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site. There are four Skyguard 35mm AAA systems each with two Oerlikon GDF 35mm cannons and multiple single 35mm and 23mm sites forming a haphazard outer ring.
Iranian Military Capability 2011
4. Naval Forces
Open Source Intelligence Project
Independent and objective analysis of current Iranian military capability using open-source non-classified information. Assessments and views expressed represent those of the authors and are not affiliated with any special interest group or political agenda.
About the Project
The Open Source Intelligence Project 2011 is an attempt to draw together the most salient bits of currently available Open Source material to piece together a broad and largely complete analysis of Iranian military capability. Open Source refers to unclassified, public sources. The co-authors and reviewers come from a wide range of backgrounds, including in some cases extensive military intelligence experiences and/or relevant specialist knowledge. However, their primary connection is an appreciation and active participation in the Open Source intelligence scene. All those involved have contributed on an amateur/civilian basis. Some have requested to remain anonymous, for various reasons, which we must respect. The project was started in April 2010 and took months of writing, research, drafts and revisions to make it into the form you are reading. We have attempted to provide a single text that will be easy to navigate and digest. However, it is the work of multiple people and this may be apparent in different writing styles and minor formatting differences. We apologize for this, but believe it is inevitable in this type of undertaking. We hope that you find the document interesting and informative – we are hopeful that there is some information and analysis which although open source in nature, is fresh and stimulating to even a highly informed reader.
Co-Authors (This Section, no order)
· · ‘TLAM Strike’ (pseudonym) Anonymous (1)
Main Reviewer/Contributor (This Section)
· · Anonymous (2) Anonymous (3)
Additional Reviewing Pool (No order)
Sean O’Connor Anonymous (4) Galan Wright
4. Naval Forces
History: Iran's navy has though out its history been considered the most minor of its military branches, although it has existed since 500 BC. During the Achaemenid Empire (650-330 BC), the Iranian Navy was very powerful. Its operation to invade Greece under Xerxes easily ranks with the Spanish Armada or Operation Overlord (the “D-Day” invasion) in terms of size, scope and preparation. Its defeat at Salamis by the Athenian navy under Themistocles is one of the critical moments in the Current Iranian Navy formation of western culture, although most only know of this battle is from images of storm tossed Jack ships in the movie “300” about the battle of Thermopylae. The modern Iranian Navy has been plagued by a history of poor organization and limited mission scope until the mid 20th century. Under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi the Iranian Navy began a modernization campaign drawing equipment from the western powers that resulted in the creation of the top navy in the Region. In 1970 Iran acquired the WWII vintage British warship HMS Sluys a modified Battle class destroyer, this ship was recommissioned as the Artemiz. Despite her age this vessel was the most powerful ship operated by any nation in the region, she joined the four PF-103 class vessels already operated by Iran since the early 1960s. The next year the first Saam class Frigate (latter renamed Alvand class) joined the Iranian Navy, these were the first high quality vessels to be operated by the Iranians. As built they carried five Italian Sea Killer Anti-Shipping Missiles (ASMs), a British Seacat Surface to Air Missile (SAM) system and a Squid Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) mortar. As the standards of the time went, these were all advanced weapons. The Saams could easily dominate the Gulf or Sea of Oman and operate well in to the Indian Ocean with its Refueling At Sea capability. During this time, the United States also begin providing naval weapons to Iran. Two 1950's vintage Tang class submarine were sold to Iran- USS Trout and USS Wahoo, two more were to follow including USS Tang. Crews for the IINS Kousseh and IINS Nahang, as they were to be named, were trained at the US Navy Submarine School at New London, Connecticut. While at the end of their useful lives, these vessels t would still have provided substantial operational training experience for the Iranians. These submarines never left the U.S. Their crews who were led by royalists, abandoned them when the Shah fell. The U.S. also provided even older Gearing and Allen M. Sumner class destroyers at this time and several Vietnam-era inshore patrol boats. By the late 1970's, the Iranians received a large group of La Combattante-class missile boats armed with the U.S. Harpoon anti-ship missile. Entrusting such a weapon to Iran clearly showed how much the US valued Iran at this time. Four modified Spruance-class destroyers were laid down in U.S. shipyards for Iran, but never delivered. These vessels, which were later called the Kidd-class were to be fitted with the latest weapons systems and were optimized for operations in the Gulf. These were to serve as escorts for a light aircraft carrier equipped with U.S.-manufactured AV-8B Harrier VTOL attack aircraft. German Type 209 submarines were also to be purchased. The only part of this ocean-going strike force that actually made it into Iranian service was the British built replenishment vessel Kharg. When the Shah fell and the current Islamic Republic was created, western support for Iran decreased . The majority of warship transfers were halted; those that were actually transferred were either unarmed auxiliaries or patrol boats with
4 missile systems removed. Iran’s new leaders distrusted the existing military leadership. Arrests and executions of Iranian naval officers suspected of harboring loyalties to the Shah resulted in massive disruptions to the navy's command structure. Moreover, the creation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN, more formally known as the Navy of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution took over part of the naval mission of the Iranian navy, creating a schism in Iran’s naval operational efforts. With the IRGCN’s loyalties perceived as being higher than the regular navy, the Iranian government has continued to favor it over the navy in funding and new equipment. Sensing weakness in Iran, neighboring Iraq invaded, starting an eight- year war that had dramatic consequences for the world. From the start, the Iranian navy was engaged in sporadic fighting, mostly shelling Iraqi forces as they advanced. On November 28, 1980 Iran launched Operation Morvarid. Iranian ships (two missile boats and six amphibious transport vessels) attacked two Iraqi oil rigs that were being Current Iranian Naval Ensign. used as observation posts, destroying them. These ships went on to blockade Iraqi It is the same as their ports. The Iraqi navy responded by dispatching five Osa missile boats and four P-4 national flag torpedo boats. In the resulting skirmish, one Iranian missile boat was sunk, while two Iraqi Osas were sunk and two MiG-23s shot down by missile and gun fire. Iranian air force jets arrived on-scene and destroyed the remaining Iraqi vessels. In the air, the battle was just as one sided, one Iranian Phantom being damaged and another downed, while one helicopter, one MiG-21 and four MiG-23s being downed by F-4 and F-14s. Eighty percent of the Iraqi navy was lost on that day, November 28th, which as a result, is celebrated as Navy Day in Iran. The next phase of the Iran-Iraq war forced the west to directly intervene in the region. In an attempt to disrupt the flow of currency to Iraq, Iranian air and sea forces began to conduct attacks on merchant ships departing Iraq and Kuwait. This operation became known in the west as “The Tanker War” and by the end in 1987, 546 ships had been damaged or sunk and over 320 sailors killed missing or wounded. Iranian forces utilized a variety of methods against the merchant vessels in the region. Naval weapons used during this time ranged from high-tech anti-ship missiles to low-tech mines. Mines proved to be the most effective of all: the U.S. forces in the Gulf which had begun escorting convoys from Kuwait as part of Operation Ernest Will had few countermeasures. U.S. forces spotted the Japanese-built landing ship Iran Ajr was laying mines in the Gulf; U.S. helicopters strafed the ship causing the crew to abandon her. U.S. Naval Special Warfare (SEALs) forces boarded her the next day securing evidence of the mining operation, capturing her crew and then scuttling the ship. Following several clashes between U.S. forces and Iranian Boghammars and Boston Whalers the conflict reached a climax, when USS Samuel B. Roberts struck a mine in the Gulf. U.S. forces retaliated with Operation Praying Mantis. The first target were the two Iranian oil platforms Saan and Siri, which were both destroyed. The Iranian Navy began dispatching ships from Bandar Abbas, but these ships left one at a time, leaving themselves vunerable to being easily intercepted and picked off by U.S. forces. First the missile boat Joshan exchanged fire with a U.S. Task Force and was sunk. Second, the frigate Sahan was sunk after it fired on a U.S. A-6E strike aircraft with a SAM. Finally, the frigate Sabalan was severely damaged in a U.S. air strike. Additionally, an Iranian Boghammar was destroyed and another damaged. The last major incident of the Tanker War occurred on July 3, 1988. This incident still looms over U.S.-Iranian relations today. USS Vincennes and USS Montgomery investigated a call from a Pakistani merchant ship that was under attack by Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ boats. The Vincennes's helicopter was dispatched ahead of the surface ships which had spotted 13 Iranian gunboats. The helicopter was fired upon and two gunboats turned towards the U.S. warships. At this time, an Iranian Navy P-3F Orion was observed in the area. During the resulting firefight an Airbus passenger jet, Iran Air
5 655, was misidentified as a Iranian Air Force F-14 Tomcat fighter and engaged with a missile resulting in the loss of 300 civilians. Following the Iran-Iraq war, the Iranian navy began taking delivery of vessels and weapons from new sources. Between 1992 and 1996, Iran received three Russian Kilo-class submarines. These added a major new capability to the Iranian Navy, at the time being highly capable and modern, with weapons that could destroy any warship encountered. Training of crews, however, proved difficult since the crews trained in the U.S. for Iran's three Tang class submarines remained in the U.S. It would take a decade before Iranian crews became proficient with these submarines, by which time they were mostly obsolete. The 1990s also saw China become a major supplier of naval equipment to Iran. Ten Houdong-class missile boats were delivered to the IRGCN. China also provided one of the most significant Iranian acquisitions at that time, the C-802 anti ship missile. These weapons were based on the French Exocet missile and highly capable. Different variants are available, including surface (land or sea) launched, air-launched, and submarine- launched (via torpedo tubes). By the 2000s Iran, had started construction of a new warship class named Mowj. This frigate took eight years to finish and provided little added capabilities over its predecessors. A indigenous submarine program also began at this time utilizing North Korean expertise. So far, seven Ghadir class midget submarines have been launched. A single Nahang submarine has also been built and appears to be mostly of Iranian design. Rear Admiral Habiballah Sayyari. Source: İslâmi Davet Production of North Korean fast attack craft has resulted in two News classes being fielded by the IRGCN, the Peykapp and Tir, and series of novel semi-submersible torpedo boats.
