In June, the IRNA, the official news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran, reported that the regime had unveiled its first domestically made hypersonic ballistic missile at a ceremony attended by President Ebrahim Rahisi and commanders of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps. The report, replete with photos of the Fattah (conqueror) medium-range ballistic missile, raised concerns among Western powers. According to Iran, its high maneuverability and speed allow it to defeat all missile defense systems.
“The precision-guided Fattah hypersonic missile has a range of 1,400 km, and it is capable of penetrating all defense shields,” Amirali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guards’ aerospace force, was quoted as saying by Iranian state media.
“It can bypass the most advanced anti-ballistic missile systems of the United States and the Zionist regime, including Israel’s Iron Dome,” Iran’s state TV said.
The Fattah missile was first announced last November at an event marking the anniversary of the death of Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, known as the father of Iranian missile technology, who died in an explosion at a missile base in 2011, which also killed more than a dozen other IRGC members. Iran accused Israel’s intelligence service, the Mossad, of orchestrating the explosion.
Reports claim the Fattah is a precision-guided two-stage solid-fueled missile with a range of 1400 km and terminal speed of Mach 13 to Mach 15. Its warhead has a spherical engine running on solid fuel with a movable nozzle that allows the warhead to increase its own speed and move in all directions. According to Iran, it can maneuver in and out of the atmosphere and is capable of bypassing missile defenses. It can also target anti-ballistic missile systems to clear the way for other ballistic missiles.
The Fattah falls short of being able to cover the 2,300 km trip to Israel, but IRGC aerospace chief commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh stated that a new version of the hypersonic missile will have a greater range.
At the claimed speeds, Fattah could theoretically reach Israeli targets in under seven minutes. A media campaign featured the slogan, “400 seconds to Tel Aviv,” appearing in Persian, Hebrew and Arabic.
The only countries believed to currently have hypersonic missiles are China and Russia. The US is lagging behind in this new military hardware.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant responded to the report:
”I hear our enemies boasting about weapons they are developing,” Gallant said. “To any such development, we have an even better response – whether it be on land, in the air, or in the maritime arena, including both defensive and offensive means.”
Two weeks after Iran’s announcement, Israel’s Rafael defense company announced that it had developed an interceptor, called “Sky Sonic,” designed to down hypersonic missiles.
According to Rafael, “Sky Sonic” possesses exceptional maneuverability, representing a major technological leap. The interceptor operates above the 20-kilometer mark and below the 100-kilometer level, where hypersonic threats are active and where current air defense systems are not.
Iran has several other ballistic missiles that can reach Israel; Iran unveiled a liquid-fueled ballistic missile, dubbed “Kheibar,” named after the location of a seventh-century battle between early Islamic forces and inhabitants of a Jewish fortified oasis, resulting in the Jews being massacred. The Khaibar has a range of 2,000 km and can carry a 1,500-kilogram warhead. The two-stage solid propellant “Sejjil” missile has a range of 2,400 kilometers.
The Houthi rebels in Yemen possess the Quds 3 version of the Iranian “Soumar” cruise missile with a range of some 2,000 kilometers, putting Israel in range.
In assessing the projectile threat to Israel, it is also necessary to combine the Iranian arsenal with Hezbollah’s stockpile of over 200,000 warheads, which includes 65,000 short-range rockets and missiles with a range of 150 to 200 kilometers [93 to 124 miles], 5,000 medium-range and long-range missiles with a range of 300 to 350 kilometers [186 to 217 miles] and beyond, over 2,000 unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as tens of precision-guided missiles. Hezbollah also possesses some 145,000 mortar shells, according to estimates by the Alma Center, a defense research group.
Israeli missile defense is multi-layered, with the Arrow 3 defending against attacks originating in space, followed by the Arrow 2 defending the upper atmosphere, and the David’s Sling. For low altitude threats, Israel relies on the battle-tested Iron Dome.
It should be noted that the US is currently increasing its military presence in the Strait of Hormuz due to Iran’s threat targeting that vital shipping lane.
The War of Gog and Magog is described in prophecy as being an unusually short war. A tradition from the Vilna Gaon (a prominent 18th-century Torah authority) teaches that the war of Gog and Magog will last 12 minutes. According to a 20th-century interpretation, “A third of the world will die, a third will suffer from plague and a third will survive.”
This 18th-century prophecy of a 12-minute war was surprising, as it came several hundred years before the advent of nuclear weapons. Conventional wars necessarily last much longer and such a quick war was inconceivable at the time. Such a short war, possibly a nuclear exchange, may have been hinted at in the Bible.
At eventide behold terror; and before the morning they are not. Isaiah 17:14
Indeed, 12 minutes might be just enough time for the Iranian 400-second attack on Israel and an Israeli response. Rabbi Pinchas Winston described this aspect of the end of days in his new book, Estimated Time of Arrival. He explained that as Messiah approaches, time will seem to speed up and the main aspect of a war could indeed transpire in a few minutes.
“The way prophecy works is like two men riding in a car together,” Rabbi Winston said. “The man looking through the front windshield sees the scenery coming up and then passing by slowly. He was prepared to see the scenery pass. The man in the back seat just sees the scenery whizzing by. He is not prepared.”
“That is the way prophecy works,” he explained. “For people who study prophecy, we may not know exactly what it will look like but we are prepared for it when we see it.”
He emphasized that this is particularly true in the modern era.
“Life is being thrown at us at an alarming rate. News used to come slowly and would change slowly. Wars used to build up, take years or even decades to fight, and then wind down. Now, it is almost certain that the next major war will be nuclear. A 12-minute war or 400-second attack was unthinkable. Now, it is an imminent reality. That is the deeply troubling, even terrifying perspective based on facts and narrative.”
But Rabbi Winston insisted that a religious, prophetic perspective painted a different picture.“When a religious perspective is applied, the prophecy shows one possible outcome; ein od milvado (There is none other beside him) Deuteronomy 4:35 ,” Rabbi Winston said. “The facts are the same but we can calm down a bit, knowing that God is in charge and directing the outcome. He is even running the process. How did Iran get a hypersonic missile? God. Now that you know that, what do you think is going to happen? Plug current events into the Biblical prophecies and what do you see? There is a lot of information, a lot of news being reported. But that is background noise. When you see it all as ein od milvado, the story becomes clear.”