Iran got US-made Hellfire AGM and made its copy – the Ghaem-114
PANAGYURISHTE, BULGARIA — The news of the last few hours that Iran receives weapons supplied to Ukraine through Russia is not surprising. Firstly, experts were warning about this since the beginning of the war. Second, BulgarinMilitary.com already reported in November last year that FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS, SAAB Boforus NLAW, and FGM-148 Javelin are already in Tehran. Third, it makes sense that in times of war, both you and your enemies would benefit from captured weapons.
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Russia has equivalents of Western weapons. However, Iran does not have its own developments due to the long-standing military embargo. Tehran is left to copy foreign technology. The war in Ukraine removed Russia from international political relations with NATO member states. But the war strengthened the partnership between Moscow and Tehran. Following the path of logic, we should expect the delivery of more Iranian weapons for the Russian invasion. Because what captivated Russia in the war went to Iran.
In this article, we will not repeat what other media outlets say. We’ll show you what Iranian copy means to give you an idea. Because the war today weakens the combat capabilities of Ukraine and Russia but increases the countries traditionally perceived as enemies of the United States.
For some reason, the American-made Hellfire air-to-ground missile ended up on the desk of Iranian engineers. Whether captured, delivered, bought through a third party, or illegal trade – it doesn’t matter anymore.
The AGM-114 Hellfire missile, which has been in service since the 1980s, has been developed in various variants. Length of about 163 to 180 cm and a diameter of 18 cm, a mass of about 45 to 49 kg, a warhead of 8 to 9 kg, and a range of 8 km can be seen in various samples of this missile.
The Ghaem-114 is an Iranian air-to-surface missile that is a complete copy of the American-made AGM-114 Hellfire. Information about the missile is scarce.
For the first time in November 2019, during the presentation of UAV Fitras, a missile similar to Hellfire – Ghaem-114 was seen in Iran. Although no information was released about this missile, this missile might have the same functionality as the Hellfire missile because the Fitras UAV has a laser guidance system.
Before it was officially shown to the general Iranian public, the Ghaem-114 was spotted. This happened a year earlier, in 2018. The missile was part of the equipment of the IRGC’s 214 Hovaniroz helicopter. Then again, information about the rocket was missing.
Here’s what we know
A photo of a Ghaem-114 missile shows 4 types of this missile with different guidance methods. This means that Iranian specialists have been able to copy and produce a missile that can have different applications and perform all kinds of missions in different conditions, using different guidance methods.
The first missile on the side in the top row, the Ghaem-114, is an infrared heat-seeking missile. In this way of targeting, the missile after launch looks for the hottest object in front of it and moves towards it with the help of an arrow built into its warhead. Thus, the missile is guided without relying on the firing platform, using an internal guidance system, and after launch, it no longer needs to be guided from the firing platform.
For this reason, the helicopter or any device that uses this type of missile can leave the area after firing or launching a second missile. This advantage makes the missile launch platform less vulnerable to defense systems and provides more security to helicopters and drones.
Thermal conductivity also brings with it the ability to use missiles at night and in different weather conditions, which is a great advantage in today’s wars.
Lower-level missiles, however, use two different guidance methods. In the lower right row is the optical guidance type of a vertical missile, and on the left side is the semi-active laser guidance type of this missile.
In the optical guidance method, a camera is installed in the nose of the missile, after the missile switch is activated by the user, the cover on it is removed and the image of the target is displayed on the application monitor. Zooming in on the target, the operator places a mark on the target to fix the missile on the target and then fires the missile or bomb at the target.
This targeting method is also internal and is done without relying on an external guide, meaning that the gunner can leave the area after dropping the bomb or firing the missile and avoid the risk of being targeted.
In the early generations of optical guidance, bombs, and missiles were equipped with a visible camera, but in later generations, they were equipped with thermal imaging cameras that used the ability to fight at night and in different atmospheric conditions.
