Iran has completed 30 percent of its homegrown surface-to-air missile system, Iranian air defense commander Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili said Monday.
Esmaili said that the Islamic Republic hopes to complete the Bavar (Belief) 373 project by March 2013, Fars news agency reported.
The Bavar is being described by Iran as a rival system to the Russian S-300. Iran and Russia signed a contract for Russian supply of its anti-aircraft missile system but, according to the report, Russia has refused to fulfill the agreement, claiming that it is prohibited from doing so due to UN Security Council resolutions against Iran.
According to the report, Esmaili said Iran would have no problem supplying missiles for the Bavar. “We are through with developing the threat-detection capability of the system and its sensitive parts have been manufactured in Iran.”
Esmaili said in November of last year that the Bavar system is more powerful and advanced than the Russian S-300.
Iran has been pushing to upgrade its offensive and defensive military capabilities.
The Pentagon released a report in June noting significant advances in Iranian missile technology, acknowledging that the Islamic Republic has improved the accuracy and firing capabilities of its missiles, which can target Israel and US interests in the region.
Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said Iran would commission a new generation of fighter jets, missiles, unmanned drones and submarines by the Persian New Year, which falls in March 2013.
Iran will hold a massive air defense drill in October incorporating aerial and ground forces, Esmaili announced on Saturday.
Esmaili said that the maneuver will include all of the Iranian army’s air defense systems, as well as Iranian air force fighter jets, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Iranian state news agency Press TV reported.
The announcement of Iran’s air defense drill comes amid rising tensions between Iran and the West over its unsanctioned nuclear program.
The scheduling of the military drill, the second major exercise in two months, coincides with the speculated timetable of a possible Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities before the US presidential elections in November.
Ron Friedman, Ilan Ben Zion and AP contributed to this report