Iran recently introduced a new, enhanced version of its Bavar-373 long-range air defense system that Tehran officials claim can intercept American stealth jet fighters.

The domestically produced Bavar-373 first went into service for the Iranian armed forces in 2019, and its capabilities have drawn comparisons to Russia’s S-300 mobile, long-range surface-to-air missile systems and to the U.S.-made Patriot systems.

Iran unveiled the newest iteration of the Bavar-373 during an April 17 military parade. The weapon’s debut comes as tensions between Iran and Israel continue after Tehran responded to an alleged Israeli strike on an Iranian embassy in Syria by launching drones and missiles toward Israel on April 13 in an attack that was mostly thwarted.

In describing the upgraded Bavar-373’s presence in last week’s parade, the military news outlet Special Operations Forces Report (SOFREP) called the reworked system “a significant development for Iran’s defense industry, showcasing both its growing self-sufficiency and its aspirations for a more advanced air defense network.”

SOFREP noted that Iranian officials have made “bold claims” about the new Bavar-373, including that the system now “matches or even surpasses” the capabilities of Russia’s advanced S-400 missile system.

But perhaps Iran’s most significant claim is that the latest Bavar-373 can intercept fifth-generation fighter aircraft like Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning jets, which are equipped with stealth technology designed to evade radar detection.

“Additionally, Iranian sources report that the upgraded Bavar-373 boasts enhanced target detection and tracking abilities, allowing it to identify up to 100 aerial targets simultaneously and engage multiple threats with its Sayyad-4B missile armament,” SOFREP wrote.

SOFREP added that Iran’s claims about the Bavar-373 have not been independently verified and that “real-world testing” is needed before truly evaluating its capabilities.

“Despite the need for cautious interpretation, the unveiling of the upgraded Bavar-373 underscores a critical point: Iran’s defense sector is demonstrably maturing,” SOFREP said.

The outlet attributed the growth in Iran’s defense sector to international sanctions, which forced Tehran to dedicate more resources to domestic weapons development.

According to SOFREP, another reason is that “Iran has a history of strategic collaborations with countries like Russia and China.

“Though potentially tempered by international sanctions, these collaborations have provided Iran with valuable technology transfer and expertise in areas like missile technology and air defense systems.”

SOFREP continued by saying the unveiling of the upgraded Bavar-373 in last week’s parade could have been done to send “a potent message of deterrence aimed at potential adversaries, particularly in the context of the Middle East’s complex geopolitical landscape.”

Source » newsweek