by Girish Linganna

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, asserts that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has developed a new type of Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV) for its "Fattah-2" hypersonic missile, which may destroy Israeli air defences such as the "Iron Dome."

Several other modern weaponry systems were also on display at a military demonstration on Sunday at the IRGC's aerospace branch in Tehran.

New Toys For Iran

The other new systems, according to Al Jazeera, included an improved iteration of the "9-Dey" missile defence system, which was capable of launching projectiles at short to medium range. Additionally, Khamenei unveiled an updated iteration of the "Shahed" series of unmanned aerial vehicles. Furthermore, they showcased a new missile defence system known as "Mehran," purportedly employing solid-fuel missiles.

First displayed in June of this year, Iran's "Fattah-2" (Persian for "Conqueror"), if it is truly hypersonic, would join China and Russia as the only other countries with hypersonic missiles. Iranian state media claims that the new "Fattah-2" is unique in that its hypersonic capabilities extend beyond the missile's main rocket to the missile's HGV.

A Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV) is a high-speed weapon system designed to travel at speeds greater than Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound). It is a maneuverable vehicle that can be launched into space atop a missile or rocket and then re-enter the Earth's atmosphere to engage its target. HGVs have the ability to maneuver during their entire flight path, making them extremely difficult to intercept. They possess immense kinetic energy, allowing them to strike targets with great precision and destructive power. HGVs are seen as a significant advancement in military technology, offering strategic advantages due to their remarkable speed, maneuverability, and unpredictability.

Nevertheless, it is critical to specify that the manoeuvrability of a missile dictates its range. It is simpler for anti-missile systems such as the "Patriot" and "Arrow" to intercept ballistic missiles due to their predictable trajectory. However, a missile with an alleged irregular flight path, such as the one in question, is more difficult to intercept but has a shorter range.

There was an absence of additional details pertaining to the upgraded version, and no recordings documenting any test launches were available. Iran had previously revealed that the "Fattah" is capable of reaching a top speed of Mach 15, which is equivalent to a distance of 3.2 miles per second or 5.1 kilometres per second, and has a range of 1,400 kilometres (870 miles).

In June, the IRGC made an announcement regarding its capability to increase the range of its hypersonics to 2,000 kilometres (1,243 miles), a distance that would adequately encompass the distance to Israel. Western sanctions, which restrict access to mid-range ballistic missiles, have also prompted the IRGC to expand its arsenal in recent years.

The Capabilities Remain Unverified

"I overhear our adversaries boasting about the development of new weapons." We possess an even more refined reaction to such developments. "Including both offensive and defensive methods, whether on land, in the air, or at sea," Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant stated during a visit to the military's Northern Command in the midst of a significant exercise.

Khamenei, according to the Times of Israel, also examined a brand-new Iranian drone known as the "Gaza." Once again, no additional details were disclosed beyond the given name. Furthermore he said that Israel had lost its war against Iranian-backed Palestinian terrorist organisation Hamas . Iran, which desires Israel's destruction, had previously praised the attacks of October 7, 2023 as a "success" but denied direct involvement.

The author of this article is a Defence, Aerospace & Political Analyst based in Bengaluru. He is also Director of ADD Engineering Components, India, Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of ADD Engineering GmbH, Germany. You can reach out to him at: