Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Force

The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Force (Persian: نیروی پدافند هوایی ارتش جمهوری اسلامی ایران‎) is a branch split from IRIAF that controls Iran's military land-based air defense established in 2008.

Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Base
Seal of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Force.svg
The seal of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Force
Founded1933–1954 (Part of Ground Force)[1]
1954–2008 (Part of Air Force)[1]
2008–Present (As Separate Force)
Country Iran
TypeAir defence
Size15,000 (estimate)[2]
Part ofArtesh
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]
MarchApril 18th
AnniversariesSeptember 1st
CommanderBrigadier General Alireza Sabahifard
FlagFlag of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Force.svg


In the late 1950’s the (then) Imperial (Shah) Iranian Air Force was an important US allied force and a buffer to counter any possible Soviet attack in the unstable middle east region. Radar coverage of the Iranian airspace however was very poor in those days because of a lack in standardization, various former WW2 British and US radar equipment had been used, and because of the rough countryside.

US research learned that automation of the Iranian airdefense conceptually consisted of: 2 hardened command posts (a primary one and its backup) buried in the northern and southern Iran mountains and a radar network spreadout over the country. Raw radardata from nationwide sites would have to be digitally converted and transferred via a national microwave telecommunication system to mainframe computers in the 2 command posts where the information would have been converted into realtime data and furter used in the command & control cyclus.

In support of the (then) Imperial (Shah) Iranian Air Force the US funded an Iranian radar network and from 1962-1977 the USAF Communication Service (AFCS) constructed 19 radar facilities spread out over the country covering almost 70% of the Iranian airspace. In the northern part of Iran this was called the Spellout network and in the southern part the Peace Ruby network. A combined troposcatter communication link (Peace Net) connected both Spellout and Peace Ruby radar systems. The original radar sites are still standing; their technical and operational status after 40+ years however is unknown. [3][4]

Starting in 2002 Iran modernized its air defences with new air surveillance radars, replacing the outdated US systems, SAM's and Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems [5] Iran purchased Russian multiple Russian Rezonas-N over the horizon backscatter radars of the Sepher (Sky) and the Ghadir (Almighty) systems. Together with the mobile deployable Falaq, an Iranian version of the Russian 67N6E Gamma D radar [6] the entire Iranian airspace has been covered [7]

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.[8]

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.[9] 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 of all missiles to Iran.[10]

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 Skyguard 35mm twin anti-aircraft guns. Its largest holding consisted of ZU-23s(which it can manufacture).[11]

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.[12][13][14][15]

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.[16] Days later, the defense ministry also announced plans to develop Bavar 373, a new long-range air-defense system, by March 21, 2013.[17]


No. Picture Name Took office Left office Time in office
1Meyghani, AhmadBrigadier General
Ahmad Meyghani
(born 1957)
31 August 200816 January 20112 years, 138 days
2Esmaili, FarzadBrigadier General
Farzad Esmaili
(born 1972)
16 January 201129 May 20187 years, 133 days
3Sabahifard, AlirezaBrigadier General
Alireza Sabahifard
(born 1963)
29 May 2018Incumbent1 year, 359 days


Air-Defense Artillery SystemsEdit

Model Type Quantity Notes
ZU-23-2 Anti-air Artillery, Towed and Self-Propelled ++++ Self Propelled version based on Safir Jeep
Samavat 35mm Anti Aircraft Guns Anti-air Artillery and CIWS ++++ Opt-Electronics Radar Guided
Sa'ir 100mm Anti-Aircraft Guns Anti-air Artillery +++ Iranian made Smart Opt-Electronics Guided 100mm Anti Aircraft Gun can fire 26 round per minute. It can detect and intercept targets automatically through Opt-Electronics systems at long range and medium altitude.

