Air Weapons: Iran Hides Behind China


March 12, 2014: Iran recently announced that it has equipped some of its helicopters with the Nasr 1 and Qader anti-ship missiles. Iran described both as Iranian made cruise missiles. In reality Nasr 1 is the Chinese C-704 anti-ship missile that is built under license in Iran. Qader is a variant on the Chinese C802A that Iran produces as the license built Noor.

The C-802A entered service in 1989 and is a 6.8m (21 foot) long, 360mm diameter, 682kg (1,500 pound) missile, with a 165kg (360 pound) warhead. Qader is the Noor with a smaller warhead that extends the range to 200 kilometers. It is common for Iran to claim, or at least imply, that license-built weapons are actually developed and built in Iran.

The C-704 entered service in 2006. This missile appears to be a half sized version of the U.S. Harpoon, but it is actually based on a Chinese copy of the 300 kg Maverick missile (the C-701), but made larger. China helped Iran set up a plant to assemble the C-704s in Iran, under license as the Nasr 1. The C-704 is a 400 kg (880 pound) missile with a 130 kg (286 pound) warhead and a range of 35 kilometers. It has a radar guidance system to guide it to the target, assuming it has been fired to the general area where the target is. This is a cruise missile, moving at 800 kilometers an hour, at an altitude of 15-20 meters (46-61 feet).

Back in March 2011 Israel intercepted a cargo ship off their coast on March 15th, and found six Chinese C-704 anti-ship missiles. The seized missiles were apparently Iranian built C-704s. The ship had been hired by Iran to take a cargo of weapons to Egypt where the weapons would be smuggled into Gaza for Iranian ally Hamas to use against Israel.



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