Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Iranian Silos Unveiled

So Iran is conducting another wargame, Great Prophet 6. No big deal, everybody does it. Apart from the military and political benefits, they present fun opportunities for politicians and military officials to make bold, asinine, and non-credible statements to the press. Plus, you often get nice videos showing things like missile firings.

Speaking of videos and Iranian exercises, here's a link to a Youtube video purportedly showing some of the Great Prophet 6 exercise footage:


Pay attention to what shows up at the 15 second mark: that'd be the inside of an apparent Iranian missile silo. Iran claims that the silos are automated, allowing remote firing of the weapons.

For amusement, let's quote Lebanon's Daily Star:

"An officer in Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, which is in charge of the missile program, said Tehran has constructed “numerous” underground missile silos which satellites can’t detect."

Except, you know, for the ones near Tabriz.

Another Lebanese source, Al-Manar, claims that the silos were used on the 27th.

What does all of this mean? First off, it means that Iranian silo-based missiles should certainly be considered an operational element in the ballistic missile force. Additionally, it raises a few questions about Iranian silo-building capabilities. Why did it take this long for the capability to be revealed? Were there issues with the communication and control system? Will this prevent a more widespread deployment of silo-based weapons? Or was Iran merely taking its time to work everything out, prior to initiating a large-scale silo-based deployment system?

Whatever the answers, perhaps Iranian silo-based deployment concepts, including coffin-launched systems elsewhere in the nation, will now get more attention. Look for more on this to appear here in the future.


Anonymous said...

Never heard the term "coffin-launched" before. Does it just mean "silo based", or is there a more specific definition?

Pigasus said...

I would bet that's a training facility. The forward shroud looks fairly scuffed up and there are quite a few lights in the launch tube. Light fixtures and rocket motors can never be friends. Unless they've somehow hardened those fixtures, motor ignition will turn all those pretty lights into high speed fragments.

Very cool video!

Anonymous said...

Pay attention at the level of coordination of the AAAs.

Anonymous said...

The way I read it, "coffin-launched" means enclosed in external casing, requiring little or no maintenance, possibly mobile.

Sean O'Connor said...

Coffin-launched weapons employ a system like the old Atlas ICBM. The missile is stored horizontally in a hardened bunker and erected for launch.

Anonymous said...

hm imo they wont like the silo based weapons, as they will be easier to target during wartime.
so this might give a good reason for them to opt for the mobile launchers with mobile tank vehicles, ect, to shoot and scoot (then refuel/reload in a safe position)

so to make silos work properly you either need proper iads to defens them or have proper ew capability (ie launch on warning)

Anonymous said...

Hello sean i have a question that has been bugging me. I was wondering how are long range sams like s-300 deployed.

1. Can the individual launchers opeerate autonomously. Can they be dispersed in a wide area far from the radars and brains of the individual batteries, so that they can achieve coverage of a much larger area with the same amount of launchers. ?
2. Also is it possible to link the launchers to some kind of larger network and disperse the launchers over a wide area. ?

Thank You

Anonymous said...

hello sean, I guess what i was asking can also be said in a different way.... how far can you place individual launchers from their battery's radar and brain systems for long range sytems such as s-300.

Thank You

Anonymous said...

Anonymous to anonymous: that's most interesting question, but I doubt the Russians will provide answer willingly. The opposite side may not like to advertise that knowledge as well.

You can calculate the maximal theoretical range as a tangent on earth surface connecting two antennas. That can be narrowed further by taking in account Fresnel zones.

It's a good idea, but it makes the launchers sort of blind toward low flying threats, so there is certain practical limit on how distant they can be.

On the other side, since it is assumed that the radar position is known, it would not be to difficult guess on which radiant lines the launchers are positions.

You may use good-old-copper instead of radio as well. That would give you some privacy. The long distance would require pre-deployment of cables.

A lot depends on the actual guidance systems, and how they direct the launchers.

Anonymous said...

well the allowed distances between the "smart tels" and the fire control radar can be found within the oficial specification. Also the allowed distance between the firecontrol radar and the battle management complex is also provided.

Also these values are not only limited by the datalinks, but also by the radar performance.

Also there are 2 kinds of tels in the s300pmu series sam - "smart" and "dumb".

smart tells have the launch preparation electronics boxes and the dumb ones have to be connected to them via short cable.

Hence I conclude that it is possible to disperce the launch groups (1 smart + 2 dumb tels) within a certain distance of the firecontrol radar (several kilometers)

Also the separete fire units will participare in a larger scale network and share target track data, ect.

Howhether I personally do not think long range sam (like s300 series or patriot) will be apropriate in the Iran enviroment, as their usefullness and range will be limited by the local terrain.

Much better choice in my opinion would to procure numerous medium range systems such as BUKm2 for the point defence, combined with modern fighters and awacs aircraft for strategic defence.

So in my opinion optimal option will be a full strength BUKm2 brigade in support of 2-3 flanker regiments (if possible of su35 type) and an awacs squadron (atleast 4-6 A50E platforms).

This will mean that they will need competent pilots to operate their airdefence network properly.

This will be better option b/c it will provide long range strike options as well as expeditionary air superiority and local/strategic air defence.

nico said...

There is actually a longer video where you see a lot more of the installations, especially the inside. IMO, they appear quite crude.I think from a military POV, Iran would be better off building bunkers for mobile TELS. They are kidding themselves if they think satellites can't spot them or those blast doors can withstand a JADM.