Iranian Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

Khalij e Fars

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Footage of a successful test of the 1.5m diameter solid fuel motor with 74,000kgf thrust (shown below, and currently used as the first stage of Zoljanah SLV) was from December 2015, more than five years ago.

: Iran is much further ahead in development of large solid fuel motors than is currently known. Iran already announced that upgrades to this motor will: increase thrust to 100,000kgf, increase specific impulse, use lighter casings and will use flexible nozzle technology (currently used in the smaller state-of-the-art Salman solid fuel motor).

And yes, the below motor can already be used to power a large solid-fuel ICBM (even without the upgrades to thrust and specific impulse, and also ignoring the other more powerful solid fuel engines that have also already been tested, but not yet revealed to the public).



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I had been suspecting something like this would happen since I heard about the Sejil. That's when I figured out the Iranian missile program had gone its own very separate path from North Korea's missile program unlike what was commonly said back then.

Iran is much more focused on solid rockets. The problem Iran has is their missiles already have enough range to hit all their regional opponents. The only use for an ICBM is to be able to hit the USA and that would require an enormous missile because it's on the other side of the planet.

This family of missiles should have enough range. The more they reduce the weight and improve the performance the more portable the missiles will be.
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Khalij e Fars

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Iran's manned space program - Project 2031

Iran first announced plans to establish a human space program in 2005. Iran's space program started in 2006 with the first launch of the "Kavoshgar" program - a series of single stage sounding rockets (photo below). In 2010, Iran successfully launched a biological payload (of turtles and other small animals) into space (125km altitude) and safely retrieved it. In 2013, Iran launched two further Kavoshgar missions (Kavoshgar 7 and Kavoshgar 8), each taking a monkey to space and successfully retrieving it (video of the second launch below).

In 2015, Iran unveiled its manned space capsule that will be used to take a human into space (photos below). However, the space program's budget was cut by 90% (from approx. >$150m in 2008-2013 to <$10m from 2014-2020) and there were insufficient funds to continue with this project, as the cost was prohibitive. Some work during this period did continue: in 2018, Iran displayed the capsule along with the adaptor to the launch vehicle (likely a single stage rocket).

Recently, however, political will to accelerate Iran's space program has re-emerged, and the necessary funds are being allocated once more. The Iranian Space Agency has claimed that the manned space capsule will be delivered by the end of the current Iranian year (ending March 2021), with a first test launch taking place within 12-18 months (unmanned, sub-orbital launch). The goal is to launch an astronaut into space by 2031. This would make Iran the 4th-5th country in the world to send a human to space (after Russia, the USA and China, although India will likely beat Iran to this achievement in 2022-23).


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Khalij e Fars

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The IRIAF unveiled its most advanced HALE UCAV drone today: Kaman-22. The most powerful Iranian UCAV by payload capacity.

Endurance: 24 hours
Range: 3000km
Sensors: EO sensor, ECM pod
Payload: 4x Sadid PGM, 2x Babalan glide bombs, unknown laser guided bomb.


The IRGC is currently testing its successor to the Shahed-129: Shahed-149. That is expected to be larger and more powerful than this, but is still a few years away. It is good to see the IRIAF develop larger and more powerful UCAVs - the IRIAF has typically lagged behind the IRGC-AF in terms of drone power (and still does in terms of high-end LO UCAVs/UAVs, but good to see their progress).

Khalij e Fars

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Footage from Operation Martyr Soleimani (2020), showing the impact of Iranian ballistic missiles at the American Ayn al-Asad airbase in Iraq (and interviews with U.S. soldiers on the ground):

Iran gave the U.S. 6 hours advance warning of the attack via Iraq, and the US largely evacuated the base, but 110 traumatic brain injuries were diagnosed and 29 Purple Heart Medals were awarded for the most serious injuries (dozens left the base for medical treatment and didn't return to service).

Hearing the American soldiers discuss what it was like to be on the ground facing ballistic missile strikes showed how significant the attack by Iran really was - the largest attack of ballistic missiles against America in history, and the message was certainly delivered.

Major Alan Johnson, in charge of the al-Asad base, says he still has “headaches every day, horrible tinnitus… [and] PTSD.”

General Frank McKenzie, who gave the order to assassinate General Qasem Soleimani 6 days before the attack, said: “It was an attack certainly like nothing I've ever seen or experienced... They fired those missiles to significant range. And they hit pretty much where they wanted to hit.

General McKenzie claims that the U.S. waited until Iran downloaded the last image of the base from commercial satellite imagery for the day before proceeding to evacuate the base. However, Iran gave the U.S. several hours advance warning of the attack, to avoid mass casualties (McKenzie estimated that without prior evacuation of the base, hundreds of American soldiers would have died). Nonetheless, this does show the importance of Iran continuing to improve its space program and putting into orbit a reliable constellation of advanced spy satellites, to avoid having to rely on commercial satellite imagery.

