What weapons will Iran use in potential strikes against Israel?

April 14, 2024 by No Comments

Iran launched dozens of unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, at Israel on Saturday evening local time after a week of threatening retaliation for an attack on a consulate in Damascus. “Iran has begun an airborne attack against Israel,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement Saturday. “President Biden is being regularly updated on the situation by his national security team and will meet with them this afternoon at the White House.” Iran’s state-run news agency Mehr News reported that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had announced the start of the “anti-Zionist operation,” which would hit targets in the Palestinian territories, with further details of the operation announced soon. Israeli Prime Minister said Israel had for weeks “been preparing for the possibility of a direct attack from Iran” and that his country’s “air defenses are deployed, we are ready for any scenario, both in attack and in defense.” The shortest air distance between Israel and Iran is about 1,070 miles, which would require the longest-range missiles and drones in Iran’s arsenal. The drones Iran has launched are reportedly the Shahed model regularly associated with the regime: Iran has sold Shahed-136 drones – self-detonating models known as “suicide drones” – as well as Shahed-107 drones to Ukraine. Gen. Jack Keane of the Institute for the Study of War (IFSW) on Friday told “Fox & Friends” that Iran is most likely to rely on its drones and missiles in any given attack plan, given it has “a weak air force … a weak navy” and “not particularly well-trained or … well-equipped” troops. Iran has instead heavily invested in developing and producing unmanned aerial vehicles – at least 10 models of suicide drones that explode on impact and more than a dozen models of combat drones that can hit ground, sea and air targets and return to base, according to the United States Institute of Peace’s (USIP) Iran Primer. Larger models of the combat variants, such as the Shahed-149, can hit targets up to 1,200 miles away and carry up to 1,100 pounds of munitions or electronic equipment. The larger suicide variants, such as the Arash series, can carry just shy of 600 pounds of explosives and hit targets over 1,200 miles away as well. Most of the combat drones have surveillance capabilities, able to take photos or record video to mark bombing targets. The USIP claimed that several of the Iranian drones are modeled after captured U.S. drones, including the RQ-170, as well as the Israeli Hermes drone. In these cases, Iran has borrowed the shape of the vehicles but “not necessarily” the hardware. The most recently introduced model, the Mohajer-10, was unveiled in Aug. 2023, boasting both combat and intelligence capabilities and able to reach Israel while potentially carrying up to 660 pounds of explosives. Many of the suicide drones – the ones that Iran has reportedly launched at Israel – are slower and easier to shoot down with anti-aircraft guns or missiles. For that reason, Israeli experts remain confident that the country’s air defenses will be able to handle the potential waves of drones that will hit them in the coming hours. However, Iran may also launch some of its cruise missiles, of which Iran boasts the largest and most diverse arsenal in the Middle East, according to the Washington-based watchdog Iran Watch. Former CENTCOM Gen. Kenneth McKenzie in 2022 said that Iran has ballistic missiles in addition to its cruise missiles, and the country made “substantial improvements over the past decade in the precision and accuracy of its missiles, which make them an increasingly potent conventional threat.” Iran Watch identified four types of cruise missiles in Tehran’s arsenal: The Soumar, the Hoveizeh, the Ya Ali and the Paveh. The Paveh is the most recently unveiled model, introduced in 2023, and can hit targets over 1,000 miles away.