4. 1.1 Organization
Naval assets of Iran are split between the Navy and the naval section of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGCN). In general the Navy operates the larger assets and operates in a ‘conventional navy’ model, whereas the IRGCN operates smaller craft in an ‘Asymmetrical’ doctrine. Whilst the Navy is generally better equipped, the IRGCN is growing more rapidly and catching up in many areas. Although most major naval exercises feature units from both forces, many observers Rear Admiral Ali Morteza Saffari, commander of the believe that inter-service rivalry persists and for the most part they operate IRGCN. Source Uskowi on Iran Blog independently, duplicating capabilities and splitting command. The Navy is built on assets purchased from the west before the revolution, primarily from Britain, US and France. More recently they have purchased submarines from USSR/Russia and have slowly been inducting locally designed and built units into service. The IRGCN by comparison made major acquisitions from China and North Korea, and operates mostly locally produced craft. Currently the Navy is commanded by Rear Admiral Habiballah Sayyari, and the IRGCN by Rear Admiral Ali Morteza Saffari. Since 2007 the Navy has transferred responsibility for all naval operations in the Persian Gulf and Straits of Hormuz, although the Navy still operate there.
A. Persian Gulf and Straits of Hormuz. IRGCN primarily responsible B. Gulf Of Oman, Arabian Sea and northern Indian Ocean down to 10 degrees parallel. Navy primarily responsible C. Southern Caspian Sea (Approx 20% of water mass). Navy primarily responsible
The Iranian navy has six enlisted ranks and eleven officer ranks. The IRGCN has nine enlisted ranks and eleven officer ranks. The reasons for this disparity is not entirely clear, but may have to do with IRGC personnel being considered more “politically reliable” and subject to promotion more frequently.
There are 18,000 current personnel in the Iranian Navy, who are divided up in to three divisions of service, 13,400 are in the surface and subsurface Navy, 2,600 are Marines, and 2,000 are in Aviation. The IRGCN has slightly more personnel than the navy with 20,000. Their personnel are not as highly trained and mostly operate small coastal boats. Iranian sailors can be identified by their white uniforms similar to the US Navy summer officer's uniforms. However Iranian enlisted sailors also wear white uniforms albeit without shoulder boards. Enlisted sailors wear red chevrons with no indication of rate. Duty uniforms are tan khakis for surface sailors, while submariners wear light blue shirts and blue/black pants, a ship's crest can be found on the left breast. The Iranian Navy and Marines have their officers training academy in the city of Sirjan. The academy is split in to a northern and southern facility and includes a nearby monument, a building made to look like a Kaman class missile boat. There are firing ranges south of the city possibly for small arms training.
4.1.2 Recent and Current Operations
On August 22, 2006 the Iranian navy attacked a Romanian oil rig in the Persian Gulf and took control of it. News reports say this was by the Iranian Navy but such actions would more likely be conducted by the IRGCN. In late 2007 an Iranian Kilo class submarine surfaced half a mile from the Missile Cruiser USS Vicksburg which was said to be operating in the Persian Gulf at the time. Some reports say that two Kilo submarines surfaced near the Vicksburg. On January 6, 2008 IRGCN small boats confronted US Navy warships in the Strait of Hormuz. In 2008 Iranian navy forces participated in joint exercises with the Pakistani Navy. Iran has deployed warships on anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden on five occasions since 2008. According to İslâmi Davet news and Information Dissemination the first patrol was by 6 vessels including one frigate, the second was by two vessels including the tanker Bandar Abbas and the “Destroyer Shahid Naqdi” (this maybe the water tanker Sahid Marjani, or the Corvette Nghdi). The third patrol's vessels were the tanker Khark and the Frigate Sabalan. The fourth patrol was by the frigate Alborz and the tanker Bushehr. The fifth fleet dispatched is yet unknown, however the Frigate Alborz participated in at least two of the deployments. These patrols are not coordinated with NATO forces operating on similar patrols in that region. Iranian officials have stated that these patrols are to safeguard Iranian shipping passing though the region, these patrols began after the hijacking of the Iranian chartered vessel MV Delight.
4.1.3 Strengths and Weaknesses
22.214.171.124 Relative Strengths
Iran has among the largest littoral combat fleets with in excess of 50 missile boats and hundreds more MLRS, mine laying and gun boats. Most of these are operated by IRGCN. The primary aim of this fleet is to enable Iran to “close the Straits” thus blocking the major oil route. The economic and geo-political implications of this have been widely discussed and it remains a plausible military strategy. As well as preventing passage of oil tankers through the Straits of Hormuz, this would include harassing attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf, attacks on oil rigs and oil transfer facilities and potentially attacks on shipping in the Gulf of Oman and MIL-42 high speed patrol craft passing in front of a SINA Arabian Sea. Relative to when similar tactics were employed class missile boat. In the foreground is a kayak used by special forces Commando for sabotage raids during the Iran-Iraq war, Iran is now vastly more capable of carrying out such a mission and its vast fleet of small missile craft and fast mine-layers represents a serious threat even to sophisticated navies. Iran’s massive investment in shore-launched anti-ship missiles poses a serious threat to shipping and warships, as demonstrated by the Hezbollah attack on an Israeli warship in 2006 using Iranian supplied systems. Iran’s three Kilo-class submarines represent a significant anti-shipping threat in the Sea of Oman and Indian Ocean, and are a capability beyond many otherwise comparable navies.
126.96.36.199 Relative weaknesses
Iran is a ‘brown water’ navy with few ships capable of ocean-going military operations. Consequently Iran does not practice such operations with any frequency. Iranian warships are almost universally poorly equipped to counter air attack with no modern SAM systems fitted. In general terms the Iranian navy is years behind almost every other similar sized navy in this regard. This is despite losing two warships to US aircraft and missiles in ‘Operation Praying Mantis’ in 1988, and despite having opportunity to purchase relevant systems from China and Russia during the 1990s. The Iranian navy is also relatively underequipped to conduct anti-submarine warfare. Iranian port facilities are generally well placed for offensive operations in the Gulf but more so represent easy targets for enemy cruise missile and air attack. Geographically Iran lacks the reach to employ its naval assets to attack Israel, a key potential adversary.
188.8.131.52 Comparison to nearby navies
Iran’s navy is significantly behind many regional navies in terms of larger warships, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia fielding larger and more capable Frigates. Oman too has the edge in blue-water operations. Iran’s one strength in the blue-water arena is its three Kilo-Class submarines, which are only matched by larger navies of which Pakistan’s and Israel’s are the nearest. Iran does however have much larger and more capable littoral combat assets than any of its neighbors and is only really rivaled by Pakistan, Russia and Israel in overall terms. The latter is least relevant since the countries are too far apart for their littoral combat assets to play much part. Going beyond Iran’s neighbors, Western navies also operate significant assets in the region. The US and European navies far out-gun Iran particularly in blue-water combat.
184.108.40.206 Asymmetric warfare capability
Iran invests heavily in asymmetrical warfare capabilities both as a show of defiance against the larger and more capable US and Israel, and as a practical military strategy. Naval forces play a major part in this, particularly the IRGCN. General asymmetrical tactics identified: Use of small missile or torpedo fast attack craft (FAC) to attack warships and tankers in approaches to the Straits of Hormuz, in the Straits themselves or in the Persian Gulf Use of MLRS equipped small craft to harass and disable tankers in the straits of Hormuz or Persian Gulf Use of small fast craft to lay floating mines directly in path of warships or tankers Use of mobile shore-launched anti-ship missiles to damage or sink warships and tankers near to Iranian Coast Use of midget submarines to lay mines, deploy combat swimmers or torpedo warships and tankers in the Persian Gulf Supply of shore based anti-ship missiles and/or FAC to Hezbollah and Syria for use against Israel in the event of open hostilities Boarding and capture of tankers or less well armed military vessels in Persian Gulf Attacks on oil rigs and oil facilities by MLRS equipped small craft Sowing of mines in Straits of Hormuz and Persian Gulf Sabotage missions by combat divers in ports along the Persian Gulf or possibly Israel Use of shore based heavy MLRS to harass and damage passing ships in Straits of Hormuz Use of explosive motor boats to ram and sink vessels
IRGCN RIB-33 MLRS craft practice attacking a mock tanker with 107mm rockets in 2010. Source FARS
220.127.116.11.1 MLRS Craft
Iran is one of the few countries to employ MLRS as an offensive anti-ship weapon. The tactic was first used out of economy in the Iran-Iraq war but also possibly influenced by the similarly equipped North Korean Navy. MLRS mounted on small craft are generally inaccurate and lack the single-hit firepower of anti-ship missiles or torpedoes, but can seriously damage unarmed civilian traffic and certainly deter ships from sailing. In some situations they could set the ship on fire or disable key machinery, but are unlikely to actually sink a large civilian ship such as an oil tanker. Although some exercises suggest the use of a flotilla of MLRS craft in a single attack, a Generic MLRS attack on tanker by two more typical engagement model would likely be a few such craft approaching small craft the transiting tanker and firing their rockets from about 500m away, slowing down to about 1.5 times the target’s speed and weaving to allow alternate craft to fire whilst the other reload. Most MLRS craft use the 107mm Haseb rocket (Chinese 'Type-63') but some, such as the C-14 class carry the larger BM-21 122mm system. Early MRLS craft had their rockets mounted such that they could only be fired to the sides, but more recent designs nearly always position them on the cabin roof firing forwards. Although estimates of MLRS craft numbers are difficult from open source evidence, the common understanding is that numbers operated continues to grow even with the oldest units being retired.
