Facts

Designation Zolfaghar
Missile Variants Fateh-110 family
Mobility and Role Road-mobile/Short-Range Ballistic Missile
Designer/Producer Islamic Republic of Iran
Range 700km
Warhead Type and Weight Cluster/Unknown
MIRV and Yield N.A.
Guidance System/Accuracy Inertial, GPS/100m CEP “est”
Stages/Propellant Single/Solid
IOC/Retirement 2016/N.A.
Status/Number of Units Testing/Unknown

Overview

The Zolfaghar (alternately spelled Zulfiqar) short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) is a variant of the Fateh-110 SRBM family. Developed as a part of a larger campaign to “improve the range and accuracy of current missile systems,”[i] the solid-fueled Zolfaghar is reported to have a range of 700km and possess a cluster munition warhead.[ii] Some Iranian press reports have claimed the Zolfaghar is accurate within 10 meters and equipped with multiple independent reentry vehicles (MIRV), but this information has not been verified.[iii]

Strategic Implications

Despite that fact that the Zolfaghar SRBM first appeared during a parade in September 2016 aboard a vehicle decorated with a banner displaying an anti-Israeli message,[iv] the Israel sits well outside of the missile’s 700 kilometer range.[v] Rather, the Zolfaghar poses a threat to its more immediate neighbors.[vi] In June 2017, Iran fired six missiles from its western provinces into eastern Syria, targeting Islamic State fighters operating in the country. Tehran claimed the missile strike was in retaliation to Islamic State-claimed terrorist attacks that occurred in Iran earlier in the month. The Zolfaghar’s greater strategic significance, then, is its demonstration of a growing Iranian ballistic missile capability. Whether the Zolfaghar enters mass production remains to be seen.[vii]


Sources

[i] J.D. Syring, Statement Before the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, April 13, 2016, https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Syring_04-13-16.pdf.

[ii] Jeremy Binnie, “Iran Claims Zolfaghar Missile has 700 km Range,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 28 September, 2016, http://www.janes.com/article/64149/iran-claims-zolfaghar-missile-has-700-km-range.

[iii] Behnam Ben Taleblu, “Assessing the Latest Iranian Ballistic Missile: The Zulfiqar,” Qualitative Military Edge, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, September 29, 2016, http://militaryedge.org/analysis-articles/assessing-latest-iranian-ballistic-missile-zulfiqar/.

[iv] Associated Press, “Iran ‘Determined to Boost Military After U.S.-Israel Deal,” Real Clear Defense, September 21, 2016, http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2016/09/21/iran_determined_to_boost_military_after_us-israel_deal_110100.html.

[v] Michael Rubin, “Iran Launches New Zulfiqar Ballistic Missile,” American Enterprise Institute, November 16, 2016, https://www.aei.org/publication/iran-launches-new-zulfiqar-ballistic-missile/.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Taleblu,” Assess the Latest Iranian Ballistic Missile.”

Missile Threat and Proliferation

Contact

International Cooperation