Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force

Also Known As: 

Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Air Force
Air Force, IRGC (Pasdaran)
Aerospace Force of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (AFAGIR)
Aerospace Division of IRGC
IRGC Aerospace Force

Weapon Program: 

  • Missile
  • Military


Tehran, Iran

Develops and operates Iran's inventory of ballistic missiles through the IRGC Aerospace Force Self-Sufficiency Jihad Organization and the IRGC Aerospace Force al-Ghadir Missile Command; part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Responsible for air defense in tandem with Iran's regular military, according to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); serves as the primary operator of Iran's fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which receives technical support from Rayan Roshd Afzar; has deployed UAVs to Iraq and Syria.

Has operational control over the following missile systems, according to the DIA:

  • Hormuz 1 anti-ship ballistic missile
  • Hormuz 2 anti-ship ballistic missile
  • Khalij Fars anti-ship ballistic missile
  • Raad surface-to-air missile
  • Sayyad surface-to-air missile
  • Tabas surface-to-air missile
  • Third of Khordad surface-to-air missile

Reportedly has operational control over the following missile systems: 

  • Fajr short-range missile
  • Nazeat short-range missile
  • Shahab 1 short-range ballistic missile
  • Shahab 2 short-range ballistic missile
  • Shahab 3 medium-range ballistic missile
  • Zelzal missile

Has also reportedly controlled the Fateh, Qiam, and Tondar missiles; in 2019, reportedly received a delivery of Hoveizeh cruise missiles from the Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO).

Commander is Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who has made statements about Iran's development and storage of missiles underground.

Reportedly oversees the IRGC's space program; in April 2020, reportedly launched the Noor military satellite into orbit from an IRGC military base near Shahroud using a three-stage Qassed satellite launch vehicle (SLV), which reportedly comprised a Ghadr liquid-fueled ballistic missile for the first stage, a solid propellant Salman motor for the second stage, and a small kick motor for the third stage.

In 2020: reportedly struck Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. forces with ballistic missiles in retaliation for the assassination of IRGC-Qods Force Commander Qasem Soleimani; reportedly shot down a Ukrainian airliner by mistake over Iran using short-range surface-to-air missiles; and according to Iranian state media, conducted a joint military drill with other branches of the IRGC in the Persian Gulf region and the Straight of Hormuz, where it fired ballistic missiles from underground facilities.

In 2019: shot down a UAV belonging to the U.S. Armed Forces over the Persian Gulf; and according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), launched an attack with missiles and UAVs on oil refineries in Saudi Arabia, an attack the U.S. Department of State linked to Iran.

According to Iranian state media, launched a missile attack against Islamic State (ISIS) forces in Iraq in 2017.

According to the DIA, conducted a military exercise to practice air defense in 2017; in 2016, provided helicopters to the IRGC Ground Forces; operates airliners, helicopters, and military aircraft, including An-74s, Dassault Falcon 20s, EMB-312 Tucanos, IL-76s, MFI-17s, Su-22 Fitters, and Y-12s; has reportedly provided airlift capabilities and close air support to the IRGC's rapid reaction force.

Oversees Bonyad Taavon Sepah, in cooperation with other IRGC military branches; operates aircraft maintained by Pars Aviation Services Company; has cooperated with Sharif University of Technology (SUT).

Formerly commanded by Brigadier General Hossein Salami; other personnel include Brigadier General Mahmoud Bagheri Kazemabad (head of al-Ghadir Missile Command), Mohammad Agha Jafari, and Javad Bordbar Shir Amin.

Personnel reportedly include Brigadier General Ali Jafarabadi (space commander),  Brigadier General Mohammad Fallah (deputy) and Brigadier General Saeed Aghajani (commander of the unit overseeing UAVs).

Has fifteen thousand personnel; subordinate units reportedly include:

  • 5th Ra'ad Missile Brigade
  • 7th al-Hadid Missile Brigade
  • 15th Ghaem Missile Brigade
  • 19th Zulfiqar Missile Brigade
  • 23rd Towhid Missile Brigade

Established in 1985 after the division of the IRGC into an air force, army, and navy.


Designated on April 15, 2019 by the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO); the designation allows for criminal and civil penalties against those that knowingly provide support or resources to the entity, imposes financial restrictions on the entity within U.S. jurisdiction, and prohibits its members and representatives from entering the United States.

Added on June 16, 2010, to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), freezing its assets under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting transactions with U.S. parties, pursuant to Executive Order 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems; foreign parties facilitating transactions for the entity or otherwise assisting the entity are subject to U.S. sanctions; also designated pursuant to Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism and as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO); subject to the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations; foreign financial institutions facilitating transactions for the entity may be prohibited from opening or maintaining correspondent or payable-through accounts in the United States.

Listed by the European Union on June 24, 2008, as an entity of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); with some exceptions, E.U. member states must freeze assets owned or controlled by the entity, directly or indirectly, and prevent assets from being made available to it.

Sanctioned by the governments of Australia, Canada, Norway, South Korea, and Switzerland, restricting business and financial transactions with the entity and/or freezing its assets in those countries.

Listed by the Japanese government in 2020 as an entity of concern for proliferation relating to missiles.

Listed by the British government in 2012 as an entity of potential concern for WMD-related procurement but removed in 2017 after the U.K. withdrew its Iran list.

Mentioned Suspect Entities & Suppliers: 

Date Entered: 

March 6, 2009

Date Last Modified: 

August 24, 2020