Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Force

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Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Base
Seal of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Force.svg
The seal of the I.R.I Air Defense Base
Active 1933–1954 (Part of Ground Force)[1]
1954–2008 (Part of Air Force)[1]
2008–Present (As Separate Force)
Country  Iran
Branch Artesh
Type Air defence
Size 15,000 (estimate)[2]
Headquarters Tehran
Motto(s) Arabic: وَمَا رَمَيْتَ إِذْ رَمَيْتَ وَلَـكِنَّ اللّهَ رَمَى
"And You Did Not Throw When You Threw, But God Did Throw" [Quran 8:17]
March April 18th
Anniversaries September 1st
Commander Brigadier General Alireza Sabahifard
Flag Flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Force.svg

The Islamic Republic of Iran Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base (Persian: قرارگاه پدافند هوایی خاتم الانبياء ارتش جمهوری اسلامی ایران‎) is a branch split from IRIAF and part of Islamic Republic of Iran Army that controls Iran's military land-based air defense.


Before the Revolution, the United States undertook three programs (Spellout, Peace Ruby and Peace Net), to improve/upgrade the air-defence system of Iran. As well as air defence radars the network was linked using microwave LOS and troposcatter communications networks.[3][4]

As of 1996, Iranian Air Defence forces included about 18,000 military personnel. The tradition of aircraft-based air defense, derived from the US-trained Air Force from before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, was giving way to an expanding arsenal of ground-based air defense missile systems. Still, Iran was at the time unable to construct a nationwide, integrated air defense network, and continued to rely on point defense of key locations with surface-to-air missile batteries.

The bulk of Iran's Air Force Air Defence holdings by the mid-1990s revolved around 30 Improved HAWK fire units (12 battalions/150+ launchers), 45-60 SA-2 and HQ-2J/23 (CSA-1 Chinese equivalents of the SA-2) launchers. Also available were some 30 Rapier and 15 Tigercat SAM launchers. There are reports of the transfer of SA-6 launchers to Iran from Russia in 1995/1996. In 1997, the Iranian Air Defense forces declared the Almaz S-200 Angara (SA-5 'Gammon') low-to high-altitude surface-to-air missile (SAM) operational.

In December 2005, Iran entered into a contract to purchase 29 TOR-M1 (SA-15 Gauntlet) mobile surface-to-air missile defense systems from Russia worth more than US$700 million (EUR 600 million). Between 1998 and 2002, Iran imported approximately 6 JY-14 surveillance radars from the China National Electronics Import-Export Corporation. The radar can detect targets up to 300 km away and is now part of Iran's air defense system.[5]

On 1 September 2008, it was reported that Russia may proceed with plans to sell advanced S-300 air defence systems to Iran under a secret contract believed to have been signed in 2005. On 22 September 2010, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree banning the sale of the S-300 and other military equipment to Iran.[6] The sale was canceled because of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929 sanctions on Iran. On 10 November 2010, Iran announced that it had developed a version of the S-300 missile. By the end of 2016 Russia had lifted the self imposed ban on the sale and completed delivery all missiles to Iran.[7]

Iranian land forces have a total of some 1,700 anti-aircraft guns including 14.5mm ZPU-2/-4, 23mm ZSU-23-4, 23mm ZU-23s, 37mm Type 55s, 57mm ZSU-57-2 and 100mm KS-19s. Iran also had 100-180 Bofors L/70 40mm guns and modest numbers of Skygaurd 35mm twin anti-aircraft guns. Its largest holding consisted of ZU-23s(which it can manufacture).[8]

Recently Iran has built several new anti-aircraft guns including Samavat 35mm Anti-Aircraft Guns, Sa'ir 100mm Anti-Aircraft Guns (Upgraded automatic version of KS-19) and the Mesbah 1 air defense system.[9][10][11][12]

On 21 August 2012, the Iranian military started construction of its largest air defense base in the city of Abadeh in the Southern Fars Province. The air defense base is due to be built at the cost of $300 million and will have 6,000 personnel available for a large array of duties, including educational ones.[13] Days later, the defense ministry also announced plans to develop Bavar 373, a new long-range air-defense system, by March 21, 2013.[14]

Commander of Islamic Republic of Iran Army Air Defense Base[edit]

Commander-in-Chief Took office Left office Time in office
Ahmad Meyghani
Meyghani, AhmadBrigadier General
Ahmad Meyghani
(born 1957)
31 August 200816 January 20112 years
Farzad Esmaili
Esmaili, FarzadBrigadier General
Farzad Esmaili
(born 15 January 1972)
16 January 201129 May 20187 years
Alireza Sabahifard
Sabahifard, AlirezaBrigadier General
Alireza Sabahifard
(born 21 March 1963)
29 May 2018Incumbent146 days