18.104.22.168.2 Explosive Motor Boats
MLRS craft are likely employed as cover for explosive motor boat or torpedo boat attacks. Iran operates a small and poorly documented fleet of explosive motor boats which ram their targets to deliver a larger warhead than would be carried by a missile or torpedo. Although characterized as ‘Suicide boats’ these are quite unlike the recent Al Qaeda suicide boat attacks where the pilots are martyred in the attack, but rather are professional special forces craft where the pilot escapes before impact by means of a jet ski. The jet ski . This is carried in the tail of the craft necessitating a specialized boat design. In many respects these craft are the modern equivalent of the Explosive Motor Boats used by the Italian X-MAS in WWII.
22.214.171.124.3 Midget Submarines
Another major focus is the rapid expansion of Iran’s midget submarine fleet in Persian Gulf. The main type is the IS-120 Ghadir class originally imported from North Korea, of which at least 11 are in service. The IS-120 is the export version of the MS-29 Yono class which is often attributed with the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan in March 2010.
2 newly delivered IS-120 Ghadir Class midget submarines in Bostanu, summer 2010. Source IRNA.
The IS-120s are ideal for limited operations in the Persian Gulf which is too shallow for Iran’s Kilo Class submarines to operate effectively. The Ghadir carries two 533mm torpedoes which are capable of disabling or sinking even large warships including carriers. The midget submarines’ low maximum speed and weak sensor fit make them unsuitable for hunting other submarines, but they can pose a very serious threat to any vessels in the Persian Gulf if employed professionally.
126.96.36.199.4 Mine Laying
Iran has a large number of mines and an increasing array of delivery means making them likely more effective than when Iran employed them in the Iran-Iraq war. Western navies have made advances in mines countermeasures but they remain a serious threat. Iran has experimented the tactic of using small craft to lay mines directly in the path of warships as demonstrated in a mock attack on a passing US warship. The viability of this tactic is open to question against warships which could easily deter or sink the small craft with gunfire, but would be effective against oil tankers which cannot maneuver easily. Because of their large warheads mines, like
Iranian marines practice sowing moored mines. Source FARS
torpedoes, have a very real potential to sink even large ships.
188.8.131.52.5 Fast Attack Craft (FAC)
Iran continues to expand its already large fleet of missile craft and torpedo boats. Many of these craft are generally smaller than FACs used by other navies and carry much smaller missiles which are less capable of sinking ships. Where torpedoes are carried (often in conjunction with missiles), they are lightweight torpedoes which are also generally unlikely to sink larger ships. Notable excepts include the Tir class and Tarlan class torpedo boats which can carry heavyweight torpedoes including the Russian supplied Shkval (‘Hoot’) rocket torpedo. The relatively poor sea keeping,
12 and short range missiles with limited over-the-horizon targeting capability makes these craft only really effective within the confines of the Persian Gulf. In that arena however the sheer number of craft makes them a very real threat. To counter this threat it has been hypothesized (and to an extent practiced) that ship board helicopters armed with light anti-ship missiles such as Penguin, AS-15-TT or Sea Skua can Bavar class missile/torpedo boat typical of Iran's rapidly usually sink the approaching fast attack craft before they fire expanding FAC fleet. Source FARS their missiles. Similarly land based attack helicopters armed with rockets and anti-tank missiles would pose a viable alternative, as would multi-purpose rockets with sub-munitions. This offers an effective counter to Iranian FACs when encountered in small numbers by navies equipped with suitable helicopters, but the sheer size of Iran FAC fleet makes this a much harder task.
Iran has occupied several small islands on the northern approaches (ie Persian Gulf side) of Straits of Hormuz. These are heavily fortified with air strips, SAM/AAA sites and port facilities for small craft. They are likely launch sites for shore based anti-ship missiles.
Summary table of Combatants:
Figures in orange are estimates as of September 2010. Excludes MLRS and similar light craft
Expected near-term changes
· · An additional Mowj class corvette is believed to be under construction for service in the Caspian Sea, with launch expected in 2011. 2011 is likely to see the continued building of Ghadir Class midget submarines with year-end 2011 figures of between 12 and 15
Paltus class, Project 877EKM (NATO Designation: KILO Class)
Vessels: Tareq 901 Nuh 902 Yunes 903 Specifications: Displacement: 2,325 tons surfaced/ 3,076 tons dived. Length 72.6 m Beam 9.9 m Speed: 17 knots Range: 6,000 nm at 7 knots (Snorkeling). 400 nm without snorkeling Max depth: 300 m Endurance: 45 days. Crew: 12 officers, 41-45 enlisted Weapons: 6x 533mm torpedo tubes 18 torpedoes or 24 mines.
Iranian KILO Class SSK. Source FARS
The Kilo is an advanced medium range submarine designed by the Soviet Union’s Rubin design bureau under chief designer Yuri N. Kormilitsin, the first submarine B-248 was put in to commission on September 12, 1980. Meant to replace the older Whiskey, Romeo and Foxtrot class submarines it has been exported 6 nations with others interested in the purchase of units. Three shipyards in Russia build the Kilo, Komsomol’sk in the Far East, Sudomekh & Admiralty in St. Petersburg, and Krasnoye Sormovo in Nizhniy Novgorord, formerly Gor’kiy (interestingly the last shipyard is thousands of miles from the sea on the Volga River. The subs are transported north by barge to the White Sea). Paltus is the Russian name for the Turbot a species of well camouflaged flat fish found in shallow areas of the North Atlantic, the Med, Black and Baltic seas. Iran has three of these submarines, Tareq was commissioned on Nov 21 1992, Nuh was commissioned on June 6 1993 and Yunes was commissioned on Nov 25 1996. Between 1992 and 1993 the Russian submarine B-402 was stationed in Iran to provide assistance in training Iranian crews. Tareq underwent a refit in Bandar Abbas in mid 2005, the Russian shipyard Sevmash provided technical assistance. One of the other two Kilos appears to be drydocked in recent Google Earth images indicating a possible refit. These submarines when delivered from Russia had several problems mainly their battery system did not function optimally in the hot climate. Reportedly India which operates a number of modified 877 class Kilos provided new batteries for Iran's Kilos. The Kilo features a double hull design which is different from most western submarine designs, the inner pressure hull protects the crew and equipment while the outer hydrodynamic hull provides a smooth and streamlined shape for operating dived. Between the two hulls are the submarine's ballast tanks and fuel tanks. This double hull design provides
15 exceptional reserve buoyancy in keeping with the Russian doctrine of Surfaced Unsinkabilty, that is if the submarine is surfaced or shallow and it takes damage the submarine retains sufficient buoyancy that is can surface. The Kilo has over 30% reserve buoyancy meaning it can lose one compartment and its adjoining ballast tanks and still surface. The hull of the Kilo is covered with “Cluster Guard” anechoic tiles which both absorb sonar pings and absorb own ship self noise. Noticeable features on the hull include a Red and White distress buoy which is ejected from a disabled submarine to mark its position for rescuers. Several limber holes which allow water to flood in to the space between the two hulls, once dived the holes are sealed with small doors. Fin features an enclosed navigation bridge intended for surface transits in harsh weather (this could include sandstorms found in the Persian Gulf.) and three navigation lights. The forward part of the sail contains the HF mine avoidance sonar. The fin is free flooding so when the submarine is dived it is filled with water. Three hatches allow access to the interior of the submarine, one is located in the torpedo bay, the second is inside the fin exiting in the Central Command Post the last is on the aft deck and exits in the engineering spaces. The Kilo is equipped with the following 2 Type 4-2AA-42M turbocharged diesel generator sets, 2 PG-141M electric motors, 1 MT-140 electric low-speed motor, 2 MT-168 internal electric creep motors, 2 ducted props. 1 6 blade propeller. The Kilo is fitted with an MGK-400 Cylindrical sonar in her bow. The system is a hybrid digital and analog system that features 7 stacks of analog hydrophones in a truncated cone arrangement. It is capable of both passive detection and active transmissions along with a HF mine avoidance capability (Mouse Roar MG-519 system) and an active sonar intercept capability against transmissions between 1-60 kHz. This system provides a estimated detection range of 6 nm in the active mode and 9 nm in the passive mode. The system can track two contacts automatically and one contact manually. Contact classification is provided by a narrow-band digital signal processing DEMON (DeModulated Noise) system, that extracts data on contact propeller blade rate and hull flow noise. The system has a Hydroacoustic communications capability (AKA Underwater Telephone or 'Gertrude'). The Kilo also has a MG-553 sound-velocity measurement system and a MG-512 self-cavitation measurement system. Iranian Kilo’s are likely with the mast mounted MRM-25EM “Squid Head” Electronic Support Measures (ESM) system but are not thought to be equipped with the 6701E “Quad Loop” Direction Finding (DF) system found on Russian boats. The Kilo is fitted with a mast mounted Radar system for navigation and target acquisition. The system is either a MRP-25 “Snoop Tray” or MRK-50 Albatros' “Snoop Tray 2”. Maximum ranges are 15 and 20 nm respectively. The Snoop Tray system interfaces with the “Leningrad” torpedo control system to generate firing solutions on target ships. These submarines are equipped with torpedo auto loaders with both reduce crew requirements and speed weapon loading time. Torpedo tubes 5 and 6 are capable of firing wire guided torpedoes such as the Russian TEST-71. Tubes 1 and 2 can be configured to fire encapsulated anti-ship cruise missiles, some reports indicate that at least one Kilo has been so fitted and is armed with the Sagheb cruise missile a version of the C-801. A MANPADS SAM launcher can be fired from the submarine's fin and is stored in a locker in the fin.
