November 21, 2023 | Flash Brief

Iran Unveils New Missile It Claims Is Hypersonic

November 21, 2023 | Flash Brief

Iran Unveils New Missile It Claims Is Hypersonic

Latest Developments

Iran reportedly unveiled a new hypersonic missile on November 19, claiming capabilities that surpass those of an earlier version of the missile unveiled earlier this year. Brig. Gen. Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force, presented the new missile, dubbed the Fattah-2 (Conqueror-2), at a military exposition visited by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In June, the Islamic Republic unveiled the allegedly hypersonic Fattah-1 (Conqueror-1) — a ballistic missile it claimed had a range of 1,400 kilometers, was powered by a solid-propellant motor, and could reach Israel in 400 seconds if launched from Iranian territory. Unlike the Fattah-1, the Fattah-2 employs a liquid-propellant engine and has a range allegedly just shy of 2,000 kilometers. Iranian media shared no video evidence of a test or launch of the Fattah-2.

Expert Analysis

“While Iran previously tried to pass along a maneuvering re-entry vehicle as a hypersonic ballistic missile, the move towards developing a hypersonic glide vehicle should not be ignored. Iran has proven it has the capability and intent to develop a more lethal ballistic missile arsenal, one with projectiles it hopes will cause more headaches for American and allied missile defenses.” Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow

“Tehran’s claims about new capabilities should be taken with a heavy grain of salt, but it would be a mistake to shrug at Iran’s growing missile capabilities. They are not simply for show. The Islamic Republic of Iran uses ballistic missiles to attack its neighbors and U.S. troops while proliferating some missiles or related technologies to Tehran’s terror proxies.” Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

Hypersonic Missiles in Context

Hypersonic missiles are highly maneuverable projectiles that can carry conventional or nuclear payloads and fly at speeds of at least five times the speed of sound, or Mach 5. There are two main types of hypersonic missiles: hypersonic glide vehicles (HGV), which use a solid or liquid-propellant booster rocket, and hypersonic cruise missiles (HCM), which are powered by high-speed scramjet air-breathing engines. Unlike standard ballistic missiles, which often do reach speeds greater than Mach 5, hypersonic glide missiles do not follow a set trajectory and, when married with the speed at which they can maneuver, create a significant challenge for missile defense and detection systems.

The United States, Russia, China, and North Korea either possess or have conducted research on developing hypersonic missile capabilities.

Iran’s Ballistic Missiles Go Global

Iran is home to the largest ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East. In addition to refining this capability at home and launching them in drills, Tehran is sharing ballistic missiles and related long-range strike capabilities with its proxies and partners across the Middle East, leading to a ring of fire encircling Israel and other U.S. partners.

For example, the Houthi rebels in Yemen now boast three types of medium-range ballistic missiles that they have already launched at Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and, more recently, Israel. Shiite militia groups in Iraq have also recently unveiled a close or short-range ballistic missile based on known Iranian designs. Despite reports of Russia’s interest in Iranian short-range ballistic missiles, Iran has not transferred such capabilities to date.

Iran’s Ever-Expanding Ring of Fire,” by Mark Dubowitz and Behnam Ben Taleblu

Arsenal: Assessing the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program,” by Behnam Ben Taleblu

Israeli Defense Minister: Israel Can Defend Against Iran’s Alleged Hypersonic Missile,” FDD Flash Brief

Tools of Terror: Iran’s Growing Ballistic Missile Threat,” FDD Podcast


Gulf States Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Missiles Iran Nuclear Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Military and Political Power Nonproliferation