The Bavar-373 is a long-range mobile air defense system which was unveiled in August 2016. Bavar means "belief" and 373 is the Abjad number of prophet Muhammad's name. Iran is said to have launched the project in 2010 after Russia suspended a $900 million deal signed in 2007 to deliver the S-300 complex. The agreement was put on hold after the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1929 that banned the sale of weapons to Tehran.
Dmitry Korneev, the founder of the Military Russia website, suggested that the Bavar-373 was launched much earlier. "The Soviet Union spent approximately a decade to create the S-300. These are rough estimates. Iran's research and development capabilities do not allow creating anything like this from scratch," he told RT 12 March 2017. "Most likely Iran received access to the S-300 technologies through Syria or China, both operators of our missile defense system. In addition, a complex resembling the S-300 has been in service with Pyongyang."
A senior Iranian military commander said on 16 October 2011 that the Bavar-373 (meaning 'Belief') system is more advanced than the Russian S-300 in terms of defense against aircraft and cruise missiles. Executive Deputy Head of Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base Gen. Shahrokh Shahram told IRNA that when we were talking about purchasing the S-300 anti-aircraft missile defense system it was necessary to counter the threats of that time. He said that the S-300 systems cannot meet Iran's present defense demands since threats have changed radically from just a few years ago. Gen. Shahram said a decision to produce domestically-developed Barvar-373 systems was made after Russia's refusal to sell S-300 systems to Iran.
Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, Iran's defense minister announced that the country needed to build a missile system like the S-300, and that a similar weapons has been placed on the agenda. Vahidi described this new missile system, telling reporters that all the parts will be produced inside Iran, with "three local radar and missile systems with a range of over 40 km and 30 km altitude with power high maneuverability and fully indigenous". Iran military parade units on 29 April 2010 included the first of a new missile system, which is very similar to the Russian S-300.
Under a contract signed in 2007, Russia was obliged to provide Iran with at least five S-300 defense systems. However, Moscow refused to deliver the system to Iran under the pretext that it is covered by the fourth round of the United Nations Security Council sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear energy program. Over the past years, Iran has attained self-sufficiency in producing important military equipment and systems. The Islamic Republic has repeatedly assured its neighbors that its military might poses no threat to other countries, insisting that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence.
In August 2011, Iran's ambassador to Russia said Tehran has filed a lawsuit against Russia at the International Court of Justice over Moscow's refusal to ship the air defense systems. “Legally, we believe the shipment of S-300 system is not subject to the UN Security Council resolution so we have filed our lawsuit, hoping the International Court ruling would help Russia carry out the supplies,” Seyyed Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi said.
On 30 September 2011, Commander of the Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili said that the Bavar-373 missile defense system uses two or three types of missiles to confront aerial targets in different layers. He stressed that the Iranian Defense Ministry has been actively pursuing the legal case over Russia's delivery of S-300 systems to Iran. The Iranian commander said the Bavar-373 surface-to-air missile system is more advanced than the Russian S-300 missile defense system.
A senior official of Iran Army said 28 April 2013 the country will unveil an indigenous Bavar-373 missile defense system, which is similar to the Russian S-300, during the next Iranian calendar year which begins March 21, 2014. “Although because of US stonewalling efforts, Iran failed to purchase the S-300 system [from Russia], this system is being developed in the country and will be officially unveiled [in the next Persian calendar year],” deputy commander of Iran Army for self-sufficiency and research, Rear Admiral Farhad Amiri said. The official said the manufacturing of the Iranian S-300 system is underway and its subsystems have been already tested, adding that Bavar-373 missile system is projected to be unveiled in 2014.
Iran would launch an advanced air- defense system in the next two years, a senior Iranian commander announced on 15 February 2014. Infrastructures had been solved over bottleneck problems for the development of the missile shield, Bavar (Belief) 373, said Commander of Iran's Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili. He added that development and construction of the defense system would be completed by the end of Iran's Fifth Five-Year Development Plan (2010-2015). "We hope to witness a very good system with higher capabilities than the (Russian-developed) S-300 in our air defense system by the end of the development plan," Esmaili was quoted as saying by semi-official Fars news agency. "The indigenized system will be more powerful than S-300 missile system," he said without elaboration.
Tehran showcased an indigenous long-range air defense system, the Bavar-373 missile, developed as an alternative to the Russian S-300 after Moscow canceled its contract. "Bavar-373 has fired a first successful shot," the commander of the Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base, Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli, told Iranian state TV on 29 August 2014. According to Iranian security officials, the new system is better than the Russian S-300, as it is able to track over 100 targets, just like the Russian system but with a higher targeting capability. "We believe that 'Bavar' and '3rd of Khordad' missile shields are better than some other long-range missile defense systems of the country," ol-Anbia added, Fars news reported. Iran also unveiled plans to increase the number of air defense sites from the current 3,600 to 5,000, according to Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered the development of the missile system, after then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev banned armed sales to the country in light of UN sanctions against Tehran. Following the move, Iran filed a $4 billion lawsuit against Russia in the international arbitration court in Geneva.
Bavar-373 is similar to the Russian S-300 and is capable of hitting targets at a high altitude. The new system uses a phased array radar like Russian 96L6 radar for tracking aerodynamic targets and ballistic missiles in medium to long ranges, mounted on the ZAFAR heavy truck.
In May 2015, Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan announced that Iran had completed development of the domestically-produced Bavar-373 air defense system, with mass production expected to be launched later in 2016. Hassan Rouhani also observed the latest achievements and developments in air defense technology, including fighter and transport aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The president was also briefed on the progress in the designing and manufacturing of the first national Turbojet engine.
Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said the country is not going to purchase the Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system, though Moscow has offered to sell it to Tehran. During his press conference in Tehran, the defense minister confirmed that Russia has offered Iran "S-400 and some other systems," but Tehran currently had no plans to order them.
During the unveiling ceremony of Bavar-373 air defense system, Tehran, Iran, August 22, 2019, President Hassan Rouhani described the domestically-built Bavar-373 surface-to-air missile defence system as the armed forces’ big gift to the Iranian nation, stressing, “This defence system is more powerful than the S-300, and close to S-400”.
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