16 Iranian videos on YouTube show at least one of the Kilos is in good shape, most of its equipment still appears to be standard Soviet/Russian issue. Compared to contemporary western submarines this equipment appears exceedingly primitive. The Kilos are very large submarines designed for distant patrols in the North Sea and GIUK Gap, as a result their utility in the Persian Gulf is very limited The length of the Kilo can be greater than the depth of the water in some areas of the Gulf. They run the risk of being spotted by air in the shallow waters or not having a thermocline layer to hide Iranian Kilo Class Sub on surface. Source FARS under during war or being run over by a surface ship on accident. The operational area of these submarines would probably be in the Gulf of Oman where the water can reach sufficient depths to provide a layer to hide under. The Kilo's range also allows operations as far as the Red Sea or the coast of India. A major concern for the Iranian navy must be the “compromised” nature of the technology aboard the Kilo. US allies Poland and Romania each operate a Kilo class submarine. It can be assumed that US technical experts have thoroughly examined this submarines both in dock and during NATO exercises such as the annual BALTOPS exercise.
IS-120 Gahdir class midget submarine
Vessels: A total of 11 are likely operational with more building. Known hull numbers: Ghadir 945 Ghadir 946 (?) Ghadir 947 Ghadir 948 Specifications: D: 120 tons S: 11 kts Suf/ 8 kts sub. Dim: 29 meters long, 2.75 meters wide Maximum Depth: Unknown Range: Unknown, short range. ARMAMENT: 2 x533mm torpedo tubes. Mines in lieu of torpedoes Shoulder launched SAMs (As reported by the commander of one submarine) ELECTRONICS: Radar: I Band Surface Search or Navigation.
Iranian produced IS-120 sub pre-launch. Source ISNA.
17 Sonar: Active/Passive Sonar EW: ESM Possible but would most likely be of minimal functionality suitable for RDF or Radar Warning. White cones on Snorkel and one mast may be part of a radar warning system. Crew: around 5 crew, as high as 7 seen inside. Machinery: Diesel engine and electric motor. 1 Five blade prop. 1 four blade shrouded auxiliary propeller in pop-out outboard position. Arguably the IRGC-N’s most capable and important assets, the type is a North Korean designed midget sub supplied in mid 2000’s and now locally produced in Iran in significant numbers. The IS-120 is the export form of the MS-29 Yono although slight differences exist. This submarine gets its name from the Shia holy day Eid al-Ghadeer which commemorates the anniversary of the Islamic prophet Muhammad's last sermon at Ghadir Khumm (a wadi in Saudi Arabia) on the 18th day of Dhu al-Hijjah (the last month of the Islamic Calendar). These subs appear to be commanded by Lt (J.G.)s. There is a towing lug (bullnose)on the bow below the water line. This maybe for towing the boat behind a surface ship to its target or could be for more mundane uses around harbors. An extendable ‘outboard’ secondary propeller is located forward of the main propeller, this could be used for station keeping, quiet operation, or as a backup in case the main propeller is damaged. The aft control surfaces are similar to the North Korean P4 class and MS-29 class. On the forward deck houses a Russian style marker buoy (red and white sphere), a vertical cylinder protected by roll bars which is thought to be a may be a sonar array and a long horizontal cylindrical watertight storage locker. The locker is accessed at the front end and likely contains equipment for combat swimmers that cannot easily be carried inside the submarine such as diver propulsion devices.
Google Earth Image showing IS-120 Production facility in Bandar-e-Abbas. with nearly completed sub. The date of the image is about 1 month after an IS-120 was shown being launched from the same facility. The pier on the bottom right of the larger image is the IRN submarine pier which typically has the Kilo and active Ghadir subs present.
2 IS-120 subs moored at the new submarine base near Bostanu. Source IRNA. A photo exists of a smaller version of the Ghadir with conventional control surfaces and prominent sonar array on the bow. This may also be a giant model perhaps for hydrodynamic testing. A similar model has been shown in parades. The equipment installed is somewhat modern compared to the Kilo submarines although power limitations will reduce the capability of sonar relative to the larger boat. Digital displays are utilized at stations, but many of the screens are old fashions CRT type rather than flat-screen. Video evidence has in the past been taken North Korean MS-29 Yono class to suggest that an autopilot may be installed, as it showed the entire crew at prayer with none at the submarine's controls. More recent analysis suggests that the boat is stationary and surfaced (likely tied up in port) at the time as the main crew access is open. The sail of the submarine appears to be steel and is riveted. Four color schemes have been displayed, the most common is the green one, there is a light blue and a near-black scheme. According to the commander of vessel, these submarines can get underway in 4 minutes, which is not unusual. Sound damping is probably poor on these subs due to their small size the sound rafting of heavy equipment and even entire decks found on larger submarines would be impractical. However if the sub was bottomed with most equipment shut down its small size would make detection difficult. The small size also limits patrol time since their appears to be little space for crew necessities such as a galley or bunks. These subs are no doubt well-suited for operations in the Gulf where shallow waters make operations of large submarines hazardous.
Many details of the IS-120’s internal layout are known within the Open Source Intelligence community, with new understandings gained almost daily. The design is single-hulled with the 19.2m pressure hull situated centrally, with main ballast tanks (than likely trim tanks) ahead and aft of it. The control room is slightly aft of center with the main crew access just in front of the connecting door. The crew access hinges to port, with a twin sink for washing opposite it on the starboard side. In the sail, an electro-optical ‘periscope’ and radar mast are arranged in tandem aft of this access hatch. These do not retract into the pressure hull unlike most submarines which limits the height that they can be raised. Behind the sail is a telescopic snort mast (‘snorkel’) which folds back into an opening in the rear decking. This is also used to mount several aerials. Some evidence suggests that there may be a bow-thruster behind the forward hydroplanes but this is unconfirmed.
Ghadir class under construction, 2009. Source ISNA
Nahong (Whale) class Midget Submarine
Number is service: 1 D: about 100 tons S: 8 kts sub. Dim: about 40 meters long Maximum Depth: 200 meters ARMAMENT: 2 533mm torpedoes in drop collars. 4 MDM-6 or EM-52 Mines in lieu of torpedoes. ELECTRONICS: Radar: Surface Search or Navigation. Sonar: Bow mounted active/passive sonar possible. EW: ESM Mast similar to Russian "Stop Light" type. Crew: 8 crew + 6 Combat Divers (est.) Machinery: Diesel engines and electric motors. 5 blade prop.
Apparently larger than the Ghadir class, this submarine is more conventional in design aside from the weapons mounting external to the hull in drop collars. Control surfaces on the stern consist of cruciform fins while a pair of dive planes are mounted on the sail. Reportedly this sub is deployed in the Caspian Sea but transport to the Gulf region overland is feasible. Its exact mission is unknown but the most common suggested in mine laying or insertion of special forces. Other possible missions suggested include smuggling of contraband both in to and out of Iran or as the launch platform for the Hoot rocket torpedo.
Another possibility is that these submarines are not armed but instead operated as a mother submarine for two or more swimmer delivery vehicles such as the e Ghavasi class Chariot which are carried in two pods below the waterline.
”Al Sabehat 15” Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (Submersible)
Specifications Quantity in service: 10 (est) Length: 8m Crew: 2 (some reports claim up to 7 additional divers but this is unrealistic) Weapons: up to 17 Limpet mines
A “chariot” design showing European influences and typical of special forces insertion vehicles, the type is only suitable for coastal operations, but can perform sabotage, reconnaissance and counter-diver operations. At least 6 variations exist and it is likely that each craft is unique. The earliest example had an enclosed cockpit but later version omit this. The nose likely carries an obstacle avoidance sonar. One version features a folding communications / sensor mast.
Al-Sabehat 15 SDV. Source ISNA
The type can be launched from a ship or under-slung from a large helicopter (Sea King, Mi-8 Hip or Chinook). It could
23 also be carried externally on a larger submarine or towed behind one but neither scenario has been observed.
e Ghavasi class Chariot
Quantity in Service: ? 1 Dimensions: L 7m Weight: (est) 3 tons (armed) Crew: 2 Weapons: TBC. Likely limpet mines carried by divers. Some observers speculate that it is designed to carry a single 533mm torpedo under the body.
Relatively little is known of this two-man "wet sub". It has a notch out of the bottom which some observers suspect may be designed to carry a single heavyweight torpedo semi-recessed. This is unconfirmed and difficult to conceive being used effectively – however no better explanation has been found for this feature. The two crew members use frogman apparatus to breath and it is not clear if they are provided with a separate closed-circuit system for use whilst in the craft. The clear nosecone appears to be for the driver to see where they are going when underwater, presumably crouched inside the hull. The small forward control planes are probably hand operated by the driver.
