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Iranian Cruise Missiles

System Source Type Launch
C701PRC AS A/G/S1829
["Divine Support"]
C704 / TL-6 / JJ-6PRC AS A/G/S 27-35130
HY-2 / C-201
AS G/S 95 513
PRC AS A/G/S 150 500
PRC AS A/G/S 120155
Qader / Ghader
200 165
HY-2 (Mod)
IR/PRCAS G/S360-450 500
Iran is reported to have a variety of other cruise missiles,
which do not appear in Iranian reporting on Iranian military activities.
YJ-1/C-801 / SARDINE PRC AS A/G/S 40 165
--AS-11 Kilter RU LA/AS A 50 130
--AS-9 Kyle RU LA/AS A 90 200
--SS-N-22 SunburnUAAS S 110 500 ??
--RGM-84A HarpoonUSAAS S 120 220
AS: Antiship
LA: Land-Attack
A: Air
G: Ground
S: Sea

China provided vital assistance to Iran in the field of anti-ship cruise missile technology. These weapons do not necessary contribute to Iran's ability to develop a long-range ballistic missiles, but most analysts believe that Iran's experience with cruise missiles contributes to its overall missile technology base of expertise. During the latter stages of the Iran-Iraq war, China provided to Iran a number of Hai Ying-2 (HY-2) "Silkworm" missiles, a derivative of the old Soviet "Styx" anti-ship missile. The maximum effective range of the missile is 25 miles and a minimum effective range of about half that. The cruise missile, which has a shaped-charge warhead ideal for piercing warship armor was well suited to Iran's coastal defense needs during the war, and Iran fired a number of them against U.S. reflagged tankers and other targets in Kuwait during the Iran-Iraq war. China reportedly built a facility near Iran's Bandar Abbas port in 1987 where it helped the Revolutionary Guard boost the range of the Silkworm. China itself was believed to have been able to extend the range of the Silkworm to 125 miles.

Of even more concern to the U.S. Navy than the Silkworm was Iran's acquisition since 1995 of about 100 Chinese-supplied C-802 (surface and ship-launched) and C-801K (air launched) anti-ship cruise missiles. The C series turbo-jet powered anti-ship cruise missiles, first unveiled in 1989, have a maximum range of about 75 miles (C-802) and 25 miles (C-801). Iran tested the C-802 in early 1996, and the C-801K in June 1997, prompting Secretary of Defense Cohen to assert that Iran now poses a "360-degree threat" to U.S. forces in the Gulf. This threat will increase if Iran acquires an over-the-horizon targeting capability for the missile, according to U.S. military officials.

The C series missiles are considered superior to the Silkworm because the C series missiles are capable of engaging a target at closer range (7 miles) than the Silkworm (12 miles). This gives it a big advantage over the Silkworm in a narrow body of water such as the Strait of Hormuz. The C missiles also cruise at a lower altitude than the Silkworm, reducing warning time to the potential adversary. In addition, a C-802 coastal battery can fire 12 missiles before reloading, whereas a Silkworm battery can only fire four missiles in succession. The C-802 can also be steered in flight to a greater degree than can the Silkworm. However, the C series warhead is considered less effective against warships than the Silkworm, although the C series missiles can easily pierce commercial shipping hulls. In advance of the October 1997 U.S.-China summit, the Clinton Administration apparently succeeded in obtaining from China a pledge not to enter into any new contracts with Iran for anti-ship cruise missiles.

Iran plans to increase the range of their land-to-sea missiles, a senior Iranian commander said 06 February 2019. “We did not have coast-to-sea missiles before the [Islamic] Revolution [in Iran] but today, the range of our missiles has increased to 300km and it will increase in the near future,” Iranian Army’s Deputy Commander for Operations R.-Adm. Mahmoud Moussavi was quoted by Iran’s Fars News.

“The army has put the reconstruction of defense capability and equipment on its agenda after the Holy Defense period, and upgraded Iran’s deterrent power by forming a sub-surface unit that is highly strategic and did not exist before the Islamic Revolution, and on the other hand by designing and building different missiles,” Moussavi said. The “maintenance and protection of equipment and facilities is an important military mission of Iran’s Army from the beginning of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, which has been done satisfactorily,” he added.

The longer range of these new cruise missiles enables Iran to greatly expand the deployment area of the launchers. Rather that precariously perching on the coastline, cruise missile TELs can deploy several hundred kilometers from the coastline and still reach targets in the Strait of Hormuz.

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Page last modified: 04-12-2019 12:28:50 ZULU