The advantage of the thermal method compared to the infrared method of heat conduction is that with this method the heat source is seen as a large black spot and therefore the decoy of these types of flare missiles [thermal decoy] is a smaller source of heat. This is a very difficult task.
But the third missile uses a semi-active laser guidance method. In this way of guiding the missile, there is a laser seeker in its cap that reflects the waves. In semi-active laser guidance, first, the laser beam is irradiated to the target by a laser guidance system, then the missile’s head seeker finds the reflected laser waves and moves to the target.
Despite the high accuracy of the shot, this guide has some limitations. Among them, weather conditions can affect the performance of bombs or missiles, and it is also possible to create smoke screens in the path of the reflection of laser beams and prevent them from reaching the bomb or missile. Also, with this method, the launcher must be pointed at the target by the time the bomb or missile hits it, and any interruption in the reflection of the laser waves will cause the missile to deflect.
Of course, to solve this problem, an independent marker and a separate launcher can be used to launch the missile. In such a way that one device directs laser waves at the target and the other fires the missile at it. During the First Gulf War and the coalition attack on Kuwait, British and American fighter jets used this method to launch their laser-guided bombs and missiles.
However, the fourth missile, i.e. missile, which is placed on the left side of the top row, because its cap cover has not been removed, no information is available on its guidance method. However, given that these missiles are introduced in the Navy and the millimeter wave guidance method is one of the appropriate methods to combat surface targets at sea, and the sea-based Hellfire missile also uses this guidance method, it may be the fourth missile was assumed to use millimeter wave guidance.
Millimeter wave guidance is a way of guiding a missile in which the missile is equipped with a radar in its hood that emits radar waves to the surface of the earth. Normally, the return waves have a wavelength of 50 microns, and if there is another object on the surface that is of a different material, the wavelength of the return waves will be different and the missile will follow different wavelengths to reach the target.
This targeting method is also used in the sea because the sea has a smooth and uncomplicated surface where the slightest complication on its surface can be recognized and targeted. A few years ago, the Americans also created a type of Hellfire missile called the Longbow or Hellfire L, which uses the same guidance method.
Using of Ghaem 114
Although detailed information on the range, warhead, and type of mission of the Ghaem 114 missiles has not yet been released, Iran’s acquisition of a missile with various guidance methods, in addition to equipping helicopters and drones with guidance systems for various types of bombs and missiles, as well as the ability to fly at night allows the armed forces to use these missiles to perform a wide range of missions in different conditions, and for this reason, the limitation of performing the mission with helicopters and drones has been reduced to a significant level.
Equipping naval helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, and floats with this missile will also enhance this force’s ability to support landing operations of special forces in the occupation of an enemy coast. Also, the small size of this missile allows naval ships to carry more millimeter wave samples of this missile with them and is more useful to deal with small and fast enemy boats or pirate boats in the Gulf of Aden.
With the introduction of the Qaim missile, along with the Qaim and Sadid family of bombs and missiles, the Army and IRGC helicopters and drones now have a more complete basket of air-to-ground weapons that can perform different missions against different targets at sea and on land.
What should we expect?
We can be sure that Tehran will make copies of FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS, SAAB Boforus NLAW, and FGM-148 Javelin. The question is how far these copies will go. Because the chain of countries that are enemies of the USA is large. Immediately at first reading, we can assume that after Iran, North Korea will benefit from the acquired weapons.
Let’s not forget China. Although China’s capabilities are far greater than those of Iran and North Korea, Beijing would also not fail to benefit from learning about Western technology. Especially now, when China begins to openly express its support for Russia and continues to “tighten the noose” around Taiwan with its almost weekly provocations.
The fact that the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has already published a photo on the web of him holding NATO Stinger systems and Ukrainian Igla MANPADS on both shoulders is indicative enough that the captured weapon from Russia is already circulating among its partners and allies.
Now I leave it up to your imagination as to where in the world overgrown Leopard, Abrams, and Challenger tanks can reach.
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