Iranian combat swimmers / commandoes / saboteurs
Both the Navy and IRGCN maintain special forces capable of diving. Capabilities likely include pre-landing beach reconnaissance (beach samples etc), sabotage of enemy vessels with limpet mines or similar charges, recovery of items of interest from shallow waters, sabotage of undersea cables and pipelines, and commando raids against shore targets. The forces practice all main modes of delivery although some may only be practiced infrequently: Swimmer Delivery vehicles (wet submarines – see Al Sabehat-15 and e Ghavasi Deployment from submarines (Kilo, Nahong and Ghadir) Use of underwater diver propulsion devices (DPVs) Deployment from small craft such as zodiacs, and potentially including semi-submersibles Helicopter Military operated civilian vessels (ie Dows) Kayaks
IRGCN combat swimmers parade in an inflatable boat (‘Zodiak’). Attached at the rear are two diver propulsion devices (DPVs), probably commercially acquired Aquazepp types. Source FARS
Folding Special Forces Kayaks. Source FARS
4.2.2 Major Warships
Alvand Class corvette
These vessels are the Vosper Mk5-type frigate, a commercial export designi. They were the most advanced warships in the region when launched. They have seen combat several times in their lives and due to numerous refits they remain in service. These frigates were used during the 1971 Iranian invasion of the Abu Mush and Tonb islands. The 1980's saw
extensive use of the Alvands, Alvand unsuccessfully engaged and Iraqi Osa class PTG with a Sea Killer in 1980, Saam also shelled Iraqi troops advancing in to Iran. In March 1984 Sabalan sunk the tanker Sedara with a Sea Killer and damaged the MV Five Brooks that October. In 1987 Sabalan attacked a Japanese tanker with gun fire aimed at her bridge and crew quarters, these actions made her and her commanding officer Lt. Cdr. Abdollah Manavi (or Capitan Nasty has he was sometimes called) some of the US Navy's “Most Wanted”. Following the mining of the USS Samuel B Robers the US launched operation Praying Mantis, US Navy aircraft spotted the Sahand leaving Bandar Abbas, the US aircraft was then attacked with a Seacat missile. A-6E Intruders from the USS Enterprise attacked and sank the frigate with Harpoon, Skipper and GBU-10 weapons. Sahand was also observed leaving port and bombed with a GBU-12 by an A-6E and left adrift. US forces were ordered to disengage and tugs helped back to port. It took 3 ½ years to repair Sahand. The arms embargo on Iran has serious implications on these vessels, all their systems were of either British or Italian origin. The first system to go was the Seacat SAM in 1988 it was replaced by a ZU-23 AA gun. In 1991 the Sea Killer SSM system was refitted to launch BM-21 artillery rockets and the ZU-23 was replaced by a GAM-B01 20mm cannon, 2 additional cannons of this type were added in 1992 in place of the ship's older model lifeboats. In 1996 the Seakiller SSM system was totally removed and box launchers for the C-802 missile were added. The latest refit of the Alborz increased the ASW capability of the Alvands with the addition of 2 triple 324mm torpedo tubes. A helicopter replenishment station was also added which forced the removal of the Mk4 Squid ASW mortar. As yet no photos show Alvand or Sabalan with the Alborz ASW refit.
Alvand class firing C802 SSM. Source ISNA
27 Despite their age all three of these frigates are still active. In 2004 Alvand made port call in Pakistan and India. In 2009 Alborz conducted its 2nd anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden. Obviously these vessels are handicapped by a total lack of air defense missiles and a Close-in Weapons Systems (CIWS). Although they can operate in the open sea and are the only ships (besides maybe the Mowj) capable of RAS (Replenishment at Sea) their limited combat capability restricts them to operations in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman where they can be protected by aircraft and SAMs from shore. Interesting is the addition of ASW torpedoes on the Alborz, while the US Navy and others have begun abandoning the 324mm SVTT system in favor or ASW Helicopters/Drones and ASROCs. Most current submarine heavy weight torpedoes feature maximum ranges far in excess of the maximum range of any torpedo fired from the SVTTs. One answer is that they are being utilized as antitorpedo weapons, but it is unclear whether the Chinese supplied torpedoes have that level of sophistication.
Mowj Class corvette (/Moudge)
Specifications Displacement: 1,400 tons Dimensions: L 94m, W 10m, Dr 3.25m (Actual dimensions may be almost exactly as per Alvand) Crew: 120-140 Speed: 28kt+ Powerplant: 2 x 10,000hp diesels Armament: 4 x C-802 “Noor” anti-ship missiles, 4 x Standard SM-1 SAM, 1 x 76mm Gun, 2 x (manned) GAM-BO1 20mm cannon, 1 x Bofors 40mm AAA (upgraded), 2 x triple 12.7mm lightweight torpedoes, MANPADs probably carried. Helicopters: Landing pad only
Mowj Class. Source MEHR
Only one Mowj class corvette is in service, Jamaran, but another is under construction. Unlike the Alvand class the Mowj only utilizes diesel engines resulting in a lower top speed but reducing engineering complexity. The ship is also fitted with fin stabilizers allowing for operations in high sea states.
28 The Mowj has the standard complement of radars and EW systems, the surface and air search radar are quite large for a vessel its size. A fire control radar can be seen atop the bridge, this could be used for both the 76mm gun and for the SM-1 Standard missile system. Additionally EW and ECM systems can be seen in pictures of the vessel. Sonar fit is difficult to determine as no photos of the ship in dock have been made available. Inasmuch as these vessels are essentially unlicensed copies of the Vosper Thornycroft Mark 5, it might be reasonable to expect a sonar fit would follow the same layout as the original model. The one photo of a large model of the ship does not show any sonar fit but this may be a simple omission. The mounting of two torpedo mounts indicates some sort of submarine detection capability. The design of the bow would preclude the fitting of an bow sonar since the anchors would not clear it when deployed so a hull mounted sonar would be likely (as per the US Oliver Hazard Perry class). The exact nature of the sonar is unclear however both the Alvands and Bayandors are equipped with hull mounted sonars, and the decommissioned Battle and Gearing class destroyers were also so equipped. The best guess on the nature of the system would be that its a active and passive system with a active transmission capability in the Medium Frequency range (probably around 15 kHz as per the Alvand's Graesby Type 170B set or perhaps around 10 kHz as per the Artemiz's Plessey PMS-26 set.)
IRIS Jamaran firing a C802 SSM. Source FARS
The weapons fit of this vessel is almost identical in capabilities to the Alvand but with a few changes mostly in location of certain systems. The ‘A’ position gun has been changed to a smaller 76mm gun, interesting is the absence of a optical director on the gun itself as per the modified Bayandor class vessel. The ‘Y’ position AA gun has been relocated closer to the funnel to allow for a helicopter pad and has been changed from a 35mm twin mount to a single Fath-40 mm mount. Two GAM-B01 20mm guns are fitted forward of the bridge in the B position as opposed to the single on the Alvand. The ASM launchers have been moved to the superstructure to allow for a helicopter deck. This may present a problem by making the ship top heavy. Four SM-1 missile launchers appear to have been fitted between the Y position mount and the funnel.
Two torpedo mounts are mounted below the Y position gun. These are covered by an extension of the upper deck which will no doubt make servicing and loading them in foul weather easier (similar mounts on US ships are exposed to the elements). Torpedoes for these mounts could be either surplus US Mk 44 or Mk 46 weapons or new Chinese Yu-7 torpedoes. The Mowj class, whist an improvement of the Alvand class, still suffers several faults. Air defense is still lacking; the addition of 4 SM-1 Standard SAMs is an improvement the unusual placement limits their effectiveness, only two missiles can fire per side and they have major blind spots forward and aft. In fact due to the placement of the funnel the fire control radar (FCR) does not have a line of sight against any targets astern of the vessel meaning the SM-1s cannot defend the stern quarter of the ship and the forward quarter has limited to no coverage especially at close ranges. Additionally on the subject of air defense the ship's air search radar is quite low to the superstructure of the ship making its possible horizon less than on other ships. This becomes a major problem when dealing with sea skimming missiles or low flying aircraft. ASW systems suffer from the same faults as the Alvand, the 2 triple 324mm SVTTs provide limited protection and due to the design of the bow a large bow sonar (like on the Arlegh Burkes) cannot be fitted. If any sonar is fitted its probably a smaller hull mounted array like on the Alvands. However the addition of a Helicopter landing pad suitable for a AB-214 does allow the Mowj to engage submarines from beyond their torpedo range. The apparent lack of a towed array sonar or VDS makes this doubtful operationally, more likely the helicopter would be used for OTH targeting of SSMs and general utility duties. The renewed focus on ASW on Iranian ships (The Alvand, Mowj and Naghdi all now carry 324mm torpedoes) is puzzling. While Iran's primary threat the US operates the second largest active fleet of submarines in the world, a Cold War vintage defensive system appears quite pathetic in view of potential alternatives such as Russian style 533mm torpedo mounts capable of firing both torpedoes or ASROCs (as fitted to the Neustrashimy) or the ASROC version of the C-801 (designated CY-1).
30 Displacement: 580 tons Dimensions: L 52m, W 7.65m, Dr 3.25m Crew: ?? Speed: 15kt Powerplant: 2 x 1,300hp diesels Armament: 4 x C-802 “Noor” anti-ship missiles, 1 x main gun (20mm?), 2 x 12.7mm manned heavy machine guns Originally the Imperial Government Yacht “Shah Savar,” , the Hamzeh has been modified to carry C-802 anti-ship missiles and light defenses. Main role probably remains training. The boat operates in the Caspian Sea alongside the SINA missile boats. Confusingly the first widespread pictures of her post-refit where accompanying an Iranian press article announcing the entry into service of the SINA type “corvette” Joshan, causing some confusion as to this boat’s identity. The pennant number appears to have changed also. Despite a popular press photo showing an AB-212 helicopter, the Hamzeh does not have a helipad.
