Iran’s media has claimed that the country is one of the world leaders in radar. Brig.-Gen. Ali Hajizadeh of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said that new radar systems installed in Yazd province illustrate the country’s proficiency in this area. “These radars can detect up to a range of 350 km. and depending on the altitude up to 1,000 km.” Iran’s claims of its increased radar abilities is meant as a message to the US and Israel regarding its capabilities. It is also looking to export its abilities to allies in Syria and potentially Iraq and elsewhere.
Iran has combined these radars, at the service of the IRGC Aerospace Force, with those of the Iranian army, overlapping coverage to achieve military excellence in this field, the article argues. “Islamic Iran is definitely among the top ten countries,” Tasnim News says. The country intends to put in place new radar stations at Chabahar and other areas that will be used by the IRGC. The IRGC’s dominance of the radar use in Iran is part of the country’s projection of power and concentration of military technology in the hands of the IRGC. The IRGC also pioneers missiles, drones and other key aspects of the military industrial complex of Iran.
Tal Inbar pointed out on social media that “Iran has put two more 3-dimensional detection Ghadir long-range radar into operation. With approximate range of 1,100 km., the radar can detect targets with low RCS. Number of systems as of today: 8.” Inbar was the head of the UAV research center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies until 2019. He is an independent analyst on missiles, UAVs and space. RCS stands for “radar cross section” and items that may have a low radar cross section could be both stealth-style warplanes or drones and smaller flying objects.
Fars News also described the “advanced” systems in an article on October 6. The article says the first batch of these long-range systems were put in at Garmsar in eastern Tehran in 2014. More were added in Ahvaz in July 2015. This was during the lead up to the Iran Deal and Iran was preparing new technology as it hoped to soon get out from under sanctions and embargoes to rapidly increase the range of its missiles, drones and also satellites, so that it could increase its power and threats in the region. The Fars article says that the IRGC Aerospace Force built the new Ghadir radars. It is suitable for “electronic warfare” as well.
Iran points out that this radar excels at detecting small flying objects at long distances. Clearly that means Iran is saying it can detect drones. This is a warning to countries that might use drones to spy on Iran. Iran has, in the past, said it downed US drones, dating back to the capture of the RQ-170 secretive American drone known as “Sentinel” in 2011. Later, Iran acquired more drones that it said were American, British and from other sources that were brought down in Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere and brought back to Iran for reverse engineering. Iran then shot down the US Global Hawk $200 million drone in 2019.
Iran says its system can track 300 targets at the same time. It can do so at a range of 400 km. and “analyze them completely.” The Iranian radar could also aid Iran’s allies, such as the Houthis in Yemen, the Syrian regime, Iraq, or Hezbollah. This makes it a threat to Israel depending on how Iran uses it.