Iran claims to have built its first hypersonic missile

The Fattah missile unveiled by Iran.
The Fattah missile unveiled by Iran. Hossein Zohrevand / Tasnim News Agency via AP

Iran claimed Tuesday that it had created its first hypersonic ballistic missile, a weapon that has the potential to beat Western air defenses.

The missile was unveiled during a ceremony in Tehran attended by Iranian President Ebrahim Rahisi. Called Fattah, or "Conqueror" in Farsi, the missile "can fly at very high speeds and perform various maneuvers in and out of earth's atmosphere," according to Iran's state-run IRNA news agency.

Raisi said at the event that a "deterrent power has been formed," adding that the missile "is an anchor of lasting security and peace for the regional countries."

Fattah is claimed to have a range of 870 miles, according to IRNA, and can allegedly hit speeds of Mach 13 to Mach 15 — over 11,000 mph. Hypersonic missiles travel fly at least Mach 5, and "their speed and claimed maneuverability is believed to make them difficult to intercept," The Guardian reported. The U.S., Russia, China, and North Korea have all successfully tested hypersonic missiles.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Iranian paramilitary's aerospace program, said there "exists no system that can rival or counter this missile." However, this claim is subject to the maneuverability of the missile, The Associated Press reported. The event showed off what appeared to be a moveable nozzle on the Fattah, which could allow it to change trajectories in flight and make it more difficult for anti-air defenses to intercept.

Iran's missile unveiling comes as tensions between the United States and other Western nations remain high. While Iran has committed to continuing its weapons program despite Western opposition, Reuters noted that the country "sometimes exaggerates its missile capabilities."

There are also concerns that the Fattah could potentially be used to attack Israel. This past November, Iran claimed it was developing a hypersonic missile that could reach Israel in 400 seconds.

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