The US Navy has recently discovered a new type of antiaircraft missile developed by Iran after seizing two shipments in the Arabian Sea.
The previously undocumented type of missile found is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) capable of loitering in an area searching for a target.
A military official familiar with the weapons described them as cruise missiles that are designed to avoid US defensive measures and that can pose a threat to military helicopters, as well as the tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey.
The missiles consist of three parts: two motors and a warhead. The weapon can reportedly be assembled after shipment and fired from a crude launcher on the ground. Once the missile is fired a solid-fuel boost motor falls away and a cruise motor takes over; at that point, the weapon flies in a figure-eight pattern and looks for targets, according to the NY Time.
Loitering weapons such as the 358 are uncommon. For instance, Israel has previously deployed a loitering missile called the Harpy, which homes in on enemy electronic transmissions. Also, several defence companies are marketing small, propeller-driven “suicide drones” such as the Switchblade for use by US Special Operations forces.
Iran has vowed to retaliate after its most powerful figure among forces aligned with Iran throughout the Middle East was killed by a U.S. drone strike at Baghdad airport. But, how strong is Iran’s defence system?
The targeted killing of Soleimani dramatically increased tensions in the region and caused U.S. outposts and personnel to brace for retaliatory attacks (read more)