capabilities as the S-300.[20]
Mersad Air Defense System + 2010 Iranian designed Air Defense system using Shahin missiles.
Raad Air Defense System + 2012 Iranian air defense system based on Russian Buk.
Ya Zahra Air Defense System + 2013 Mass production began in January 2013.[21]
Herz-9 Air Defense System + 2013 Mass production began in May 2013.[22]
Bavar-373 Air Defense System 4+ 2014 An Iranian long range air defence system whose development began after the Russian refusal to supply the S-300. According to Iranian defence minister Hassan Dehghan in an interview, Bavar-373 is a completely indigenous system.[23]

Man-portable air-defense systems

Model Type Quantity
Misagh-1 Man-portable air-defense systems +
Misagh-2 Man-portable air-defense systems +
Qaem Man-portable air-defense systems +
RBS-70 Man-portable air-defense systems 50
SA-7 Grail Man-portable air-defense systems +
SA-14 Gremlin Man-portable air-defense systems +
SA-16 Gimlet Man-portable air-defense systems 700[24]
SA-18 Grouse Man-portable air-defense systems +

Radar systems


  1. 1 2 تاریخچه پدافند هوایی در ایران (in Persian), Islamic Republic of Iran Army, retrieved 15 December 2015
  2. Hossein Aryan (November 15, 2011), The Artesh: Iran’s Marginalized and Under-Armed Conventional Military, Middle East Institute, retrieved December 15, 2015
  3. "Iran MODAFL: Air Defenses". Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  4. "Russia pulls plug on Iran arms deal". UPI. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  5. Cordesman, Anthony H.; Kleiber, Martin (2007). Iran's Military Forces and Warfighting Capabilities. pp. 62–64. ISBN 9780892065011. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  6. "Iran Produces Anti-Aircraft Cannon: Samavat". YouTube. 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  7. "IRGC receives anti-aircraft cannons". PressTV. 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  10. "Iran Starts Building Powerful Air Defense Base in South". Fars News Agency. 2012-08-21. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  11. "Iran to Boost Air-Defense Power with New Long-Range System Soon". Fars News Agency. 25 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  12. New Bahman 57mm 6x6 self-propelled anti-aicraft [sic] twin gun unveiled by Iranian armed Forces -, 14 April 2016
  13. "No Operation". PressTV. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  14. 1 2 Archived March 19, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. "Fars News Agency :: Iran Optimizes Missile System". 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  16. "Almaz/Antei Concern of Air Defence S-200 Angara/Vega (SA-5 'Gammon') low to high-altitude surface-to-air missile system". Jane's Information Group. 2008-04-02. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
  17. "Iran set to obtain Pantsyr via Syria - Jane's Defence News". 2007-05-22. Archived from the original on October 18, 2007. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  18. "Syria is to send Iran air defence systems from Russia: Jane's". 21 May 2007. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  19. "Tor M1 9M330 Air Defense System". Defense Update. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  20. 1 2 "Kremlin confirms Russia started supplying S-300 missile systems to Iran". Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  21. Iran starts mass production of Ya Zahra -, January 27, 2013
  24. "Iran Iranian army land ground armed forces military equipment armoured vehicle intelligence pictures". Army Recognition. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  27. Carlo Kopp. "Reassessing Iran's Air Defences". Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  29. John C Wise. "PLA Air Defence Radars". Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  30. "امیر اسماعیلی در گفتگو با فارس: جدیدترین رادار بومی با نام "ثامن" عملیاتی می‌شود". Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  31. 1 2
  32. "Iran officially unveils new long-range radar". Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  33. "Iran Can Now Detect U.S. Stealth Jets at Long Range". Medium. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  34. "Iran to produce 3000-km-range radar". PressTV. 2010-11-14. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  35. "Iran develops long-range radar system". PressTV. 2011-09-08. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  36. "با حضور امیر اسماعیلی رادار برد بلند "آرش" وارد چرخه عملیاتی پدافند هوایی شد+تصاویر". Retrieved 11 November 2014.
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