On High Alert: Israel Initiates Preparedness Measures to Counter Iranian Hypersonic Ballistic Missile Threats


Foreign Affairs

Tel Aviv: The Israeli intelligence is trying to confirm the Iranian declaration about it’s success in developing a hypersonic ballistic missile. At the same time Israel is taking measures to be prepared for the new threat. These are classified but it can be said that they focus on early detection and very advanced interception systems.

While the Iranian uninterrupted military nuclear program gets the most attention of the Israeli intelligence apparatus, in recent months Iran’s achievements in developing long range ballistic missiles and now hypersonic ones have been put on higher priority.

“Many eyes in the skies watch for every little sign that can indicate the level of threats from these two weapon systems,” a senior defence source that is connected to the missile defence operation in Israel said.

In addition, Israel with the US have accelerated the development and deployment of the Arrow -4, the new version of this air defence system.

An Israeli expert, said that unlike with ballistic missiles it is impossible to predict the hit point of an hypersonic missile . That he added makes the interception of such missile more complicated and therefore should involve a mix of interceptors, some that Israel has and others under development.

A senior commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced last week that Iran succeeded in developing such a missile.

“The missile has a great velocity and can maneuver both in and out of the Earth’s atmosphere,” Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the IRGC Aerospace Division chief, told reporters.

“The new missile can pass through all missile defence systems, and I don’t think that the technology capable of intercepting it will be achieved in the decades to come. It can target the enemy’s anti-missile systems, and its production marks a huge generational leap in the development of a new generation of missiles,” Brigadier General Hajizadeh explained.

The hypersonic missile can fly at more than five times the speed of sound (at a rate of 3,800 mph). According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, hypersonic missiles are able to travel on complex trajectories that make them difficult to defend against.

The homegrown hypersonic missile is more advanced than Sejil.

According to Iran, the Sejil is the country’s first options to respond to any Israeli aggression. This issue has become more and more in the spotlight because the distance between Iran and occupied Palestine is only 1300 km and this missile can reach Tel Aviv in only 7 to 10 minutes.

The Iranian boasted that Sejil is able to reach Tel Aviv in less than seven minutes if it is launched from Natanz. However, the hypersonic missile, which is much more advanced than Sejil, can reach Tel Aviv in less than four minutes from Iran’s western regions.

Talking to the Tasnim news agency on November 9, Hajizadeh said the hypersonic missile has been tested.

He also said the missile will be unveiled in the future.

“In future and in a proper time this hypersonic missile will be unveiled,” Hajizadeh remarked.

Marina Miron, a research fellow from the Defence Studies Department at King’s College London, told Newsweek that
“the problem is now the US is still struggling with its hypersonic missiles and now all of a sudden Iran has its first hypersonic missile—so that changes the balance of power.”

According to the researcher, to intercept a hypersonic missile, you would need special space satellites or a space sensor.

“At this very stage there is no defence against hypersonic missiles so it increases the threat to countries which are located within range.”

“It’s going to have some serious implications on the balance of power, not only in the Middle East, but just generally in the world,” Miron said.

US Department of Defence spokesperson for the Middle East region, Army Lieutenant Colonel Rob Lodewick, told Fox News Digital that the Pentagon is “well aware” of the reporting but claimed it remains “skeptical”.

“As always, we will refrain from disclosure of intelligence reporting and assessments on such sensitive topics,” he added. “We continue to closely monitor Iran’s development and proliferation of advanced missile and associated technology.”

Iranian military specialists and technicians have made significant progress in recent years in manufacturing a wide spectrum of indigenous weaponry, allowing the armed forces to be quite self-sufficient in the armament industry.

During the week of November 6-12, 2022, the Commander of Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh announced that a hypersonic missiles is now in the hands of his organization.

“This newly-developed ballistic missile will pass through all missile defence systems” he said, adding that it is not believed that “such a technology can be developed for decades to counter it.”

“The missile has a great velocity and can manoeuver both in and out of the Earth’s atmosphere.”

“This missile, which targets enemy anti-missile systems, represents a great generational leap in the field of missiles, ” the Brig Gen Hajizadeh added.

According to Tal Inbar, an Israeli defence analyst since Iran already developed a ballistic missile that was declared as “hypersonic” (The “Shahid Haj Qassem”) with a declared reentry speed of Mach 12, and already demonstrated skipping capabilities in several missiles re-entry vehicles – the most plausible assumption is that the new system will be a true HGV – Hypersonic Glide Vehicle.

“The assessed hypothesis is that the new missile will have the shape like the known systems of China’s DF-17 or North Korea’s HGV both hypersonic Missiles.”

Israeli defence sources related to missile defence refused to say whther there is solid evidence that North Korea or China sold Iran technology that helped its defence industry to develop a hypersonic missile.

Inbar says that an HGV is not a “wonder weapon” and it could be intercepted. However, at the near future, it will pose a significant challenges for active defences – both in detection, tracking and kinetic encounter and interception.

“HGV systems challenges most missile defence because its hard to detect and track due to their depressed trajectories. Unlike ballistic trajectory, this is an unpredicted flight path. Usually, high-manoeuvrability during re-entry.”

According to Inbar, Hypersonic missiles are more complex that ballistic missiles and carry a smaller payload .

The Israeli analyst added that such a precision weapon system will probably carry HE warhead type .

Israeli defence sources that are following the long range missile program of Iran say that if the Iranians have really succeeded in developing an operational hypersonic missile they may use the Houthis rebels, their proxy in Yemen, to launch these missiles to hit targets in Israel.

According to Ari Heistein and Elisha Stoin researchers from the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), it is possible that in the future the Houthis will permit Iran’s IRGC forces to launch advanced Iranian cruise missiles, UAVs or ballistic missiles from Yemeni territory.

“This could occur in a scenario in which Tehran seeks to strike Israel while distancing itself from the attack and minimizing potential blowback.”

Israeli defence sources said that the potential launch of Iranian made ballistic or hypersonic missiles from Yemen makes the operational cooperation between the IDF and US troops in the Gulf area, for example the fifth fleet “Ultra important”.

And to be better ready for the new threat, Israel wants a fast deployment of The Arrow -4 interceptor. This version will have winglets because it is designed to intercept inside the atmosphere.The development of this interceptor is directed by the Israeli ministry of defence in cooperation with the US.