Agence France-Presse – 2006-11-29 23:19:44
MOSCOW (November 25, 2006) — Russia has begun deliveries of the Tor-M1 air defence rocket system to Iran, Russian news agencies quoted military industry sources as saying, in the latest sign of a Russian-US rift over Iran.
“Deliveries of the Tor-M1 have begun. The first systems have already been delivered to Tehran,” ITAR-TASS quoted an unnamed, high-ranking source as saying.
The US has pressed Russia to halt military sales to Iran, which Washington accuses of harbouring secret plans to build a nuclear weapon.
Moscow has consistently defended its weapons trade with Iran. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said the contract for 29 rocket systems, signed in December last year, was legitimate because the Tor-M1 has a purely defensive role.
ITAR-TASS reported that the rockets were to be deployed around Iran’s nuclear sites, including the still incomplete, Russian-built atomic power station at Bushehr.
In August, Washington announced sanctions against several companies, including Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport, for supplying technology to Iran that could allegedly be used to develop missile technology and weapons of mass destruction.
Under the sanctions no US company can deal with foreign companies on the sanctions list for two years.
A spokesman for Rosoboronexport contacted by AFP would not confirm or deny the reports about the Tor-M1 delivery, which were also issued by the Interfax news agency.
The Tor-M1 is a low to medium-altitude missile fired from a tracked vehicle against airplanes, helicopters and other airborne targets.
The news came as the UN Security Council continued to consider possible sanctions against Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile activity in response to the Islamic republic’s suspect nuclear programme.
The major powers have been debating a draft resolution drawn up by Britain, France and Germany that would impose limited sanctions on Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile sectors for Tehran’s failure to comply with an earlier UN resolution on halting enrichment.
China and Russia, both close economic partners with Iran, argue the measures are too extensive, while Washington has pressed for tougher action.
Tor M1 9M330 Air Defense System
The TOR-M1 surface-to-air missile system is a mobile, integrated air defense system, designed for operation at medium-, low- and very low –altitudes, against fixed/rotary wing aircraft, UAVs, guided missiles and precision weapon. The system is capable of operating in an intensive aerial jamming environment. The system is comprised of a number of missile Transporter Launcher Vehicle (TLV).
A Russian air defense Tor battalion consists of 3 – 5 companies, each equipped with four TLVs. Each TLV is equipped with 8 ready to launch missiles, associating radars, fire control systems and a battery command post. The combat vehicle can operate autonomously, firing from stationary positions or on the move.
Set-up time is rated at 3 minutes and typical reaction time, from target detection to missile launch is 5-8 seconds. Reaction time could range from 3.4 seconds for stationary positions to 10 seconds while on the move. Each fire unit can engage and launch missiles against two separate targets.
Tor M1 can detect and track up to 48 targets (minimum radar cross section of 0.1 square meter) at a maximum range of 25 km, and engage two of them simultaneously, at a speed of up to 700 m/sec, and at a distance of 1 to 12 km. The system’s high lethality (aircraft kill probability of 0.92-0.95) is maintained at altitude of 10 – 6,000 m’.
The vertically launched, single-stage solid rocket propelled missile is capable of maneuvering at loads up to 30gs. It is equipped with a 15kg high-explosive fragmentation warhead activated by a proximity fuse.
The system is offered as fully integrated tracked combat vehicle, or as a modular combat unit (TOR-M1T) comprising a truck mounted mobile control module and launcher/antenna units, carried on a trailer. Other configuration include separated towed systems, as well as shelter-based systems, for the protection of fixed sites.
The missile is also effective against precision guided weapons and cruise missiles. In tests the missile demonstrated kill probability of such targets ranging from 0.6 to 0.9.
The first operator of the Tor system was the Russian Army Air-Defense, which operates 100 units of the SA-15 Gauntlet variant. The Russian navy also uses the naval version known as SA-N-9. China bought 50 systems and possibly 25 more, between 1997 and 2002.
The Greek army fielded 21 Tor M-1 systems. Most recently (December 2005) Iran was reported to sign a deal worth US$ 1.0 billion covering the procurement of up to 29 TOR M-1 missile systems, modernization of air-force systems and the supply of patrol boats.
The system was also proposed to several other countries. THe TOR component of the deal was reported to be US$700 million. Deliveries of the TOR systems began in November 2006 and are expected to continue through 2008. (more from freerepublic)