Military Knowledge: Azarakhsh Air Defense System

Thursday 21 March 2024 - 10:25

Azarakhsh (Thunderbolt) is an Iranian short-range, low-altitude air defense system with high mobility. This defense system is in the form of a Transporter Erector Launcher and Radar (TELAR) and is used to track and destroy various low-altitude aerial targets such as drones, cruise missiles, helicopters, and more.

The Azarakhsh defense system is very agile and, considering its dimensions, components, and overall weight, it can be installed on various vehicles and deployed against aerial targets from any location in the shortest possible time.

When it comes to the detection and tracking section, the Azarakhsh defense system simultaneously utilizes passive phased array radar with 360-degree coverage and an electro-optical and infrared imaging system for detecting and tracking targets. According to official sources, the radar detection range of the Azarakhsh defense system is reported to be 50 kilometers, and the electro-optical and thermal system has a range of 25 kilometers.

In the missile section, as the name suggests, this system uses four ready-to-launch ‘Azarakhsh’ air-to-air missiles, which now acts as a surface-to-air missile for target destruction.

The Azarakhsh missile, also known as the Iranian Sidewinder, is a missile with a “fire-and-forget” capability, requiring no guidance after launch. It utilizes an infrared search and track (IRST) system in its nose cone to be able to engage targets. It should be noted that due to the change in the missile’s performance from air-to-air to surface-to-air, the structure of its infrared search and track system has likely undergone changes.

The Azarakhsh missile has four movable fins at the missile head and four fixed stabilizing fins at the rear section. The end sections of rear fins are also movable.

Based on the provided information, the maximum range of the Azarakhsh missile system is 10 kilometers, and its infrared search and track system locks onto targets within a 6-kilometer range. The total weight of the missile is 70 kilograms, and its warhead is high-explosive fragmentation (HE-frag) type weighing approximately 4.5 kilograms. The length and diameter of the Azarakhsh missile are 3000 and 127 millimeters, respectively.

The Azarakhsh missile’s propulsion system has not been disclosed so far, but based on the released video of the missile’s launch, it can be speculated that its solid fuel propulsion system has also undergone improvements compared to previous versions of the Azarakhsh missile, making it more advanced. The speed of this missile is estimated to be around Mach 1.8.

It is worth mentioning that this system is capable of operating in various weather conditions and at any time of day or night, and it can be linked with other Iranian air defense systems.

Video of live test and performance of Azarakhsh air defense system

Specifications of Azarakhsh air defense system:
Type: fully mobile short-range low-altitude air defense system
Origin: Iran
Manufacturer: Defense Industries Organization (Sâzmân-e Sanâye’-e Defâ’ – SASAD)
Unveiled: 17 February 2024
Radar detection range: 50 km
Electro-optical tracking range: 25 km
Ready to launch missiles: 4 missiles
Azarakhsh missile:
Length: 3000 mm
Diameter: 127 mm
Missile weight: 70 kg
Warhead weight: 4.5 kg HE-Frag
Range: 10 km
Speed: Mach 1.8

Azarakhsh short-range air defense system – click to view in full size

Infographics of Azarakhsh air defense system in Russian and Farsi:

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