Never seen before pictures: Iran’s (blue-colored) Sayyad-2 anti-aircraft missile exposed

Since a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone was captured in Iran on Dec. 4, 2011, I’ve been a frequent visitor of Iranian news agencies, State TV and newspapers websites.

This semi-official sources have provided an interesting variety of images and videos about Iran’s military. Not only the famous photographs of the “Beast of Kandahar” and the doctored video allegedly showing the American drone landing at an Iranian airbase, but also the footage of the U.S. aircraft carrier Stennis cruising near the Strait of Hormuz, and a funny model of a Hondajet plane advertised as Tehran’s new surveillance drone.

Today, what I’ve found on the IRG website is not a photoshopped image, or a video whose authenticity is debatable, but some really interesting and genuine (at least at first glance) photographs of the Sayyad-2 anti-aircraft missile system at work.

The Sayyad-2 is an improved (and probably outwardly much similar, if not identical) version of the Sayyad-1 missile, an Iranian indigenized system of a Chinese development of the Russian S-75 (SA-2 “Guideline” in NATO designation – yes, the SAM system that brought down Francis Gary Powers and his U-2 in 1960).

The existence of this surface-to-air missile system, that according to the most authoritative sources also integrates North Korean technology, was made public in April 2011, but the one just published are, to my knowledge, the first images of the Sayyad 2 being test-fired available on the web.

According to the IRG website, the photographs were taken during  “Great Prophet 6”, an exercise that took place at the end of April, and included the test launching of the Shahab-1, Shahab-2 and Shahab-3 and Zelzal missiles.

Since then, the Sayyad has been deployed in all air-defense units across Iran. Hence, it is one of the SAM systems any U.S. or Israeli plane (either stealth or not) will have to face in case of future attack (provided that some sort of covert war on Tehran nuclear program has not started yet).

As said, the latest Iranian SAM system is a modified version of the Sayyad-1, a two-staged air defense missile capable to destroy targets with a low Radar Cross Section (RCS) flying at low, medium and very high altitude (with a claimed ceiling of 80,000 feet).

According to the data contained in a FARS news agency article published last year, the Sayyad-2 travels at 3,600 km/h (2,500 mph), has a range of 80-100 km, includes ECCM (Electronic Counter-Counter Measures) equipment and carries a 200-kilogram warhead.

And, as images show, it is colored in light-blue, a bit flashy/naive for a SAM missile that should try to remain unvisible for as long as possible.

By the way, according to the EXIF data, pictures were taken on Apr. 15 and Jun. 6, 2011.


Image source:

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.