Throughout modern history, populations around the world (in China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Guatemala, Laos, Lebanon, Sudan, Afghanistan, Serbia, etc) have have been subject to American bombings, but for the first time U.S. soldiers experienced what it's like to be on the other end, with the largest ballistic missile attack against U.S. soldiers in history.
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Khalij e Fars

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Farewell message recorded by U.S. Army Major Alan Johnson (in charge of the al-Asad airbase) on the night of Operation Martyr Soleimani:

Major Johnson said he was certain he was going to die, and it is only by divine intervention and luck that he survived.

He also said that he still suffers from the effects of the attack: he still has “headaches every day, horrible tinnitus… [and] PTSD.”

Khalij e Fars

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IRGC-ASF conducts first static test of most powerful solid fuel motor to date (March 2021; estimated 160,000kgf+ thrust)

Satellite imagery has revealed that the 4th (and largest) test stand at Shahroud was recently used by Iran for the first time (between 8-16 March 2021).

Based on open source analysis:
  • Test stand 1 was first used in 2016 for an engine with estimated 21,000-31,000kgf thrust,
  • Test stand 2 was first used in 2017 for an engine 108,000-162,000kgf,
  • Test stand 3 was first used in 2019 for an engine 118,000-177,000kgf,
  • And now, test stand 4 was first used in 2021 for an engine 164,000-246,000kgf.
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This is a solid fuel engine that is clearly in the heavy ICBM/SLV class, likely 2-3m diameter (potentially the first stage of Project Ghaem). For context, the first stage of the Minuteman III solid fuel ICBM has a thrust of approx. 100,000kgf.

In parallel, Iran's defense ministry/space agency revealed in February 2021 the Zoljanah SLV, which uses solid fuel engines in the first stage of 74,000kgf thrust (to be increased to 100,000kgf). The first successful test flight of the Zoljanah SLV occurred in Jan-Feb 2021 (I posted about it earlier in this thread).

This shows that IRGC-ASF is much further ahead in solid fuel motors than anything shown by Iran so far, with a lot of work being done on powerful solid fuel motors that can be used in heavy SLVs and/or ICBMs.

Latent heavy solid-fuel ICBM capability, if not already existing, appears inevitable for the next 5-10 years (remaining issues probably relate to MIRV related tech). However, Iran will not unveil ICBMs (political cost not worth it), so I would guess that we will, instead, see the application of such powerful motors in new solid-fuel SLVs first (as we have recently seen with the Zoljanah SLV's 74,000kgf thrust solid-fuel first stage motors).

Khalij e Fars

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Iran and China officially sign historic 25-year Strategic Partnership Roadmap

Both parties know very well the undue political nature of unilateral U.S. economic sanctions and are working to create a framework of investment and trade built on mutual respect and dignity, and to shield this from the scope of U.S. interference. The future of the international rules-based world order (as opposed to U.S.-imposed-rules-based world order) depends on this.

Congratulations to all my Chinese and Iranian friends. :)

Iran and China sign 25-year cooperation agreement​

Iran and China have signed a long-gestating 25-year cooperation accord as both countries remain under Unites States sanctions.

The agreement was signed in Tehran on Saturday by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Wang, who touched down in Tehran on Friday for a two-day visit as part of his Middle East trip, also met with President Hassan Rouhani, and Ali Larijani, a representative of the Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei who is said to have been the point person on the 25-year accord.

The agreement is said to have been in the works since Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran in 2016, also agreeing to increase bilateral trade more than 10-fold to $600bn in the next decade.

No details of the agreement have yet to be officially published, but it is expected to be a sweeping “strategic accord” that includes significant Chinese investments in Iran’s key sectors such as energy and infrastructure, in addition to military cooperation.

After unilaterally abandoning Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers – that also included China – former US President Donald Trump imposed harsh sanctions on Iran that have blacklisted its entire financial system.

While saying he wants to restore the deal, President Joe Biden has so far
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any sanctions
, saying Iran must first act to fulfil commitments it scaled back in response to US sanctions.

China and Russia have called on the US to restore the deal by lifting sanctions, while traders and analysts say Iran’s oil exports to China have significantly increased in March despite US warnings.

Rouhani thanked Wang on Saturday for China’s stance on the nuclear deal and standing up to “American unilateralism”.

As China and Iran are approaching 50 years of official diplomatic ties, an exhibition of diplomatic documents and achievements between the two countries was opened at the foreign ministry building in Tehran on Saturday.

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