Soumar

The Soumar is an Iranian ground-launched cruise missile that was officially revealed to the public on March 8, 2015. It is believed to be a continuation of the Meshkat missile that was announced by Iran in September 2012. However, the origin of the Soumar appears to be from the nuclear capable Russian Kh-55. In 2005, Ukraine acknowledged that 12 Kh-55’s (without nuclear warheads) were illegally sold to Iran in 2001 through a black market counterfeit operation.

Soumar at a Glance

Originated from: Iran
Possessed by: Iran
Class: Cruise missile
Basing: Ground-launched
Length: 7.24 m
Diameter: 0.514 m
Warhead: Conventional, possibly nuclear capable
Propulsion: Two-stage solid propellant
Range: 2,000-3,000 km
Status: Presumed Operational
In service: 2012-present

soumar

Soumar Development

Most analysts contend that the Soumar is a copy of the Russian Kh-55. One major difference in the two, however, is that the Soumar is equipped with a solid rocket booster and is thus a ground launched missile, rather than the air launched Kh-55.1 One significant point of contention is the Soumar’s range. Initially, Iran claimed that its new cruise missile had a range of 3,000 km. However, to reach that distance, the Soumar would need conformal fuel tanks, which it did not have when it was unveiled in March 2015. It is estimated that this flaw would drop the range to 2,500 km (the alleged range of the Kh-55). 2

However, there is still skepticism over this updated range. The Russian missile uses a turbofan engine that analysts believe Iran is not capable of producing themselves for the Soumar. Rather, Iran has claimed to be developing a turbojet engine called the Tolou-4, similar to the French Microturbo TRI 60-2 engine. Technically a high enough thrust on a turbojet engine, accompanied with more fuel, smaller warheads, and a more aerodynamic surface (all of which the Soumar does not have), would allow it to equal the strength of a turbofan. As such, it may be reasonable to assess that the Soumar’s range is less than 2,500 km.3

  1. Reuben F. Johnson, “Iran reveals new Soumar ground-launched cruise missile” Jane’s Defence Weekly, March 13, 2015
  2. Ibid.
  3. Jeremy Binnie, “Analysis: Iranian cruise missile unveiling raises questions about range” Jane’s Defence Weekly, March 17, 2015
    1. Reuben F. Johnson, “Iran reveals new Soumar ground-launched cruise missile” Jane’s Defence Weekly, March 13, 2015
    2. Ibid.
    3. Jeremy Binnie, “Analysis: Iranian cruise missile unveiling raises questions about range” Jane’s Defence Weekly, March 17, 2015