On June 6, 2023, the Revolutionary Guards unveiled Iran’s first hypersonic missile, which reportedly has a range of 1,400 kilometers (or 870 miles). The medium-range missile can travel at speeds of up to Mach 15—or 15 times the speed of sound. Iran dubbed it the Fattah, Persian for “conqueror.” Iranian state television claimed that the new missile is capable of “bypassing the most advanced anti-ballistic missile systems of the United States and the Zionist regime, including Israel's Iron Dome.”
Brig. Gen. Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Force, claimed that Iran is now one of only four nations with a hypersonic missile. “The missile that was unveiled today is unique in the world,” he said at a glitzy televised presentation of the new weapons system. The Fattah’s range could reach most Arab countries to the south and west, but not Israel. It could also hit deep into Pakistan and Afghanistan to the east. To the north, it could reach countries in the Caucasus.
“Today we feel that the deterrent power has been formed,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told a gathering of military elite. “This power is an anchor of lasting security and peace for the regional countries.” Iran already has a sophisticated arsenal of short- and medium-range missiles, including the Khorramshahr, which has a range of at least 2,000 kilometers (or 1,240 miles) and could hit Israel. Other missiles—including the Shahab-3, Emad and Ghadr missiles—have a range of about 2,000 kilometers. They are derivatives of a single weapon based on a North Korean model.
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A hypersonic weapon is easier to maneuver or adjust in flight compared to a ballistic missile, which makes it harder to shoot down or intercept. Russia and China also have hypersonic missiles, according to the Congressional Research Service. In 2023, Russia fired hypersonic missiles at Ukraine in its first use of the weapon in combat. Several other countries, including the United States and India, have also been trying to develop hypersonic missiles. The following is a selection of photos from the unveiling of the Fattah.