Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani inducted the Bavar-373 air defense system into the military at an official unveiling ceremony on Thursday, August 22.
The indigenous long-range air defense missile system, which Iran claims has a range of 300 km (186 miles) and can strike targets at an altitude of 65 km, has been billed by state media as the country’s answer to the Russian S-300.
At a ceremony was held in Tehran to mark National Defense Industry Day, Rouhani said the Bavar system is “better than S-300 and close to S-400.”
“Bavar-373 is the most important indigenized missile defense system whose design and manufacturing started a few years ago and can engage multiple targets in high altitudes,” Fars News Agency reported Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami as saying.
Iran began to design the Bavar-373 system after Russia suspended delivery in 2010 of at least five S-300s under a 2007 contract. The first images of the system were released by the Iranian presidency in August 2016 and it passed initial tests in January 2018.
The Bavar-373 uses a vertical launch system and a long-range, phased array fire-control radar called Meraj-4. It can reportedly detect up to 100 targets, tracking 60 of them, and engage six concurrently.
The system uses up to three different missiles to hit targets at various altitudes. Iran’s former defense minister Hossein Dehghan said in 2016 that it is designed to intercept ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft and drones. “We did not intend to make an Iranian version of the S-300 – we wanted to build an Iranian system, and we built it,” Dehghan said.
In June, Iran said it used a surface-to-air missile to shoot down a U.S. RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone that had violated its airspace.