Bayandor (PF-103) missile / gun corvette
Specification D: 900t standard, 1135t full load S: 20 knots Dim: 84x33x3.1 Range: 2400 at 18 knots. ARMAMENT: Pre-Refit: 2 Mk 34 3" guns, 1 Twin Bofors 40mm AA Gun, 2 GAM-B01 20mm guns. Post-Refit: 4 C-802 ASMs. 1 76mm Dual Purpose (DP) Gun (360 rds), 1 Twin Bofors 40mm AA Gun, 2 GAM-B01 20mm gun. 2 triple 324mm torpedo tubes. ELECTRONICS: Radar: AN/SPS-6C D Band Air Search, Decca 1226SS I band surface search, Raytheon 1650 I Band Nav, Mk 36 I/J band FC. Sonar: AN/SQS-17 Active/Passive sonar. EW: AN/WLR-1 ESM, AN/UPX-12B IFF. Improved ESM post refit. Crew: 140 Machinery: 2 Fairbanks-Morse 38TD8 diesels
31 Originally a class of four patrol frigates built in Texas for the Shah the Bayandor class vessels are commonly used as patrol vessels and have seen extensive service. Two vessels were sunk during the Iran-Iraq war both by air strikes, Milanian was sunk in Bushehr on September 24, 1980 by a 500lb bomb from a MiG-23 Flogger, Kahnamoie was sunk at sea two years later to the day by an air launched Exocet. In the 2000's Naghdi began a refit that upgraded many of her systems including the addition of ASM, ASW torpedoes and a new Iranian produced 76mm main gun. The Bayandor has not received any refit except for the updated EW system the Naghdi has received.
Source: Jamejan online
4.2.3 Fast Attack Craft and armed speed boats
Kaman (La Combattante II) and SINA class Guided Missile Patrol Boat
Vessels: Kaman: Kaman P221 Xoubin P222 Khadang P223 Falakhon P226 Shamshir P227 Gorz P228 (SM-1 Variant) Gardouneh P229 Kanjar P230 Neyzeh P231 Sina: Tabarzin P232 Derafsh P233 Kalat P234
SINA class The main ID feature to differentiate Kaman and SINA classes is the flattened radar dome of the latter. Source IRNA
The La Combattante series is one of the most popular types of PTGs in the world, second only to the Russian Osa class. The Iranians call this ship the Kaman class, Kaman is Farsi for Bow as in the Bow and Arrow. Ton for ton these are some of the more powerful vessels in the Iranian Navy. They began being commissioned in 1977. After the Shah fell in 1979 three more vessels were delivered as gunboats. In 2006 an indigenous version called the SINA class was put in to service
33 in the Caspian Sea. The differences include the surface search radar, the aft gun and on some units an Electro-Optical pod. These ships have seen combat on several occasions during the 1980s. Two vessels Joshan and Pekyan, participated in Operation Morvarid (Pearl) sinking 2 Osa missile boats and shelling Iraq port facilities. Pekyan was latter sunk by a single AS-12 and two SS-N-2 Styx missiles. These ships sank 5 Iraqi freighters and one Indian tanker. They also damaged two neutral tankers during the conflict. Joshan was sunk by US forces during operation Praying Mantis after she had fired an RGM-84A Harpoon missile at a US Cruiser. The US forces sank her with four Standard and one RGM-84C Harpoon missiles.
Recent image of Kaman class fitted with 3 Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Note also that the rear 40mm gun has been replaced by a 20mm mount. Source: FARS
The Kaman's weapons were top of the line when she first sailed but by today's standards are lacking. Originally they were fitted with four RGM-84A Harpoon missiles, all were expended during the Iran-Iraq war. In the mid 1990s the Harpoon launchers were replaced by four launchers for C802 missiles. They are also armed with an OTOMelara 76mm Rapid Fire gun and a Breda Bofors 40mm gun. The Sina boats are armed with a 20mm weapon in place of the 40mm on some units. In 2010 Harpoon launchers reappeared on a Kaman class boat indicating that Iran has found a source of
Standard SM-1 equipped Kaman Class. Source FARS
34 Harpoon missiles or had begun producing their own version. One boat is equipped with two single SM-1 Standard SAMs in box launchers facing directly across the boat. The rear 40mm cannon is replaced by the fire control radar. This configuration was thought to be abandoned but recently shown in naval exercises. Two radars are fitted, a Signaal WM28 I/J band surface search and FC radar which has an effective range of up to 25 nms. This radar is used for both SSM guidance (when needed) and targeting for the 76mm gun. A Decca 1226 I band navigation radar is also fitted. An Alligator ECM system is fitted. This jammer is proven effective against N-2 Styx missiles but its capability against modern weapons is doubtful. A TMV-433 ESM is fitted along with two IFF systems a AN/APX-72 and UPZ-27N. This boats can be considered the optimal warship for the Persian Gulf, they have a well balanced arsenal, their range makes them able to sail across the Gulf without refueling and they are fast. It’s not a surprise that several other Gulf states operate this class as well.
Thondor Class Missile Boat
Specifications Quantity in service: 10 Displacement: 205 tons Dimensions: L 33.6m, W 7.6m, Dr 2.7m Crew: 28 Speed: 35kt Powerplant: 3 x 8,000bhp diesels Armament: 4 x C-802 “Noor” anti-ship missiles, 1 x twin 30mm AAA, 1 x twin 23mm AAA (crewed)
Often referred to by their Chinese name, Houdong class, these boats were delivered from China in the mid 1990s, and are operated by the largest missile craft of the IRGCN.
C-14 China Cat missile craft and MLRS Craft
Specification Displacement: 19 tons Dimensions: L 13.65m, W 4.8m, Dr 0.7m Crew: 10 Endurance: 300nm Speed: 55kt Powerplant: 2 x 1150hp Armament: 4 x TL-10 or C-701 Kowsar light anti-ship missiles, or 2 x C-704 Nasr anti-ship missiles, or 1 x 122mm MLRS (16 barrels), 1 x manned single-barreled 23mm cannon and 1 x 12.7mm DShK MG on some craft. Originally 10 C-14 missile armed catamarans were ordered from Chinese manufacturer CSSC in 2002, with local MLRS armed version firing its 23mm cannon. Source FARS production. Some vessels have been completed in a nonmissile configuration with an MLRS mounted over the cabin, necessitating a modified mast. The type is offered in the Iranian defense industry’s export catalogue. The C-701 missile is of Chinese origin though manufactured under license in Iran. It has a 20-25km range and can be TV or Radar guided, making it ideal for littoral combat.
C-14 test firing a Nasr (C-704) anti-ship missile. Source FARS
Many reports indicate that the China Cat may employ the Chinese supplied TL-10 anti-ship missile instead of the C-701 described above. The two missile types are generally similar in overall size and capability, albeit different designs. Both come with a range of seekers and minor sub-versions tailored to specific customer needs.
MK 13 Patrol craft (PTGF)
Specification Displacement, tons: Unknown Dimensions, feet (metres): 45.9 × ? × ? (14 × ? × ?) Speed, knots: Unknown Missiles: SSM: 2 TL-10 launchers. Torpedoes: 2-324 mm tubes. 10 in service. Approximately four new monohull patrol craft, possibly built in China, were reportedly delivered in 2006. Armed with both anti-ship missiles and torpedoes.
Mk-13. Source Sino Defense Forum
Kajami class (Taedong-B) Submersible Torpedo Boat
Specifications Quantity in service: 1 (est) Length: 17m Armament: 2 x lightweight 324mm (12.75”) torpedoes Submerged depth: 25m (est) Surface speed: 40kts (est) Submerged speed: 4kts (est) Iran is reported to operate a small number of North Korean designed Taedong-B submersible attack craft delivered in 2002. There is no evidence or indication of local production.
Kajami submersible boat. Source FARS
It is likely that the type’s is a later model of I-SILC (Improved Submersible infiltration Craft). In evolutionary terms the Kajami appears to be a lengthened version of the I_SILCs supplied to Vietnam with torpedoes added. Unlike the Vietnamese examples, the Kajami does not have electricdriven outboard motors on the rear hydroplanes, suggesting that like the older I-SILC the Kajami cannot travel forward when fully submerged –this has proved a fatal flaw in North Korean service. propellers In North Korean service at least they aren't intended for use against enemy naval combatants, but can carry weapons for self-defense.
37 The Kajami’s twin lightweight torpedo tubes are not particularly viable as offensive anti-shipping weapons. Despite these torpedo tubes, the Kajamis are out of place in the IRGCN compared to many of the rest of that organizations' fast attack craft. Unlike the other DPRK-supplied semisubmersibles, the Gahjaes, since the Kajamis' single appearance in the open press, they have never since surfaced publicly that they have been less than successful in IRGCN service.
The Kajami, like the rest of the I-SILCs is very poorly laid out as a combatant. It's fully submersible to about 10-20 meters, but in order to do so, the crew has to relocate from the open cockpit aft to a smaller control compartment amidships. This is less of an issue when conducting a carefully-rehearsed infiltration mission in low light conditions, but less practical during combat. The torpedo-armed Kajamis' purchase probably reflected aggressive salesmanship and marketing on the part of the North Koreans, and inexperience on the Iranians' part. It’s possible that the Iranians may have considered Kajami as an alternative to more 'conventional' mini submarines, but found it very impractical and finalized their decision upon Ghadir instead. Alternatively, and not mutually exclusive, the Kajami could also simply reflect the current state of I-SILC development, and the torpedo tubes are simply more potent defensive weapons added in light of losses incurred during failed infiltrations of South Korea over the past decades. In this case, the Kajami would simply be the current I-SILC variant. Recently available satellite imagery of a Kajami in a North Korean port substantiates the North Korean origin of the type and provided some more information on the layout and dimensions.
