Tuesday 29 September 2020
I wrote – Rana Osama:
As the latest round of the decades-old Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict escalates, Armenia threatens to use “Iskander” ballistic missiles if Turkey – which continues to pour oil on the fire of the crisis – sends F-16 fighters to the Armenian separatist Karabakh region.
“Our military leadership has repeatedly confirmed that all possible means, including (Iskandar) systems, will be resorted to if the people of Nagorno Karabakh confront the threat of Turkish F-16 fighters,” the Armenian ambassador to Moscow, Toujanyan, told Novosti Agency.
He warned that “the Armenian armed forces will be forced to use their full arsenals to ensure security,” as the bloody battles have continued for 3 days between the two sides, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reinforced fears of further escalation with a high-pitched speech in which he supported Baku, calling for an end For what he called “the occupation of Nagorno Karabakh.”
The two countries declared martial law, Armenia approved general mobilization, while Azerbaijan imposed a curfew on part of the country, especially in the capital.
And the spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, Jihon Bayramov, has previously confirmed that his country can respond appropriately to Armenia, if “Iskander” missiles are used in Karabakh. And in 2016, Armenia became the first country to acquire Russian “Iskander” tactical missiles with a range of 650 km.
What do we know about “Iskandar”?
The “Iskander” missiles are known as “SS-26” or “Stone”, according to the names of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization “NATO”. They are short-range ballistic missiles.
Manufactured by Federated Corporation and first tested in 1996.
The Russian army officially adopted them in 2006. Currently, about 20 of them are in service with the Russian army. The alternative intended for export is known as “Iskander-e”.
One of them is launched as a missile carrying a warplane in a ballistic arc, flying at an altitude of 163,000 feet, and then the warhead separates from the missile, to hit its target very quickly.
It has a range of about 480 kilometers, which makes it within the limit permitted by the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987, which banned possession of ground-based missiles with a range of more than 480 km.
The Iskander system missile, weighing 3 tons, carries a package containing 400 kg of TNT. And his interception is an impossible task due to his speed and his ability to maneuver on two levels in order to avoid anti-missiles, according to the American “Defense” magazine.
This system goes into combat within one minute, and its accuracy is determined by hitting the target with a radius of 30 meters.
According to the American magazine “Mechanic”, it aims to launch attacks and hit ground targets of high value. It carries 635 kg of heavy explosive (HE) ammunition, small ammunition, and fuel and air explosives to destroy bunkers and other locations with extremely hard surfaces.
Earlier this month, the Russian Ministry of Defense released a video clip of the “Iskander” operational tactical missile system at the Kapustin Yar training field near Astrakhan.
The ministry said that the mission of the soldiers from the eastern military region was to strike targets that simulate a very important location for the virtual enemy.
After launch, the drone “Orlan-10”, which was circling above the target, detected the target being hit and destroyed.
This comes while the UN Security Council holds, today, Tuesday, at the request of European countries, an emergency closed meeting to discuss developments in Nagorny Karabakh. The meeting is scheduled to take place at 17:00 (21:00 GMT) at the request of Belgium, following an initiative by Germany and France.