Iran Has 3,000 Ballistic Missiles Ready for War

Iran Missiles

Iran Has 3,000 Ballistic Missiles Ready for War

In 2022, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, assessed that the Iranian military and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps could field more than 3,000 ballistic missiles of all types. 

Summary: Early on a Sunday, Iran launched a significant attack on Israel, firing around 300 ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and suicide drones. The Israel Defense Forces, supported by the U.S. and other allies, successfully intercepted over 99% of these weapons. Iran stated this attack was a warning, emphasizing its readiness for further actions if hostilities continue. Iran's arsenal includes over 3,000 ballistic missiles capable of reaching up to 1,300 miles, alongside numerous cruise missiles and suicide drones, designed to bypass radar and air defenses. The conflict potential between Iran and Israel highlights a scenario dominated by long-range strikes, with Israel relying heavily on its robust air defense system and international support.

Iran Launches Massive Missile and Drone Attack on Israel, Threatens Further Strikes

Iran attacked Israel early on Sunday, escalating violence in the Middle East. Iranian forces fired two salvos, during which they launched approximately 300 ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and suicide drones against the Jewish state.

With the assistance of the U.S. military and other Western nations and regional partners, the Israel Defense Forces intercepted over 99% of the incoming munitions.

Tehran said the strike – its largest ever direct attack against Israel – was just a warning, and that more would follow if Israel continued to escalate hostilities in the region. These aren’t empty words. Iran has the missile arsenal to strike targets deep into Israel.

The Iranian Long-Range Missile Arsenal 

In 2022, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, assessed that the Iranian military and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps could field more than 3,000 ballistic missiles of all types. 

Iranian forces possess a diverse arsenal of ballistic munitions, including short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles. The largest and most capable of these munitions can reach targets up to 1,300 miles away. Tehran has also been working on an intercontinental ballistic missile capability to greatly improve its ability to strike at range. 

In addition to ballistic missiles, Iran has thousands of cruise missiles. Munitions like the Meshkat and Soumar land-attack cruise missiles have a shorter range than large ballistic missiles, and less destructive power, but they are still dangerous and deadly.

Cruise missiles are especially dangerous because they can fly at low altitudes and stay below a radar’s line of sight. Modern cruise missiles can also fly close to terrain features such as mountains, hills, and valleys, to hide themselves until their final approach. In addition, these missiles can fly in circuitous routes in order to bypass enemy radar and air-defense systems. Tehran’s cruise missile arsenal isn’t necessarily the most capable, but it is still dangerous. 

Furthermore, the Iranian military can also deploy thousands of suicide drones. These loitering munitions might be smaller and less powerful than ballistic or cruise missiles, but they can still land a heavy punch, and they can be used to overwhelm or deplete enemy air defenses.

Indeed, the Iranian attack against Israel clearly used that combined approach, with cheaper suicide drones launched earlier to attract the attention of Israeli defenses.  

A war between Israel and Iran would mainly be one of long-range strikes. The geographical separation of the two countries, and their limited to non-existent expeditionary warfare capabilities, mean that air power and long-range munitions would be the main tools of warfare.

The Israeli air defenses are strong, as the recent attack showcased. Moreover, Israel can depend on powerful allies, including the United States, for early warning and interception assistance in the event of an Iranian attack. Nevertheless, the Iranian long-range arsenal is powerful and can inflict heavy losses on Israel in the event of a full-scale conflict. 

About the Author

Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense and national security journalist specializing in special operations. A Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), he holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University, an MA from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He is pursuing a J.D. at Boston College Law School. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.

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