Test launch in 2011
|Type||Air defense system|
|Place of origin||Iran|
|In service||Since 2010|
|Variants||Mersad, Mersad Phase I, Mersad Phase II (Under Development)|
|Weight||Shalamche: 636 kg|
|length||Shalamche: 5030 mm|
|Diameter||Shalamche: 356 mm|
|3x Shahin or Shlamche Missiles|
|Engine||Solid propellant rocket engine
|Shahin: 45 km (30 miles)
Shalamche: 40 km
|Speed||More than Mach 2.4, Shalamche: Mach 3|
|Semi-active radar homing|
Mersad (Persian: Ambush) is an Iranian advanced low to mid range Air defense system developed in 2010. It fires Shahin (Falcon) missiles which are reverse engineered, domestically upgraded versions of the American MIM-23 Hawk Surface-to-air missiles. It uses a series of domestically produced Radars and Electronic Devices, and is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles.
In 2010, Iran announced that it had launched the production line of a new air defense system named, Mersad, which incorporates Shahin missiles. It was said that the system consists of different target tracing and tracking radars, soft and hardware networks, launch pads for Shahin missiles and a command and control center. Iranian defense minister Ahmad Vahidi said that the Mersad air defense system has superior capabilities and includes more capabilities than its western rivals like the Hawk mid-range defense system. Vahidi reiterated that Mersad is resistant to electronic warfare and can be used as part of a network of radar and air defense systems and is fully digital. The Shahin missile is an improved reverse engineered version of US made MIM-23 Hawk Surface to air missile sold to Iran before the 1979 revolution.
Some months later, Iran announced that it has increased the range and altitude of the missile defense system. Vahidi also noted that the new system can also engage more targets at the same time.
In November 2010, Iranian air force colonel Faramarz Ruh Afza said that Mersad has a limited ability to intercept ballistic missiles. That same day, the commander of Khatam al anbia base, Ahmad Miqani, said that Iran is working on the improving the Mersad with the second phase including double range and altitude.
Iran tested the Mersad two days after Miqani's speech in an Air Defense Wargame called Defenders of the Skies of Velayat III. In this test, Iran shot down a UAV using its Mersad Air Defense System.
Also in April 18, 2011, Iran tested two other missiles of Mersad from a site in Semnan. Later it was announced that the missiles were not Shahin. But a further upgraded one called Shalamche. Iranian Defense minister Ahmad Vahidi stated that the speed is now about mach 3 with an increase of about mach 0.6 . He called the missile state of art because of its new electronics which made it highly resistance to Electronic warfare. He said that the range of this missile is about 40 km and it is going to be increased.
Later in May 16, Iran tested the new missile again in an air defense war game in eastern Iran.
According to Iranian officials, the most important factors of new Mersad Phase I system are increase in range and a new advanced algorithm for guiding the missile into its target.
Mersad uses three radars. The PAR radar, called Kavosh, is an upgraded copy of the original AN/MPQ-50. The maximum range is increased to 150 km and an IFF system is added to the radar. A new CWAR called Jouiya is used to detect low altitude targets. The HPIR radar is an upgraded version of AN/MPQ-46 with an additional EO system attached to it. All of the radars use solid state electronics to have more resistance to electronic warfare and can be linked to the other Mersad systems.
- Mersad: Basic variant. Uses the first generation of Shahin missiles.
- Mersad Phase I: Second variant. Tested on October 2010, this variant has a higher range and altitude. It is also capable of engaging more targets simultaneously.
- Mersad Phase II: Third variant. This variant is currently under development. It will have double the range and altitude as compared to the basic Mersad.
- Unknown Designation:Uses Shalamche missiles instead of Shahin.
See also 
- Iran tests Improved-version of Mersad Air defense system (Video of Phase I launch)
- An interview with Colonel Faramarz Rooh Afza about Mersad
- A set of pictures of Mersad and Shahin
- video of Semnan launch.