Iran could develop and test an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States by 2015, a new U.S. intelligence report released and declassified for publication on Friday has determined.
The report, the Foreign Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat Assessment, was prepared by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center with significant contributions from the Defense Intelligence Agency Missile and Space Intelligence Center and the Office of Naval Intelligence. The report's authors could not determine how many ICBM's the Iranians currently possess.
The report states that since 2008, Iran has conducted multiple successful launches of the two-stage Safir space launch vehicle and has also revealed the larger two-stage Simorgh SLV, which could serve as a test bed for developing ICBM technologies. Since 2010, Iran has revealed the Qiam-1 SRBM, the fourth generation Fateh-110 SRBM, and claims to be mass-producing anti-ship ballistic missiles. Iran has modified its Shahab 3 medium-range ballistic missile to extend its range and effectiveness and also claims to have deployed the two-stage, solid-propellant Sejjil MRBM.
U.S. intelligence says that Iran has ambitious ballistic missile and space launch development programs and continues to attempt to increase the range, lethality, and accuracy of its ballistic missile force. Iranian ballistic missile forces continue to train extensively in highly publicized exercises. These exercises enable Iranian ballistic missile forces to hone wartime operational skills and evolve new tactics. Iran is fielding increased numbers of theater ballistic missiles, improving its existing inventory, and is developing the technical capability to produce an ICBM.
Iran has an extensive missile development program, and has received support from entities in Russia, China, and North Korea. The Iranian Shahab 3 MRBM is based on the North Korean No Dong missile. Iran has modified the Shahab 3 to extend its range and effectiveness, with the longest range variant reportedly being able to reach targets at a distance of about 2,000 kilometers. Iran also claims to have mass-produced Shahab 3 missiles. Iranian solid-propellant rocket and missile programs are also progressing. Iran has conducted multiple launches of the Sejjil, a solid-propellant MRBM with a claimed range of 2,000 kilometers. In addition, Iran has conducted multiple launches of the Safir, a multistage SLV that can serve as a test bed for long-range ballistic missile technologies.
The report states that recent conflicts have highlighted missile defense capabilities and provided the incentive for continued missile defense development, in turn, motivating ballistic missile developers to pursue missile defense countermeasures. Some missile developers have already begun to develop countermeasures such as maneuvering rockets, and are expected to continue countermeasure development. "Current trends indicate adversary ballistic missile systems are becoming more mobile, survivable, reliable, and accurate while also achieving longer ranges. The availability of weapons of mass destruction for use on ballistic missiles vastly increases the significance of this threat," the report states.