Iran claimed on Monday it is planning on fielding a home-built air defense missile system affording potential advantages over the Russian S-300 SAM system, which has been ordered by Tehran but yet to be delivered by Moscow.
"Today, we are building all our air defence weapons by ourselves ... the only thing we wanted to import was the Russian S-300 which so far they have not delivered for some unacceptable reasons," senior air defense force commander Heshmatollah Kasiri was quoted as saying by IRNA news agency.
"But our air defence experts and engineers are finding a way, and sometime in the not too distant future we will produce an air defence system which has the capabilities of the Russian S-300 or even more."
In October, Russia's Interfax news agency reported that Iran had made its final payment on the S-300 SAM system because Moscow has not yet given its final approval to deliver on the deal. Under the contract, Russia would sell Iran five batteries of S-300PMU1 missiles for around US$800 million (€530 million), Interfax reported. The S-300PMU1- codenamed SA-20 Gargoyle by NATO- is a mobile land-based system designed to shoot down aircraft and cruise missiles.
Military observers speculate: Chinese/Iranian cooperation on the further development of the HongQi 9 (HQ-9) surface-to-air missile system, perhaps? (Above: PLA HQ-9)