Air-defence artillery systems[edit]

Model Type Quantity Notes
ZPU-4 Anti-air artillery +
ZU-23 Anti-air artillery +
Oerlikon 35 mm/Samavat Anti-air artillery 100+
KS-19/Sa'ir 100mm Anti-Aircraft Guns Anti-air artillery +
Mesbah 1 Close-in weapon system +
ZSU-23-4 Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon 100+
ZSU-57-2 Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon + Domestic "Bahman" based on 6x6 truck chassis.[15]

Air-defence missile systems[edit]

Model Type Quantity Acquired Notes
MIM-23 Hawk Surface-to-air missile 150 1970s-present Locally manufactured improved version of the original 1960s US Hawk system. The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force had recently revealed its own version of the MIM-23 Hawk the Shahin which is under production. In 2010 Iran announced that it will be mass-producing its next generation of air defense system called Mersad which would integrate with the Shahin missile.[16]
SM-1 Surface-to-air missile + Locally manufactured copy of a c.1970s variant
Shahab Saqeb Surface-to-air missile + 2002–present copy of the Chinese HQ-7 (FM-90) system. This Project was First Joint Winner-Applied Research in 14th Khwarizmi International Award- 2001;Tehran-Iran -The Project Title:Production of Low Range Ground to Air Missile;Shahab Saqeb - Initiator:Iran Aerospace Ind. Org.& Contributor:D.I.O)[17]
SA-2 Dvina/Sayyad-1 Surface-to-air missile 24 Up to 45 Launchers, HQ-2J and indigenous-produced Sayyad-1. Upgraded copy of HQ-2, Sayyad-1A has IR tracking. This Project was First Joint Winner-Applied Research in 14th Khwarizmi International Award- 2001;Tehran-Iran -The Project Title:Manufacture of Sayyad-1 Missile -Initiator: Iran Aerospace Ind. Org. Contributor:HESA & Arak Machine Ind.[17]

Iran has about 4 sites of Sayyad-1 and HQ-2 which each sites has 6 launchers make it 24

Ghareh Surface-to-air missile 10 upgraded copy of SA-5 Gammon with 250 km range. Iran has five battalions and each battalion is composed of six launchers and one fire control radar.
SA-6 Gainful Surface-to-air missile 8 1995–present Reports of eight SA-6 systems transferred to Iran from Russia in 1995/1996.
SA-5 Gammon Surface-to-air missile 30 Locally upgraded and improved[18][19] Iran has about 6 sites of S-200 with each sites 6 launchers and have about 200 missiles[20]
Rapier missile Surface-to-air missile 30 1971–present 45 towed systems with Blindfire radar delivered before 1979. 72 self-propelled systems and local production of 1,000 missiles cancelled 1979
Tigercat Surface-to-air missile 15
SA-22 Greyhound (Pantsyr S1) Surface-to-air missile 10 2008–present [21][22]
Tor missile system Surface-to-air missile 29 2005–present [23]
S-300 Surface-to-air missile 8 2016 Iran possess latest S-300 version S-300PMU2 obtained from Russia 4 were received, and also 4 S-300PT from Belarus.Russia has completed the delivery of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran, RIA news agency quoted Russia's state arms export agency as saying on Thursday Oct 15 2016. Iran announced that it had a "domestically made" system with the same capabilities as the S-300.[24] In 2016 Russia completed delivery all missiles to Iran.[7]
Mersad Air Defense System + 2010 Iranian designed Air Defense system using Shahin missiles.
Raad Air Defense System 8 2012 Iranian air defense system based on Russian Buk.Iran has about 2 sites of it's, each sites has 4 system [25]
Ya Zahra Air Defense System + 2013 Mass production began in January 2013.[26]
Herz-9 Air Defense System 42+ estimated 2013 Mass production began in May 2013.[27]
Talaash Air Defense System 12 2010 Mass production began in November 2013.[28] Iran has about 3 sites of Talaash including Sayyad 2 missile[29]
Bavar-373 Air Defense System 4+ 2014 An Iranian long range air defence system whose development began after the Russian refusal to supply the S-300(since 2010 to 2015). According to Iranian defence minister Hassan Dehghan in an interview, Bavar-373 is a completely indigenous system.[30]

Man-portable air-defense systems[edit]

Model Type Quantity
Misagh-1 Man-portable air-defense systems +
Misagh-2 Man-portable air-defense systems +
Qaem Man-portable air-defense systems +
RBS-70 Man-portable air-defense systems 50
SA-7 Grail Man-portable air-defense systems +
SA-14 Gremlin Man-portable air-defense systems +
SA-16 Gimlet Man-portable air-defense systems 700[31]
SA-18 Grouse Man-portable air-defense systems +

Radar systems[edit]


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