The Tondar 69 is an Iranian short-range ballistic missile. In 1989, Iran reportedly purchased 200 M-7 (CSS-8) SRBMs with transporter-erector-launchers (TELs) from China and renamed the system Tondar 69. It is the first Iranian ballistic missile to use solid fuel.
Tondar 69 at a Glance
- Originated from
- People’s Republic of China (PRC)
- Possessed by
- Short-range ballistic missile (SRBM)
- 10.8 m
- 0.65 m (first stage), 0.5 m (second stage)
- Launch weight
- 2,650 kg
- Single warhead, 250 kg
- High explosive (HE)
- Two-stage solid propellant
- 150 km
- In service
- 1992 – present
Tondar 69 Development
The Chinese M-7 was originally designed from the Soviet S-75 surface-to-air missile (SAM). Iran reportedly purchased 200 M-7 (CSS-8) SRBMs with transporter-erector-launchers (TELs) from China 1989, and renamed the system Tondar 69 (translation: “Thunder 69”).1
As of 2012, the U.S. estimated that Iran kept approximately 200 Tondar 69 missiles and 20 TEL vehicles in service.4 The 2020 Defense Intelligence Ballistic Missile Analysis Committee report still lists the CSS-8 as an active missile in the Iranian arsenal, suggesting at least some Tondar 69 missiles are still active.5 Other sources suggest the Tondar 69 is not actively deployed because its technology is obsolete compared to newer Iranian solid-fuel missiles.6
The missile has a reported length of 10.8 m, a body diameter of 0.65 (first-stage) and 0.5 m (second-stage), and a launch weight of 2,650 kg. The missile carries a single 250 kg high-explosive warhead. A two-staged missile, the Tondar 69 has a maximum range of a 150 km and uses solid-fuel. It employs inertial navigation system (INS) guidance with command updates.7
The Tondar 69 entered service in 1992. Reports indicate that Iranian leaders were unsatisfied with the missile, with most pointing to its poor accuracy and light warhead.8 Iran subsequently began development of the Fateh-110 SRBM, which also uses solid-fuel.9
- “Tondar 69,” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. Jane’s C O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2016), 50.
- “Iran Tests Missiles Amid Nuclear Tension,” CNN, September 27, 2009, http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/09/27/iran.missile.test/index.html?eref=onion.
- “Iran Missile Milestones: 1985-2016,” Iran Watch, July 13, 2016, http://www.iranwatch.org/our-publications/weapon-program-background-report/iran-missile-milestones-1985-2016.
- Steven Hildreth, “Iran’s Ballistic Missile and Space Launch Programs,” Congressional Research Service, 64, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/R42849.pdf.
- National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat (Wright Patterson Air Force Base, OH: NASIC Public Affairs Office, 2020), 17, https://media.defense.gov/2021/Jan/11/2002563190/-1/-1/1/2020%20BALLISTIC%20AND%20CRUISE%20MISSILE%20THREAT_FINAL_2OCT_REDUCEDFILE.PDF.
- The International Institute for Strategic Studies, Open-Source Analysis of Iran’s Missile and UAV Capabilities and Proliferation (East Sussex: Hastings Print, April 2021), 15.
- Jane’s Weapons: Strategic, 50-51.
- Anthony Cordesman & Martin Kleiber, Iran’s Military Forces and Warfighting Capabilities: The Threat in the Northern Gulf, (USA: CSIS, 2007), 152, https://books.google.com/books?id=ReHSixF6ax8C&pg=PA152&lpg=PA152&dq=Tondar+69&source=bl&ots=hSemmPWxyp&sig=eoaX2YkzOQkblqFpfxJZ4bfVYPI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiT9vn6krTWAhXJgFQKHVETA_o4ChDoAQg0MAI#v=onepage&q=Tondar%2069&f=false.
- Jane’s Weapons: Strategic, 51.