Gahjae Class (Taedong-C) Semi-Submersible Torpedo Boat
Specifications: Quantity in service: 5 (est) Length: 17m Armament: 2 x lightweight 324mm (12.75”) torpedoes Speed (fully surfaced): 40kts (est) Closely resembling the Peykaap torpedo boat (see separate entry) the Gahjae class is semi-submersible able to run awash with only the upper superstructure and exhausts above the water. This mode of Gahjae Class. Source MEHR operation is typical of North Korean infiltration craft on which it’s based. Originally only 2 examples were thought to have been imported from DPRK but there are at least 3 craft now in service so some degree of local production is now taking place.
Although these boats offer some novel tactical opportunities for Iran, they are unlikely to be successful if operating against larger warships armed with their own anti-submarine torpedoes, or fast moving targets. The lightweight torpedoes are unlikely to sink even a modest warship although obviously a successful attack could immobilize even a large warship.
IPS-18 Tir Class torpedo boat
Specifications: Quantity in Service: 10 Displacement: 28.16 tons Dimensions: L 21.12m, W 5.77m, Dr 0.87m H 2.1m Crew: 6 Endurance: 450nm
IPS-18. Source DPRK Gov
39 Speed: 52kt Powerplant: 3 x 1200hp Armament: 2 x 533mm (21”) torpedo tubes, 1 x manned 12.7mm HMG Of North Korean origin, these small fast attack boats are clearly designed with radar cross-section reduction in mind, particularly from the forward hemisphere. A retractable radar mast further enhances their ability to hide amongst the clutter of small fishing boats and otherwise inconspicuous minor radar reflections. This stealthiness is lost when the boats are at high speed due to the large amount of spray produced by the surface-piercing propellers. Further, the stealthiness does not extend to the infrared spectrum though, with raw exhausts venting out of the rear of the boat. The only defensive weapons position well thought out in this regard, being a single pedestal mounted 12.7mm heavy machine gun which is externally crewed.
In the right circumstances these boats represent a serious threat, but they have limited sea keeping, endurance and sensors thus limiting their combat potential in a wider conflict. They are potentially armed with Shkval rocket torpedo (range about 6-8km), but more likely carry North Korean heavyweight torpedoes (estimated combat range about 10km). Although unconfirmed, the most likely torpedo is the PT97W. Iran also produced a C-802 Noor missile armed version known as Tir-II which has been exported to Syria. This version is not thought to be in service with Iran. Recent press briefs suggest that the Tir class is being locally produced to a minimally modernized form for the IRGCN.
IPS-16 Family fast attack craft
Peyaap, Bavar, Zolaghar. For Gahjae see above. Originally imported from North Korea, Iran has locally produced large numbers in several modified forms. The original form is a low-observable torpedo boat but more recent versions are more conventional small missile craft, sometimes armed with both missiles and torpedoes. Specifications: Quantity in Service: Paykaap – 10 imported + 10 (est) locally produced Bavar – 10 (est) Zolfaghar – 10 (est) Displacement (Peykaap): 13.75 tons Dimensions: L 16.3m, W 3.75m, Dr 0.67m H 1.93m Crew: 3 Endurance: 320nm Speed: 52kt Powerplant: 2 x 1200hp Armament: (Peykaap) 2 x 324mm (12.75”) torpedo tubes, small-arms, (Bavar) 2 x C-701 'Kowsar' light anti-ship missiles, 2 x 324mm (12.75”) torpedo tubes, small arms. (Zolfaghar) 2 x C-704 ‘Nasr’ light anti-ship missiles, 2 x DShK 12.7m MG. The sloping lines and ‘pop-out’ torpedo tubes appears to have rudimentary stealth characteristics although little attention has been paid to the IR spectrum, and the type has poor stealth at high speeds due to the surface piercing propellers. The slight bulge on top of the torpedo tubes is probably the compressed air cylinder used to eject the torpedo from the tube, and its position makes it very possible that the torpedo tubes are exactly the same as those on the Taedong-B. The torpedoes used are likely of North Korean design and are inadequate to sink, or even seriously damage, warships. For this reason most recent versions carry light anti-ship missiles.
IPS-16 Peykaap class. Source Diomil
The small size, high speed and somewhat low radar signature make this type a potent adversary, but it lacks any meaningful self-defense weaponry should an enemy attempt to engage it. Its lightweight torpedoes are probably inadequate to sink most warships.
The Bavar (Peykaap-II) has a significantly redesigned cabin, mast and additionally has two light anti-ship missiles on it. The Bavar is less stealthy than the Peykaap and probably has a lower performance. In 2010 the latest “Zolfaghar’ version was unveiled featuring a lengthened hull and ability to carry two of the slightly larger C-704 ‘Nasr’ anti-ship missiles. The Zolfaghar also has a DShK MG mount on the forward hull. Unpainted Zolfaghar showing Nasr missiles. Source Borna.
Recent image of a Bavar version without missile bins fitted. Source FARS
Dalaam class torpedo boat
Small torpedo craft capable of firing Shkval (Hoot) rocket torpedoes. Small open cockpit without windows. Closely related to Tarlan class but with different bow. Cockpit is open, and no radar or other sensors are visible. Status unknown.
Tarlan class torpedo boat
Specifications: Number is service: 15 (est) D: 8.5 tons S: 58 knots Dim: 11.9x3.1x1.5 Range: 250 nm. Armament: 1 Hoot Rocket Torpedo or other 533mm weapon. Pedestal for single DShK 12.7mm HMG Electronics: Unknown Radar Crew: 2 Machinery: 2 660hp motors.
Tarlan is a semi-submersible catamaran built of aluminum. These patrol boats were demonstrated to have the capacity to fire Hoot torpedoes in the Great Prophet 5 exercises in April of 2010. Although the design has three tubes in between the hulls, it is unlikely that it can carry three 533mm torpedoes due yto their weight, even less likely 3 of the heavier ‘Hoot’ rocket torpedoes.
Explosive motor Boats
The IRGCN operates explosive-laden speed boats which attack their targets by means of ramming. This concept is not unique, having been employed by the Imperial Japanese navy and more recently by LTTE (Tamil Tigers) and Al Qaeda. Where the Iranian examples differ is that the crew is not sacrificed in the attack. This allows the crew to be extensively trained ‘special forces’ in many respects similar to elite units who conduct combat swimmer operations. Although ‘suicide boats’ are often discussed as an IRGCN tactic, very little is known about the specifics of the designs in unclassified sources. Some footage of a design does exist and it is possible to produce a reasonable provisional illustration which is representative of the only documented type.
Specifications Length: 9m (est) Width: 2.2m Height (overall): 2.1m Powerplant: 2 x Yamaha VX250 250hp outboards
45 Escape: 1 x Yamaha Waverunner VX Sport jet ski Warhead: 500kg shaped charge (est) The pilot rides on top of a civilian purchased Jet Ski which is housed in dock at the rear of the craft, not unlike the docks in amphibious assault ships, such that the jet ski can exit aft whilst the craft continues towards the target. The craft carries no radar or advanced sensors, and does not appear to have means of remote control once the pilot has escaped. The warhead is unknown but likely to be an impact-detonated shaped charge similar to those used in roadside bombs in Iraq.
Video screen capture of explosive motorboats under construction. Source IRIB3
Seraj-1Class (Bladerunner) MLRS boat
Entering service in mid 2010, the Seraj-1 is an armed adaptation of the British Bladerunner-35 racing and sports boat. A closely related design, the Bladerunner-51, holds the Round Britain World Record set in 2005 and is arguably the fastest speed boat in production. The Bladerunner series feature a specialized hull design known for its ability to maintain very high speeds for relatively great distances and in rougher sea states than most similar sized craft. In Iranian service the Bladerunner has had a DShK 12.7mm MG mounted on the bow and a 107mm MLRS mounted above the cockpit. The added weight Seraj-1. Source Borna of this configuration likely reduces the maximum speed. Although racing versions can manage 79kts, standard ‘Grand Tourer’ versions max at 62kts. The Iranian version is probably closer to 50kts. The Seraj-1 is unlikely to be in widespread operational use for some time but is in production with several hulls seen in various states of completion. Specifications: Length: 10.6 m Beam: 2.9 m Draft: 0.75 m Displacement: 2,5 t Fuel: 405 L Powerplant: 2 x outboard motors (details TBC).
Seraj-1. Source Borna
Fabio Buzzi high speed patrol boats
The IRGC purchased several high speed patrol boats from Italian designer Fabio Buzzi who also supplies many Western nations including Britain’s SBS. The designs come in both regular and Rigid Inflatable (RIB) configurations. The craft are being locally produced and offered for export. Used by the IRGCN, only the MIL-40 and RIB-33 versions appear in widespread service. It is possible that Iran also transferred the hull and drive technology to North Korea as key hull features are also seen on the North Korean IPS-16 and IPS-18 families in service with IRGC. An alternative hypothesis is that these features are only incorporated into Iranian produced examples.