Sa'ir Anti Aircraft Specification:

Range= 21 km

Altitude= up to 16 km

Mesbah 1 Close-in Weapon System +++
ZSU-23-4 Self-Propelled anti-Aircraft System Weapon ++
ZSU-57-2 Self-Propelled anti-Aircraft System Weapon +++ Domestic "Bahman" based on 6x6 truck chassis.[18]

Air-Defense Missile SystemsEdit

Model Type Quantity Acquired Notes
MIM-23 Hawk Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile 200 Launcher 1970s–present In 1999 Iran locally upgrade their all of old Hawk Missile in Improve Hawk Missile and increase its Range 24-30 km, flight altitude up to 14-16 km and Speed is same as Mach 2.4
Sayyad-1 Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile 400+ Launcher Islamic Republic of Iran first indigenous-produced Sayyad-1 Anti Aircraft Missile which was Upgraded copy of HQ-2, Sayyad-1 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.[19] 2010 The Islamic Republic upgrade all of their Sayyad-1 anti aircraft missile into Sayyad-1A anti aircraft missile. and increase Sayyad-1 missile range 80-100 km from previous 60 km range.

Missile Specification:

Range= 80–100 km

Altitude= 27 km

Speed= Mach 3.6

Warhead= 195 kg

S-200 Fajr-8 and S-200 Ghareh Long Range Strategic Surface-to-Air Missile 400+ Launcher 2011–present 2007 Iran upgraded all of their old S-200 missile name S-200 Fajr-8 increase its range 200-250 km and an Iranian home made version of S-200 missile name is S-200 Ghareh and increase its range 250-350 km. Now S-200 Ghareh Missile used with Talash-3 System and Bavar-373 System. S-200 Ghareh Missile Speed is Mach 6 and maximum flight altitude 40 km, equipped with 200 kg High Explosive Warhead.
2K12 Kub missile system Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile System 50 Launcher 1995–present Reports of eight 2K12 (NATO designation SA-6) systems transferred to Iran from Russia in 1995/1996. Kub-M1 Missile System upgrade with Iranian Raad-1 Anti Aircraft Missile System Project work.

Missile Specification:

Range= 30 km
Altitude= 16 km

Speed= Mach 2.8

Warhead= 59 kg

Rapier Missile Short Range 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, after 2008 Iran locally upgraded all of Rapier Missile System.

Missile Specification:

Length= 2.23 meter

Range= 10 km

Altitude= up to 5000 meter

Speed= Mach 2.5

Warhead= 14 kg

Tor missile system Point Defense Multirole Surface-to-Air Missile 29 2005–present Missile Specification:

Length= 2.9 meter

Range= 16 km

Altitude= 6 km

Speed= Mach 2.8

Warhead= 16 kg

S-300 missile system Long Range Strategic Surface-to-Air Missile System 4 Battery 2011-present Iran collected S-300 missile system from unknown source after the Russian ban on exporting S-300 to Iran.

S-300P Systems Missile Specification:

Missile Type= 48N6 Missile

Range= 150 km

Altitude= up to 27 km

Speed= Mach 6–7.5

Warhead= 150 kg

Bavar-373 System Advanced Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile System 12+ Battery 2019–present 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 Hossain Dehghan in an interview Bavar-373 system is complete[20] .
S-300PMU2 System Long Range Strategic Surface-to-Air Missile System 4 Battery 2016-present Iran possess latest S-300 version S-300PMU2. Obtained 4 batteries from Russia. Russia has completed the delivery of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran, IRIA 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.[21] In 2016 Russia completed delivery all missiles to Iran.[10]

S-300PMU2 Systems Missile Specification:

Missile Type= 48N6E2 Missile

Range= 200 km

Altitude= up to 27 km

Speed= Mach 6–8.5 and Mach 9+ Speed used for counter Ballistic Missile

Warhead= 180 kg

Mersad Medium Range Air Defense System 300+ Launcher 2010–present In 2010 Iran announced that it will be mass-producing its next generation of air defense system called Mersad which based on advanced medium altitude Salamche Missile and next year Shahin Missile.

