Military Knowledge: Shafagh Air-To-Surface Missile

Friday 19 May 2023 - 15:43

The Shafagh missile is an Iranian medium-range air-to-ground missile that has been produced and enhanced by the Ministry of Defense of the Islamic Republic of Iran for use on the Army and IRGC’s helicopters, as well as for use on Karrar drones. The probable circular error (CEP) rate of this missile is 20 cm at 20 km and its warhead has the ability to penetrate up to 1500 mm rolled steel.

The first type of Shafagh missile was unveiled and introduced in 2014 during a ceremony in the presence of the then Defense Minister, General Dehghan. This missile (first type) has a range of 8 to 12 km with a penetration rate of 1500 mm in armor. This amount of armor penetration is considered a very good number for an air-to-ground missile. For example, Kornet ME anti-armor missile has a penetration rate of 1300 mm in rolled steel.

The Shafagh air-to-ground and anti-tank missile in its two prototypes is very similar to the Shahab Sagheb defense missile that was used in the Ya Zahra (S) and Herz-9 air defense systems. Ya Zahra (S) air defense system, which was unveiled in 2013, is modeled after the French Cortal air defense system, which was captured by the Islamic Republic of Iran Army during the Iraq-Iran war. This French air defense system is also produced in China under the name FM90 or HQ7.

The Shahab Sagheb missile is also made from the R440 missile belonging to the Cortal defense system and is very similar to it.

Prototypes of Shafagh missile:
As mentioned, the first Shafagh missile was installed on the Army’s Air Force helicopters in 2014, but before that in 2013, this missile was seen on the Karrar drone. In those years, it was stated that the Shafagh missile has a range of 8 to 10 km and uses an infrared seeker (IIR) in the last stage to attack targets independently; So Shafagh is a fire-and-forget missile capable of penetrating 1 to 1.5 meters of armor. The prototypes of the Shafagh missile have an accuracy of more than 30 cm at a distance of 10 km and have a speed equal to Mach 2 to 2.7 depending on the release height and the distance to the target. The high speed and fire-and-forget ability turned Shafagh missile into a very dangerous one, because the tanks’ defense system has very little reaction time to deal with this missile and the helicopter can quickly move away from the danger zone after firing.

Another variant of Shafagh missile was unveiled again in 2019 with the same name as Shafagh. The main difference between the two missiles unveiled at a different time interval was the appearance of the front fins. In the first prototype, Shafagh lacked the front fins, but in the secondary prototype, keeping the front fins, the Shafagh missile was completely similar to the Shahab Sagheb missile. Structurally, the maximum range of the second Shafagh missile was increased to 12 km. The Shafagh missile has a maximum speed of Mach 2 to 2.7 in both variants.

The main difference between the Shafagh missile in the first variant and the Shahab Sagheb missile was the removal of the front fins in the Shafagh missile, but in the secondary variant, the Shafagh missile can be distinguished from its IIR seekers compared to the Shahab Sagheb.

Safagh 1 and 2 specifications:
Length: 2.9 meters
Weight: 60 kg in first variant – 84 kg in second variant
Maximum speed: Mach 2 to 2.7
Range: 8 to 12 km in second variant

The enhanced Shafagh missile:
The enhanced Shafagh (شفق بهینه) missile was unveiled as a new generation of Shafagh missile in 2022. The new Shafagh missile has been described as a two-stage missile with a 13 kg warhead. This missile with a length of 1.89 meters and a weight of 50 kg is capable of destroying all types of tanks, personnel carriers, concrete trenches, floats and defense infrastructures in all weather conditions, day and night.

Due to the aerodynamic redesign and probably the solid fuel engine propulsion of the Shafagh missile, its range has increased to 20 km. There is only one other anti-armor missile in this range, and that is the Nimrod 2 missile manufactured by the Israeli Aerospace Industries. Also, in terms of appearance, Shafagh missile can be compared with Nimrod missile. The main difference in appearance between Shafagh and Nimrod is in the middle fin of these two missiles, which in Shafagh is a trapezoid with two slanted sides, and in Nimrod this trapezoid is with one slanted side and one straight side. In terms of length, the Nimrod is one meter longer and its range is up to 36 km.

The maximum speed of Shafagh (enhanced) missile is 750 meters per second. The probable circular error (CEP) rate of this missile is 20 cm. The Shafagh (enhanced) missile which is a fire-and-forget missile, uses an infrared seeker and laser guidance to accurately target and hit targets.

Shafagh (enhanced) missile specifications:
Type: Fire-and-forget
Introduction: 2022
Length: 1.89 meters
Diameter: 20 cm
Weight: 50 kg
Warhead weight: 13 kg
Speed: 750 meters per second
Range: 20 km
Guidance: Infrared homing, semi-active laser
Origin: Iran

Shafagh air-to-surface missile – Click to view full size

More images of Shafagh 1 and 2 missiles and the enhanced Shafagh:

Shafagh air-to-ground missile posters in English, Russian, Arabic, Azeri and Hebrew:

رونمایی از موشک شفق؛ نیش جدید کبراهای ایرانی +عکس
رونمایی از موشک شفق در روز ارتش
نصب نسل جدید موشک‌های «شفق» روی بالگردهای هوانیروز ارتش

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