On 18 June Iran test-fired two new cruise missiles in the Gulf of Oman, in the northern Indian Ocean, according to Iranian state media sources. The test was performed during an Iranian Naval Exercise.
The exercise was conducted by the “Martyrs of the Sea of Ramadan” during the morning hours of 18 June. The cruise missiles were fired from shore and from aboard an Iranian naval vessel. They successfully destroyed the intended targets 280 kilometers away, surpassing previous records set by the long-range cruise missiles.
Admiral Amir Habibollah Sayari stated that “the firing of cruise missiles was a promising step in improving defense and deterrence.” Furthermore, he stated that the successful firing of long-range missiles was a sign of “progress in increasing the armed forces and defense industry.”
Iranian Navy Chief, Hossein Khanzadi, stated that the missiles are capable of hitting targets with a high degree of accuracy at a close distance and that they were capable of resisting “any kind of electronic war.”
According to Khanzadi, the missiles themselves carry all the necessary homing data transferred to it once the missile is fired so that it is in essence a “fire and forget” weapon system.
This has been the first missile drill conducted by the Iranian Navy since May when they previously fired a missile and it inadvertently struck another Iranian Naval vessel instead of its intended target. The incident killed 19 sailors and injured 15 others as a result.
This test also comes on the heels of a recent naval encounter between the United States Navy and the Iranian Navy in the Arabian Gulf. During the encounter, the United States claimed that Iran was conducting “dangerous and harassing” maneuvers near American warships. The Iranian navy was also briefly suspected of seizing a Hong Kong oil tanker.
Iran will likely continue to conduct Naval Exercises in the Gulf of Oman. Whether or not this poses a significant risk to the high rate of oil tankers passing through the area remains to be seen.