Iran unveiled its first-ever hypersonic missile, Fattah ("Conqueror"), which allegedly can penetrate missile defense systems. President Ebrahim Raisi and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) senior commanders attended an unveiling ceremony.
Iran maintained that the missile could move at a speed of up to Mach 15, has a range of 1,400km, features a steerable secondary nozzle, and employs features solid propellants for high maneuverability. Iran apparently introduced a solid rocket motor with a steerable nozzle into its FATTAH hypersonic missile's Reentry Vehicle (RV). The Fattah's range could reach most Arab countries to the south and west, but not Israel.
The national television has claimed that missiles can target the enemy's advanced anti-missile systems and termed it a "big generational leap in the field of missiles…It can bypass the most advanced anti-ballistic missile systems of the United States and the Zionist regime, including Israel's Iron Dome…Any other missile cannot destroy the Fattah because it moves in different directions and at different altitudes."
The assertion validity is based on the RV's maneuverability level. Ballistic missiles typically follow a predictable trajectory, enabling anti-missile systems like the Patriot and Israel's high‐altitude Arrow 3 interceptor to anticipate their course and engage in an interception. However, the recent occurrence unveiled the presence of a steerable nozzle on the Fattah missile, suggesting its potential capability to alter its flight path during operation. Increased unpredictability in the missile's trajectory presents a more significant challenge for interception efforts.
Moreover, Hypersonic weapons, characterized by velocities surpassing Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound), present significant obstacles to missile defense systems due to their exceptional speed and maneuvering capabilities. As stated by Iran, the Fattah missile is purportedly capable of achieving Mach 15, equivalent to fifteen times the speed of sound.
During the ceremony, Iran's President Raisi said, "Today we feel that the deterrent power has been formed," contributing to the region's security. "Some may ask, 'What is the purpose of manufacturing missiles?' They are for deterrence, defense…We build missiles so that we do not suffer from foreign aggression by the enemies and have the power that the enemies would not even think of an act of aggression against the Islamic Republic." 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."
Iran already has a sophisticated arsenal of short- and medium-range missiles, including the Khorramshahr-4 (Khaybar), which has a range of at least 2,000 kilometers and could hit Israel. Other missiles—including the Shahab-3, Emad, and Ghadr missiles—also range about 2,000 kilometers.
The Khorramshahr-4 ballistic missile was unveiled on May 25. According to IRGC-affiliated Fars News, the missile significantly improves its reentry vehicle (RV)), providing a major advantage. The RV's mid-course guidance system renders it impervious to electronic warfare countermeasures. The RV of the missile features thrusters positioned at its base, allowing for course corrections after separation from the rocket motor. These thrusters induce a stabilizing spin during reentry, while the guidance system is deactivated to prevent disruption from electronic warfare tactics.
Fars News also disclosed that the guidance system and structure of the Khorramshahr-4's RV weigh approximately 600 kg, leaving about 900 kg for the explosive payload. The missile's reported range of 2,000 km, coupled with a 1,500 kg warhead, suggests that the remaining weight can be allocated for the payload. Furthermore, it was revealed that the RV of the Khorramshahr-4 achieves a speed of around Mach 8 when reaching its target, granting it the capability to evade enemy air defenses effectively.
Iran has exploited the Khorramshahr's enhanced propulsion system to equip its RV with an innovative mid-course guidance system. This advancement aims to enable the missile to penetrate Israel's robust air defense systems and accurately strike targets with a substantial payload.
The unveiling of the supersonic missile took place at the same time that Iran reopened its embassy in Riyadh. In doing so, Iran signaled that alongside the diplomatic layer in its national security strategy, it is not giving up on developing its missile capability to add another vital layer to its defense doctrine and missile force projection.
Iran is actively pursuing strategies to breach Israel's air defense systems as part of its strategic approach to deter Israel. In this regard, Iran is gathering intelligence from Israel's engagements with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, during which the Iron Dome interceptor system is frequently employed.