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Test launch in 2011
TypeAir defense system
Place of originIran
Service history
In serviceSince 2010
Used byIran
Production history
ProducedSince 2010
VariantsMersad, Mersad Phase I, Mersad Phase II (Under Development)
MassShalamche: 636 kg
 lengthShalamche: 5030 mm
DiameterShalamche: 356 mm

3x Shahin or Shlamche Missiles
EngineSolid propellant rocket engine
Shahin: 45 km (30 miles)[1]

Shalamche: 40 km

Phase II: ~60 km (Planned)
SpeedMore than Mach 2.4, Shalamche: Mach 3
Semi-active radar homing

Mersad (Persian: Ambush) is an Iranian low to mid range air defense system developed in 2010.[2] It fires Shahin (Falcon) missiles which are reverse engineered, domestically upgraded versions of the American MIM-23 Hawk surface-to-air missiles. It uses a series of domestically produced Radars and Electronic Devices.[3]


In 2010, Iran announced that it had launched the production line of a new air defense system named, Mersad, which incorporates Shahin missiles.[2][3][4][5] It was said that the system consists of different target tracing and tracking radars, soft and hardware networks, launch pads for Shahin missiles and a command and control center. Iranian defense minister Ahmad Vahidi said that the Mersad air defense system has superior capabilities and includes more capabilities than its western rivals like the Hawk mid-range defense system. Vahidi reiterated that Mersad is resistant to electronic warfare and can be used as part of a network of radar and air defense systems[4] and is fully digital.[2] The Shahin missile is an improved reverse-engineered version of US-made MIM-23 Hawk surface-to-air missile sold to Iran before the 1979 revolution.[6]

Some months later, Iran announced that it has increased the range and altitude of the missile defense system.[7] Vahidi also noted that the new system can also engage more targets at the same time.[7]

In November 2010, Iranian air force colonel Faramarz Ruh Afza said that Mersad has a limited ability to intercept ballistic missiles.[8] That same day, the commander of Khatam al anbia base, Ahmad Miqani, said that Iran is working on the improving the Mersad with the second phase including double range and altitude.[9][10]

Iran tested the Mersad two days after Miqani's speech in an Air Defense Wargame called Defenders of the Skies of Velayat III. In this test, Iran shot down a UAV using its Mersad Air Defense System.[11]

Also in April 18, 2011, Iran tested two other missiles of Mersad from a site in Semnan. Later it was announced that the missiles were not Shahin. But a further upgraded one called Shalamche.[12][13] Iranian Defense minister Ahmad Vahidi stated that the speed is now about mach 3 with an increase of about mach 0.6 . He called the missile state of art because of its new electronics which made it highly resistance to Electronic warfare. He said that the range of this missile is about 40 km and it is going to be increased.[14]

Later On May 16, Iran tested the new missile again in an air defense war game in eastern Iran.[15]

According to Iranian officials, the most important factors of new Mersad Phase I system are increase in range and a new advanced algorithm for guiding the missile into its target.[16]

On September 4, Iran announced that Shalamche missile is now being delivered to Iranian Air Defense Force.[17]

On November 14, 2012, The Shalamcheh missile was fired from the Mersad air defense system at a Karrar (UCAV), which was destroyed, during the Defenders of the Skies of Velayat 4 drill.[18]

In February 2017, a modified version of Mersad system was test fired during the Defenders of the Skies of Velayat in Semnan province alongside two other Air defense systems. Based on reports new Mersad system can hit its targets in 35 miles away.[19][20]


Mersad uses four radars. The PAR radar, called Kavosh, is an upgraded copy of the original AN/MPQ-50. The maximum range is increased to 150 km and an IFF system is added to the radar. A new CWAR called Jouiya is used to detect low altitude targets. The HPIR radar, called Hadi, is an upgraded version of AN/MPQ-46 with an additional EO system attached to it. There is also a new supplemental HPIR radar. All of the radars use solid state electronics to have more resistance to electronic warfare and can be linked to the other Mersad systems.[21][22]

The Hadi radar has equipped with an Electro-optical system in order to detecting and tracking of targets when the battlefield is affected by heavy jamming.

The Mersad system detection range is 150 km and it can lock on targets in 80 km distance. Also it can detect targets with RCS about 0.5 square meter in range of 110 km. In addition Mersad can engage at least with 2 targets simultaneously.[1]

Also Iran developed a new phased array radar named Hafez for Mersad system. Hafez is a 3D radar with 250 km range and ability of tracking 100 targets simultaneously.[23]


  • Mersad: Basic variant. Uses the first generation of Shahin missiles.
  • Mersad Phase I: Second variant. Tested on October 2010, this variant has a higher range and altitude. It is also capable of engaging more targets simultaneously.[7]
  • Mersad Phase II: Third variant. This variant is currently under development. It will have double the range and altitude as compared to the basic Mersad.[9][10]
  • Unknown Designation:Uses Shalamche missiles instead of Shahin.


Comparable SAMs[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2010-11-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-16. Retrieved 2010-11-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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  7. ^ a b c
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  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ a b
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  21. ^
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-19. Retrieved 2013-12-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ "40 types of Iranian Radars". Mashregh News Agancy.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]