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April 5, 2006
What's Next? Stealth Tanks?

It appears that imagination has run wild in the Iranian mullahcracy the past couple of weeks. The Iranians have announced successful tests, unverified by outside sources, of a stealth MIRV platform and a sonar-evading underwater missile that travels so fast that the cavitation alone would make it easily identified. Now Teheran announced that they have also successfully tested a stealth 'flying boat', which they insist cannot be detected by radar:

Iran said Tuesday it had tested what it called a "super-modern flying boat" capable of evading radar. State TV showed a brief clip of the boat's launch.

"Due to its advanced design, no radar at sea or in the air can detect it. It can lift out of the water," the television said. It said the boat was "all Iranian-made and can launch missiles with precise targeting while moving."

On Monday Iran said it tested a second new radar-avoiding missile during war games in the Persian Gulf that the military says are aimed at preparing the country's defenses against the United States.

The new surface-to-sea missile is equipped with remote-control and searching systems, the state-run television reported Tuesday.

The number of "stealth" weapons programs getting tests in the past fortnight is truly remarkable. Either Iran has the most advanced R&D infrastructure in the history of warfare, or they have the best writers this side of The West Wing. At least this time they took pictures of the test, and from this we can see that they do have a sea-launched airplane. Anything flying that low to the surface will not easily be detected by radar regardless of its composition, but fortunately for us we have other means to watch for that kind of launch -- satellites, spy planes, AWACs, drones, and so on.

The Iranians seem intent on frightening someone, and the kind of weapons systems it claims do not appear to be designed to impress dissidents at home, who could care less about whether the mullah's missiles and planes evade radar. They want to establish a deterrent to the military force that will come if they do not abandon their nuclear-weapons program. However, even if these programs didn't appear to have escaped from Tom Clancy's reject bucket, one has to remember that even the best weaponry only performs as well as the people in charge of them -- and these mullahs are the same ones who mismanaged an eight-year war against Saddam Hussein into a bloody stalemate, boosting Saddam's profile for a short period until we wiped him out in six weeks in 1991.

So they can claim all the weapons systems they want, but until they claim possession of a nuclear device, they're not fooling anyone. They will find the US determined to prevent that day from coming.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 5, 2006 4:32 AM

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