Ukraine war could give Iran a chance to seize the Iron Dome ADS

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Israel is hesitant to share its advanced Iron Dome air defense system [ADS] with Ukraine due to Iran’s ability to reverse engineer weaponry. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the Israeli Prime Minister stated that Israel would not be supplying Ukraine with the Iron Dome system or other weapons. 

Photo credit: The Washington post

This decision is due to the risk of these weapons falling into Iran’s hands. The Prime Minister expressed concerns about Iranian forces using Israeli weapons against Israel itself. The Iron Dome system, which has successfully defended against 95% of missiles targeting residential areas, is crucial to Israel’s defense. Its capture by Iran could leave millions of Israelis vulnerable. 

Iran has a history of reverse-engineering foreign weapons. For instance, Iran’s Shahed-136 drones, supplied to Russia, use German engines acquired almost twenty years ago. Reports in March suggested that Russia was providing Iran with US-made weapons seized in Ukraine for duplication. 

The DIO

Explore Iran’s Defense Industries Organization [DIO], a key player in local military production. The state-owned manufacturer creates a variety of hardware for the national armed forces. 

Photo credit: IDF

The DIO excels in reverse-engineering diverse equipment, a critical skill for meeting the Iranian military’s needs. This ability enables them to adjust and innovate quickly. 

Founded in 1981, the DIO has significantly contributed to the growth of Iran’s defense industry. It works alongside numerous state-owned defense contractors and companies, directly or via its primary subsidiary, the Aerospace Industries Organization. The DIO’s subsidiaries have successfully replicated foreign weapon systems from countries like the US, the Soviet Union, and China. 

The Raad 2

An example of DIO’s achievement is the Raad 2, a self-propelled howitzer made in Iran. This weapon combines an American-designed turret with a Soviet-designed hull. 

Photo by Sonia Sevilla

The Raad 2 features a turret from the American M109A1 self-propelled howitzer, combined with a Soviet-designed hull resembling the Iranian Boragh – a modified version of the 1960s Soviet BMP-1 amphibious armored personnel carrier. 

However, Iran’s local missile development has faced allegations of unlicensed replication of technologies used in missiles produced by the United States, North Korea, China, and the USSR.

Sayyad-1 and Sayyad-2

The Sayyad-1 is an Iranian missile adapted from the Chinese HQ-2 SAM with improved guidance and control systems. It travels at around 1,200 meters per second and carries a 200-kilogram warhead. 

Photo by Mohammad Agah

Its successors, the Sayyad-2 and subsequent models, are examples of Iran’s ability to reverse engineer. They’re based on the RIM-66 Standard Missile [SM-1] obtained from the United States before the 1979 revolution. 

Iran is replicating

The Iranian-made Saegheh fighter jet is a revamp of the American F-5 Tiger II, featuring modern avionics, radar, and weaponry. Iran has successfully applied its reverse engineering skills in the drone sector too, replicating the RQ-170 Sentinel stealth spy drone. 

In 2011, Iran made news by capturing a US RQ-170 Sentinel drone, which they then used to create their own version, the “Saegheh.” Iran’s technological development extends underwater too, with the Ghadir-class submarines, based on North Korea’s Yono-class submarines. These submarines are competent in coastal defense, showcasing Iran’s capacity to adapt technologies from other nations. 

Photo credit: UASVision

Considering Iran’s technological achievements, one may ponder: Are Iran’s advancements, Russia’s influence, or a mix of both contributing to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision not to send the Iron Dome to Kyiv?

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