Iran has developed a hypersonic missile capable of penetrating all defense systems, General Amirali Hajizadeh, commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s air unit, said on Thursday. Hypersonic missiles, like traditional ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear weapons, can fly five times faster than the speed of sound.
“This hypersonic ballistic missile is built to counter air defense shields,” Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by Iran’s Fars news agency.
“It will be able to penetrate all missile defense systems,” the general said, adding that he believed it would be decades before there was a robust system to counter the missile.
The announcement comes days after Iran admitted sending drones to Russia, but denied doing so since Russia invaded. The Washington Post reported on October 16 that Iran was preparing to send missiles to Russia, but Tehran dismissed the report as “completely false”.
Unlike ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles fly on a trajectory low in the atmosphere, potentially reaching targets faster.
North Korea’s hypersonic missile test last year raised concerns about a race to buy the technology. Russia leads the race to build missiles, followed by China and the United Kingdom.
A hypersonic missile is maneuverable, making it more difficult to track and defend against.
While countries like the United States have developed systems designed to defend against cruise and ballistic missiles, whether they have the ability to track and shoot down a hypersonic missile remains in question.