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    In front of the portraits of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, and the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, left, a missile is displayed by Iran's army during a parade marking National Army Day at the mausoleum of Khomeini, just outside Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

    What’s That? Unidentified Iranian Smart Missile Surprises Observers

    © AP Photo / Ebrahim Noroozi
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    A cruise missile spotted in Iran’s Army Day Parade Wednesday has Western observers baffled. The missile is meant to be deployed only from the air and is “electro-optically guided,” according to a sign written on it in Farsi. Beyond that, specialists are grasping at straws to determine the full nature of the new Iranian weapon.

    The unidentified missiles have rarely reached the public eye, though one may have been spotted in 2014. The missiles tout trapezoidal grid fins — a fixture in American missile-making — and an infrared homing device at its tip that looks for heat signatures to target. Its electro-optical guidance system apparent can still be given targets when up to 62 miles from the aircraft that launched it, according to the sign in Farsi. 

    If it is an electro-optically-guided missile, it may be similar to Israel's Delilah "loitering munition," which doesn't have to have a target selected before it's fired, but can find one or be assigned one by a remote weapons systems officer onboard the firing aircraft in mid-flight and is guided by infrared imaging and television, according to the IAF.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani emphasized that the weapons on display at the Army Day Parade were not meant for their Arab neighbors. "Our weapons are not against you, it's for deterrence," he said at the rally Wednesday. "We are not living in a normal region, and we see invading powers have built bases around us. Disregarding the principles of international law, they intervene in regional affairs and invade other countries without UN permission."

    The president assured his people the country would "produce or acquire any weapons we need," regardless of whether there's international approval for it. The EU is currently debating French-German-British proposed sanctions on the country over its ballistic missile activity.

    Missiles are on display during a parade marking National Army Day at the mausoleum of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, just outside Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, April 18, 2018.
    © AP Photo / Ebrahim Noroozi
    Missiles are on display during a parade marking National Army Day at the mausoleum of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, just outside Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

    Also on display at the parade were Iranian fighter jets and bombers, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard unveiled its new missile defense system, the "Kamin-2." The system is designed to confront surveillance and armed drones as well as low-flying planes.

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    Tags:
    anti-Iranian sanctions, ballistic missile, military parade, Iran, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Iran
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