Shamir, head of Israel's largest defense contractor, identified the
Iranian program as the KH-55 cruise missile. The missile, supplied to
Teheran by Ukraine around 2006, was being enhanced by
Iran's Defense Ministry.
In an address to Israel's first multi-national ballistic missile defense
conference on May 5, Shamir said Iran sought to extend the range of the
missile beyond 2,500 kilometers. He said Iran also was developing an
air-launched version of KH-55.
"The pace of missile development is much faster than those of
solutions," Shamir said. "The new element is that Iran is already in space."
Tal Inbar, a director at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space
Strategic Studies, said Iran received at least 12 K-55s from Ukraine. Inbar,
who works closely with the Israel Air Force, said Iran has already displayed
a cruise missile that resembled that of the U.S.-origin Tomahawk.
"It's purpose remains unclear," Inbar said.
Officials said KH-55 represents a growing Iranian capability to
significantly enhance foreign missile systems. They cited Teheran's success
in extending the range of the North Korean No Dong missile from 1,300
kilometers to that of at least 2,100 kilometers under the Shihab-3ER
"There have been significant developments on the part of Iran," said
Arieh Herzog, director of the Defense Ministry's Israel Missile Defense