Iran is Learning from Russia’s Use of Missiles in Ukraine

May 2, 2022

Weapon Program: 

  • Missile


Abdolrasool Divsallar

Author's Title: 

Non-resident Scholar


Middle East Institute

Related Country: 

  • Russia
  • Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has turned into the largest testing ground for ballistic and cruise missiles in modern warfare. According to the latest figures from a senior U.S. official as of April 29, 2022, Russia had launched more than 1,950 missiles — far more than the 955 cruise missile strikes U.S. forces carried out during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Aside from scale, the use of missiles in the Russian operation is also different from previous 21st-century wars in terms of the combination of systems employed. Russia’s missile strategy has involved the use of ballistic strikes (the Iskander and Tuchka-M), cruise launches (Kalibr), hypersonic strikes (Kinzhal), and coastal defense systems attacking ground targets (the Bastion and Bal systems). In comparison, U.S. forces in Iraq relied only on cruise strikes, using the Tomahawk BGM-109 and AGM-86 CALCAM.

In fact, it’s the first time since World War II that tactical ballistic missiles have played a major role in battle. It is not hard to imagine that militaries around the world are watching these developments carefully, and Iran is certainly no exception. With its military doctrine heavily dependent on ballistic missile forces, Iran has a particular interest in the war in Ukraine and is taking notes on Russia’s use of missiles.


Read the rest of the analysis at the Middle East Institute.