The Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva reports that deliveries by Russia of dangerous missile systems designed to defend nuclear facilities from Israeli attack are being delivered to Iran. Even some russophiles claimed that Russia would never actually follow through on its deal with Iran to sell these missile systems, given the earth-shaking provocation it would cause as Europe and the U.S. struggle to rein in Iranian nukes. But, of course, Russia has done so. Will these russophiles now apologize and change their tune? We shall see.
According to Israel Aircraft Industries information the TOR-M1 surface-to-air missile system is a mobile, integrated, air defense system, designed for operation at medium-, low- and very low –altitudes, against fixed/rotary wing aircraft, UAVs, guided missiles and precision weapon. IAI reports the deal between Russia and Iran was signed and delivery began this month. The system is capable of operating in an intensive aerial jamming environment. The system is comprised of a number of missiles and a Transporter Launcher Vehicle (TLV). A Russian air defense TOR battalion consists of 3 - 5 companies, each equipped with four TLVs. Each TLV is equipped with 8 ready to launch missiles, associating radars, fire control systems and a battery command post. The combat vehicle can operate autonomously, firing from stationary positions or on the move. Set-up time is rated at 3 minutes and typical reaction time, from target detection to missile launch is 5-8 seconds. Reaction time could range from 3.4 seconds for stationary positions to 10 seconds while on the move. Each fire unit can engage and launch missiles against two separate targets. TOR M1 can detect and track up to 48 targets (minimum radar cross section of 0.1 square meter) at a maximum range of 25 km, and engage two of them simultaneously, at a speed of up to 700 m/sec, and at a distance of 1 to 12 km. The system's high lethality (aircraft kill probability of 0.92-0.95) is maintained at altitude of 10 – 6,000 m. The vertically launched, single-stage solid rocket propelled missile is capable of maneuvering at loads up to 30gs. It is equipped with a 15kg high-explosive fragmentation warhead activated by a proximity fuse. The system is offered as fully integrated tracked combat vehicle, or as a modular combat unit (TOR-M1T) comprising a truck mounted mobile control module and launcher/antenna units, carried on a trailer. Other configurations include separated towed systems, as well as shelter-based systems, for the protection of fixed sites.The missile is also effective against precision guided weapons and cruise missiles. In tests the missile demonstrated kill probability of such targets ranging from 0.6 to 0.9.The first operator of the Tor system was the Russian Army Air-Defense, which operates 100 units of the SA-15 Gauntlet variant. The Russian navy also uses the naval version known as SA-N-9. China bought 50 systems and possibly 25 more, between 1997 and 2002. The Greek army fielded 21 Tor M-1 systems. Most recently (December 2005) Iran was reported to sign a deal worth US$ 1.0 billion covering the procurement of up to 29 TOR M-1 missile systems, modernization of air-force systems and the supply of patrol boats. The system was also proposed to several other countries. THe TOR component of the deal was reported to be US$700 million. Deliveries of the TOR systems began in November 2006 and are expected to continue through 2008.The new defense system would make attempts at an aerial assault against Iran’s nuclear facilities considerably more complicated as the international community sits by – permitting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to move ahead at a brisk pace towards nuclear independence.