Iranian rocket test has 'little military significance'

 作者:蒙珩     |      日期:2019-03-01 01:17:02
By Will Knight and Reuters Iran has launched a rocket capable of reaching the edge of space, according to a state television report on Sunday. “Iran successfully launched its first space missile made by Iranian scientists,” the head of Iran’s aerospace research centre, Mohsen Bahrami, was quoted as saying. Bahrami said the rocket was built by his centre with the cooperation of the Defence and Science Ministries, but gave no further details. According to other reports, the missile could rise to an altitude of 150 kilometres but would not be placed in orbit. The date of the launch has not been revealed. But the announcement will be watched closely by the West since the same technology could ultimately contribute to the development intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). One UK missile expert, however, says the test has “very little military significance”. Doug Richardson, editor of the defence industry publication Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, told New Scientist that the rocket would have a horizontal range of roughly 300 kilometres (185 miles), or 200 km (125 miles) with a heavy warhead – about the same as a Scud missile. “The performance is similar to that of existing solid-propellant Iranian tactical missiles,” Richardson adds. “It’s no big breakthrough.” On Saturday, the Iranian defence minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said that Iran was planning to develop its own satellite and launch technology. He was quoted in the daily newspaper Etemad-e Melli: “Building a satellite and satellite launcher, as well as (previously) launching the first Iranian satellite called Sina with Russian cooperation, and becoming a member of the space club, are part of the Defence Ministry’s plans.” Iran launched its first satellite, Sina-1, into orbit aboard a Russian-built rocket in 2005. Officials have repeatedly said that one of Iran’s ballistic missiles – called Shahab-3 and with a range of about 2000 km (1250 miles) – could perhaps be modified to launch satellites into space (see Iran poised to enter the space race). Despite it simplicity, this latest launch may add to growing tension between the US and Iran over the country’s nuclear ambitions. Iran insists it is entitled to nuclear power to generate electricity and wants to negotiate with Europe and the US without giving up its right to enrich uranium. But some Western officials suspect that the Iranian government in Tehran is trying to build an atomic arsenal. They infer ill intent from Iran through its unwillingness to cooperate with UN inspectors, and for keeping its nuclear programme secret for 18 years. On Sunday, President Mahamoud Ahmadinejad gave a defiant speech insisting the country’s nuclear programme had “no brake and no reverse gear”. At a meeting in London on Monday, Western leaders will consider tightening UN sanctions after Iran failed to meet a UN deadline for halting uranium enrichment. Meanwhile, the New Yorker magazine reports that a US Pentagon panel has been created to plan a bombing attack on Iran. An attack could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from President George W Bush, according to the article. The special planning group was established within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent months,