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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Iran: Building a New "Air Defense Base" in Abadeh

Red pin marks Abadeh (click on image to enlarge)
From the always amazing Fars News Agency: "Iran Starts Building Powerful Air Defense Base in South"
The Iranian military has started construction of its largest air defense base in Southern Iran, a senior commander announced on Tuesday.

Deputy Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base for Engineering Affairs Mohammad Hosseini further added that the new air defense site is built in the city of Abadeh in the Southern Fars province.

He said the air defense base is due to be built at the cost of $300mln and will have 6,000 personnel for a large array of duties, including educational ones.

Hosseini also said that the super modern air defense base will include one of the most important military training centers of the country which will be comprised of seven battalions.

Meantime, representative of Abadeh at the parliament, Rahim Zare', said "this air defense site will be the product of the achievements gained in all areas of science in the world".

Tehran launched an arms development program during the 1980-88 Iraqi imposed war on Iran to compensate for a US weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and fighter planes.

Last month, a senior Iranian air defense commander stressed that all Iranian air defense units and systems are fully prepared to repel possible enemy air raids.

"Ground-to-air missile and artillery systems of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Army are fully prepared to defend the Islamic homeland's territory," General Shahrokh Shahram said in July.
Abadeh is a small city located between some mountains out, roughly, in the middle of nowhere, right next to a whole lotta dirt. Reports indicate the site will be 200-hectares (roughly 500 acres or .77 square miles), which is pretty small to hold 6000 personnel. Medicine Bow, Wyoming, with 284 residents covers 3.5 square miles (lots of open space).

On the other hand, it lies about 80 115 miles southeast of Isfahan, where at least one of the nuclear facilities of Iran is located:
Red line shows roughly 115 miles from Abadeh to Isfahan
Esfahan [Isfahan] is said to be the primary location of the Iranian nuclear weapons program. The Nuclear Technology/Research Center in Esfahan is Iran's largest nuclear research center, and is said to employ as many as 3,000 scientists. Iran signed an agreement France in 1975 to build a nuclear research center in Isfahan, to provide training for personnel to operate the Bushehr reactor, located at the University of Isfahan. As of 1977 Iran reportedly planned to have at least one reactor and a small French-built fuel reprocessing facility in Isfahan by 1980.
Facilities includes a Miniaturized Neutron Source Reactor [MNSR] research reactor of Chinese origin with a capacity of 27 kilowatt thermal (kWt). China and Iran signed a nuclear cooperation agreement on 21 January 1990 that reportedly included the construction of a 27 MW plutonium production reactor at Isfahan. In September 1991 American satellite imagery reportedly detected initial construction activities. The open literature is rather confused as to whether the facility in question was a new 27 MW reactor, or the 27 KW miniature neutron source. Preparatory steps were taken in the mid-1990s to bring the reactor on line, although the reactor remained incomplete as of 1997. A Chinese-supplied heavy-water, zero-power research reactor is also located at the Center. Other extensive construction activity is in progress at the center, although there contradictory reports as to whether the new buildings are designed for nuclear weapons technologies.
Esfahan is also reportedly the site of Iran's largest missile assembly and production plant. This ballistic missile production facility, built with North Korean assistance, is capable of producing liquid propellants and missile structural components. According to reports published in Russia, apparently based on information developed by the Russian Federal Security Service, Esfahan is involved in the production of Scud-B and Scud-C surface-to-surface missiles by assembling components bought in North Korea and China. According to the 1995 Jane's Intelligence Review - Special Report No. 6 on Iran's weapons, North Korea helped build a "Scud Mod B" (320 km/1000 kg) assembly plant in Iran in 1988, but the plant apparently never manufactured any missiles. North Korea aided Iran in converting a missile maintenance facility into an assembly plant for the Scud Mod Cs. Other activities at this facility are reported to include R&D on unguided missiles and production of missile frames.

Esfahan is said to be one of Iran's major chemical weapons facilities, along with the facilities located at Damghan [the primary production facility], Parchin and Qazvin. Iran continues to upgrade and expand its chemical warfare production infrastructure and munitions arsenal, which includes blister, blood, choking agents, and nerve agents.

The Esfahan area is a major center for Iran's advanced defense industry, with plants for munition productions, tank overhaul, and helicopter and fixed wing aircraft maintenance. The main operational facilities for the army's aviation units are located at Esfahan, presumably at Khatamin Air Base northeast of the city.

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