Qiam missile launch highlights hidden facilities
Iran’s military recently publicized a third underground missile facility and showed the launch of a new ballistic missile through the top of a mountain.
U.S. intelligence agencies said in a recent internal report on the launch that the new underground missile facility was disclosed by Iran in March.
It was the third time since October that Tehran showed off an extensive network of underground missile facilities. The new video, however, for the first time shows a missile launch from one of the country’s underground launch facilities.
Disclosure of the new video comes as Iran this week conducted the third launch of a ballistic missile since January, when the nuclear deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear weapons development went into effect.
Two missiles were launched in March, including one shown in the video, identified as a Qiam-1, or Uprising-1, that appears to be a smaller variant of Iran’s Shahab-3 missile.
Iran has produced three videos of its underground missile storage and launch facilities that are designed to highlight Tehran’s defiance of the United Nations resolution on the Iranian nuclear deal that calls for a halt to nuclear-related missile tests.
The latest video was disclosed March 9 by the Mehr New Agency, run by the hardline Islamic Propagation Office, which is in turn affiliated with the Qom seminary.
The missile test was the last stage of an exercise held by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps aerospace division that the report said was part of several missiles being fired from different parts of the country.
The video begins with grainy footage showing an underground tunnel where missiles are stored on either side.
The video then shifts to a concrete cavern where what appears to be a Qiam-1 ballistic missile is being set up beneath a launch tube in the ceiling of the cavern.
The video then shows a news announcer stating that on March 8 a Qiam missile was launched “from the depths of the earth.”
The final scene shows a missile lifting off through the top of a mountain.
Rick Fisher, a military affairs analyst with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the latest missile video is disturbing.
“It is not likely that Iran simply figured out this method of launching liquid fueled missiles from tall caves with launch holes that reach the surface, that until launch are very well concealed from overhead surveillance,” Fisher said.
“It is my suspicion that this launch method was pioneered by China and if that is the case, then we need to revise our estimates of the number of DF-4 and DF-5 ICBMs that China may be able to launch at the Untied States.”
The concealed cave launchers allow states like Iran, China, and North Korea to hide large numbers of missiles for decades.
“This method of cave-launch may also be in use in North Korea, again allowing Pyongyang to conceal a significant number of missiles from overhead/space detection,” Fisher said.
The underground facilities appear modeled after China’s underground missile facilities that were disclosed for the first time several years ago.
China has an estimated 3,000 miles of underground nuclear and missile facilities that has been dubbed the Great Underground Wall.
Full article: Iran Shows Off Third Underground Missile Site (Washington Free Beacon)