OE Watch Commentary: Iran continues to invest heavily in its domestic military industry. Announcements with regard to new products and development occur on a monthly basis. While Iranian leaders often exaggerate the capabilities of their products, the announcements nonetheless give insight into future challenges in the operational environment. It is against this backdrop that Tasnim, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-affiliated outlet, reports on the unveiling announcement of a new missile.
The Azarakhsh (Lightning) missile is designed for short-range tactical missions. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Mohammad Ali Jafari, who attended its unveiling, reportedly spoke of how the new missile will complement Iran’s growing reliance on drone and helicopter technologies and noted the growing importance of helicopter and drone operations in both air raids and reconnaissance. While the article speaks of the missile being mounted on a Cobra helicopter, it most likely refers to the Toufan, an Iranian knock-off based on the AH-1J SeaCobra.
The manufacture of rockets for air-to-ground use and Iran’s proliferation of drones to proxies in Lebanon and Syria, as well as the Syrian Army’s use of helicopters, suggests that the Azarakhsh could soon be deployed against both Israel and Syrian opposition targets. It might also pose a threat to Turkish forces, especially as Turkey uses armor in its operation in Afrin, an operation which the Assad regime in Syria denounced. End OE Watch Commentary (Rubin)