from danger room: Iran's Revolutionary Guards fired off a slew of missiles today, in a military exercise. But of the weapons, there's one that U.S. and Israeli observers are examining with particular care: a 56 foot-long Shahab-3 missile, with a reported range of 1,250 miles. That's far enough to hit Israeli soil and American bases, if it works as planned.
The Shahab ("meteor") is the Iranian version of the North Korean No Dong, NightWatch notes. "The No Dong can be well made, but its guidance system is quirky. A Pakistani No Dong, called the Ghauri, which was launched from northeastern Pakistan, cork-screwed out of control and landed in southern Afghanistan once, instead of down range inside Pakistan." According to one Western analysis, half of the old-school No Dongs fired would fall outside a 3-4 kilometer radius from the aim point. As Jeffrey Lewis notes, "this is a significant inaccuracy, even for a nuclear warhead, that would limit Iran to targeting civilian populations instead of military targets. This is, of course, little comfort to folks living in the target of an attack, particularly its suburbs."
During a February 4th test, former UN weapons inspector Geoff Forden writes, "there [was] a failure of the missile’s thrust vector control system nineteen seconds into its powered flight."
update: iran missile photo faked
from danger room: Yesterday, bloggers like Gateway Pundit, Kamangir, Suitably Flip, and Little Green Footballs noticed something fishy about the picture Iran released of its mega missile launch. Some portions of the picture looked to be retreads from earlier images. Plus, the pic showed four missiles - which turned out to be one too many. Agence France-Presse, which spread the photo to the West, eventually retracted the pic for being “apparently digitally altered,” the Lede notes. But it was too late for The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune, which had already ran the image on page one. Ditto "BBC News, MSNBC, Yahoo! News, NYTimes.com and many other major news Web sites." BTW, Iran launched another missile salvo today.