Missile Specification:

Range= Salamche 40 km & Shahain 45 km

Altitude= up to 20 km

Speed= Mach 3

Raad-1,2 & Khordad-3 Medium Range Advanced Air Defense System 400+ Launcher 2012-present
  1. Raad-1 Anti Aircraft Missile System based on Taer-1 Missile and carrier vehicle name 1ST Khordad TEL.
  2. Radd-2 Anti Aircraft Missile System based on Taer-2 Missile and carrier vehicle name Tabas Truck Launcher, also known as 2ND Khordad TEL.
  3. 3RD Khordad TEL System equipped with Opt-Electronic System and Taer-2 Missile and Sayyad-2C Missile which also known as Khordad-3 Missile System.

Taer-1 Missile Specification:

Range= 50 km

Altitude= 25–27 km

Speed= Mach 3.6

Warhead= 40–50 kg

Taer-2 Missile Specification:

Range= 60 km

Altitude= 30 km

Speed= Mach 4

Warhead= 40–50 kg

Sayyad-2C Missile Specification:

Range= 75 km

Altitude= 30 km

Speed= Mach 4.5+

Warhead= 200 kg

Ya Zahra-3 Low Altitude Air Defense System 200+ 2013–present Mass production began in January 2013.[22]Ya Zahra-3 is improved and 3RD Generation and most powerful Version of previous Ya Zahra Missile Defense System.Ya Zahra-3 has opt-electronics equipment that help to detect and track targets when battlefield is affected by heavy jamming.

Missile Specification:

Range= 16 km

Altitude= 6500 meter

Speed= Mach 2.8

Warhead= 14 kg

Herz-9 CIWS Air Defense System 200+ Launcher 2013–present Mass production began in May 2013.[23] Herz-9 is 3.5+ generation version of Ya Zahra Missile System. Herz-9 Missile System made for very low altitude operations and its missile is very effective than its previous system.Hezr-9 also a CIWS Missile System.

Missile Specification:

Length= 2.2 meter                     

Range= 11 km

Altitude= 5–5000 meters

Speed= Mach 3

Warhead= 14 kg

Sayyad-2 & (Sayyad3) Khordad 15 (air defense system) Long Range Advanced Surfate-to-Air Missile 150+ Launcher 2013–present Mass production began in November 2013.[24] Sayyad-2 Advanced Missile created by Islamic Republic of Iran is the unique new addition of the World's Anti Aircraft Missile World. Sayyad-2 Missile used on missile control RADAR system named Talash-2. Talash-2 system range is 150 km and altitude 30 km

Missile Specification:

Range= 100–120 km

Altitude= 27 km

Speed= Mach 3.6–4

Wahead= 200 kg

Sayyad-3 is a similar missile but stronger then Sayyad-2 Missile. It has similar diameter as Sayyad-2 but longer body with different wings and control surfaces. Sayyad-3 Missile real range is 150 km but this range has been restricted on 120 km because used with Sayyad-2 missile in same Launcher Box and Talash-2 System. Now Sayyad-3 missile are used with Talash-3 system too. Sayyad-3 Missile mass production began July 2017. Sayyad 3 on Khordad 15 (air defense system) is capable of detecting, intercepting, and destroying six targets simultaneously. The system is capable of detecting Fighter aircraft, Cruise missile and Unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) from 150 kilometres (93 mi) away and is able to track them within a range of 120 kilometres (75 mi) and the Sayyad-3 missile, used by the SAM system, has a range of 200 kilometres (120 mi).The system can also detect stealth targets from a distance of 85 kilometres (53 mi) and can intercept and destroy them within a range of 45 kilometres (28 mi).[25][26][27]

Missile Specification:

Range= 120–150 km

Altitude= 27–30 km

Speed= Mach 4.5–5.1


Kamin-2 Low Altitude Medium Range Air Defense System + 2018-present Kamin-2 system is the upgraded version of a missile known as Mersad and range is 60 km. Kamin-2 missile specially designed for low flying objects that targets cruise missile, helicopter, aircraft and drone at low altitude level.

Man-Portable Air-Defense SystemsEdit

Model Type Quantity
Misagh-1 Man-Portable Air-Defense System +++
Misagh-2 Man-Portable Air-Defense System ++++
Soheil Self-Propelled Quadruped Misagh-1,2 Missile based on Safir Jeep +++
Misagh-3 Man-Portable Air-Defense System +++
Qaem Anti Helicopter Missile System +


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