FB RIB-33 high speed patrol boats
Fabio Buzzi designs locally produced in Iran, these are rigid inflatable boat (RIB) are increasingly active with IRGCN. The most recent examples have a significantly modified superstructure allowing carriage of an MLRS and radar. Specifications (RIB-33) Length: 10m Beam: 2.7m Draft: 0.6m Speed: Claimed 57 kts but likely slower with MLRS Powerplant: 2 x Yamaha 250 hp outboards Displacement: 3.2+ tons Crew: 3 Armament: 1 x 11-barrel 107mm MLRS
RIB-33. Source: FARS
FB MIL-40 MLRS craft
Fabio Buzzi designed High Speed Patrol Boat (HSPB) produced by MIG. Specifications Length: 12.9m Beam: 2.6m Draft: 0.8m Speed: 62 kts Powerplant: 2 x 660 hp Displacement: 6 tons Crew: 3 Armament: 1 x 11-barrel 107mm MLRS, 1 x DShK 12.7mm HMG
MIL-40. Source FARS
Largest of the Fabio Buzzi designs used by Iran, the MIL-55 can accommodate 15 persons. Reportedly capable of carrying 107mm MRLS as per other FB types in Iranian service. Specifications Length: 16.4m Beam: 2.9m Draft: 0.8m Speed: 68 kts Powerplant: 2 x 1,200 hp Displacement: 15.3 tons Crew: 5
48 Armament: 1 x 11-barrel 107mm MLRS, 1 x DShK 12.7mm HMG, mines
FB MIL-55. Source FARS
Torough Class PB (Boghammar)
A Swedish designed craft sold to Iran for Customs purposes but quickly militarized on delivery and copied. They can be armed with MLRS, Machine guns, Recoilless Rifles, RPGs, Small Arms and Sea Mines. A landing craft version is also in use. Specifications: Length: 12.8m
49 Displacement: 6.4 tons Speed: 45kts Armament: 1 x 12.7mm MG and 1 x 107mm MLRS (typical).
(MIG-G-0800 ) Legacy assets like the Boghammar, these small boats were used for mine laying and MLRS attacks during the Iran-Iraq war and formed the bulk of the MLRS boat fleet during the 1990s. Still widely deployed, they are however overshadowed by more recent designs. Often referred to as “Boston Whalers” due to their similarity to the commercial boats of that firm, these small fiberglass craft feature a ‘Hickman sea sled’ hull and twin outboard motors. Armament is 1 12.7mm DShK-38 HMG forward. A weapons “table” center for either a 12 tube 107mm rocket launcher or a single M-08 or similar mine Other weapons could include 107mm Recoilless Rockets, RPG-7 launchers, small arms. It is powered by two
50 outboard motors. In 2010 a version armed with four contact mines was displayed. This craft appears to be utilized by the IRIN and can carry as an alternative fit a DShK HMG and a squad of marines. Compared to similar Iranian designs they are identifiable by the raised and flared bow lines.
Ashura class PB. Source FARS
Ashura class armed with mines. Source FARS
Type-4 high speed patrol boats (HSPB)
The IRGCN operates a large fleet of Type-4 speedboats. These are generic fast boats employed much like the Ashura class, possibly representing a successor design. The type is typically seen in a distinctive bright blue paint scheme but has been operated in other schemes. Most famously a variant of this type was used during the January 6, 2008 incident between 5 IRGC-N speedboats and American warships in which the Type-4 simulated laying mines directly in the path of a warship. The type-4 in that incident had an enlarged fore-deck relative to previously noted versions.
Source US Gov
Number in service: 20 Similar to Boghammar, these are flat-bottomed craft suitable for marshland operations near the Iraqi border. They are armed with 107mm MLRS and 12.7mm DShK machine gun.
Unknown MLRS Craft
The operational service of this type is unclear; it is possibly only a test craft for MLRS. The craft is around 9-10m long and features a tunnel-hull (catamaran). It is armed with a HM-23 16 barrel 122mm MLRS. No other weapons are known.
4.2.4 Patrol craft
Specifications D: 102t standard/ 142 full load S: 17 knots Dim: 30.81x6.45x2.3 Range: 1000 nm at 17 kts ARMAMENT: 1 40 mm cannon, 2x2 20mm cannons, 2x2 12.7mm machine guns, 1 81mm Mortar. ELECTRONICS: Radar: Furunno I Band Navigation Crew: 30 Machinery: 2,200hp Mercedes Benz 12V493 TY57 diesel engines, 2 propellers.
Parvin Class. Source MEHR
US built for export patrol craft from early cold war era. As built was armed with basic ASW weapons and sensors including Hedgehog mortars and depth charges, ASW weapons removed in 1980's. These vessels are intended to provide additional firepower to groups of smaller or lightly armed ships.
D: 82 tons Dim: 85'3”x19'x6'6” Speed: 40 knots Weapons: 1 BM-21 MLRS, 1 twin ZU-23 23mm cannon. Radar: Decca 1226 Machinery: 4 diesels. Based on North Korean Chaho class gunboats.
65' Mark III Patrol Boat
Specifications Number in service: 10 D: 28 tons Standard, 36 tons full S: 26 knots Dim: 19.78x5.5x1.8 Range 2000nm max, 450nm at full speed ARMAMENT: Varies. M2 HMG, M60 MMG, Mk 16 20mm Cannon, MK19 AGL, MK3 40mm Cannon, MK 4 60mm or MK 2 81mm Mortars. Small arms. ELECTRONICS: Radar: Furunno I Band Navigation Crew: 5 Machinery: 3 GM 8V71T1 diesels or 3 Detroit Diesel model 7082-7399. 3 3-blade props. Mid 1970's US built patrol boats. Capable of operation beyond the coastal areas and inside the Gulf. Weapons fit listed should be considered the maximum fit, in service these boats currently carry 1 20mm and 1 12.7mm or 7.62mm gun. Theoretically missiles could be fitted since a US boat was modified for launch of Penguin ASMs.
Based on US PBIs, armed with one twin 23mm ZU-23 cannon. Also is equipped with a surface search/nav radar.
IRGCN patrol craft, unusual among IRGCN boats in that is appears to be designed for patrols lasting longer than a day. Weapons limited to small-arms.
Kashdom-II inshore patrol craft (PBF)
Specifications In service: 15 Displacement, tons: 17.5 approx Dimensions, feet (metres): 52.5 × 9.8 × 3.6 (16.0 × 3.0 × 1.1) Main machinery: 2 diesels; 2,400 hp (1.8 MW); surface piercing propeller Speed, knots: 50 approx Complement: 5 Guns: 1-23 mm. 1-12.7 mm MG. Probably a development of the C 14 class design, the catamaran-hulled inshore patrol craft. A MRL launcher may also be mounted on the cabin roof.
Specifications: Number in service: 30 D: 20.1 tons full S: 26 knots Dim: 19.78x5.5x1.8 ARMAMENT: 2 12.7mm Machine Guns. Crew: 5 Machinery: Diesels, 3 3-blade props. US built patrol boats. Single round Tigercat SSM launcher and associated datalink removed.
MK II PBR
Specifications Number in service: 6 Dim: 9.8x3.5x.61 S: 28.5 knots Armament: Twin .50 cal machine gun in rotating tub. Rear single .50 cal HMG. 1 M60 MMG, 1 MK 19 AGL. Ceramic armor fitted to guns and bridge. Crew : 4 Machinery: 2 220 hp Detroit Diesels 6V53N. 3 nozzle Jacuzzi Brothers water jet. Vietnam war vintage US Patrol Boats made famous in the movie Apocalypse Now. Suitable only for patrols inshore or in river areas, suitable areas in Iran include the Shat al Arab or the marshes on the northern side of Qeshm Island. Not seen in the press and may not be operational.
Vessels in Service:
5001 MAHNAVI HAMRAZ 1 5002 MAHNAVI TAHERI 5003 MAHNAVI VAHEDI 5004 MARDJAN 5005 MORVARID 5006 SADAF Most serve in the Caspian Sea at Bandar Pahlavi. Some are operated by the Iranian Coast Guard.
Naser class logistics/support boat
At least two IRGCN craft of a new type recently visited Qatar and there have been news releases of further deliveries in 2011. The cract is built by the Arvandan Company and features a large superstructure with sloping front but almost vertical sides generally similar to commercial craft. The type appears unarmed but is equipped with an electro-optical sensor ball and surface search radar. Specifications Length: 32m, width: 7.8m Speed: 27 kts Powerplant: 2 x 1135hp diesel
This is the first ‘peace-time’ craft seen in IRGCN service indicating the maturing of the force’s lead in Iran’s activities in the Persian Gulf.
4.2.5 Amphibious warfare
For hovercraft see separate section
Hengam class Landing Ship, Tank
Vessels: Hengam 51 Larak 52 Lavan 53 Tonb 54 Specifications D: 2540 Tons full load S: 14.5 Knots Dim: 92.96x14.94x3, Tank Deck: 39.6x8.8 Range: 4000nm @ 12 knots ARMAMENT: 4 2x ZU-23 AA Guns, 1 122mm BM21 MRL, 2x M2 .50 cal HMGs. 2x Mk5 Countermeasure Launchers. Aircraft: Pad for 1 Sea King. Radar: Decca 1229 I Band Surface search radar. EW: SSR 1520 IFF. Crew: 80 + capacity for 227 troops or 5-9 tanks or Hengam class with two Sea Kings flying overhead. Source MEHR 600 tons dry cargo. Machinery: 2 Paxman 12YJCM Diesels (511 & 512), 4 MTU 16V652 TB81 diesels (513 & 514) Based on British Sir Lancelot class LSL. Can be used as mother ships for IRGCN small craft or as depot ships for mine layers. 2 LCVPs can be carried.
Iran Hormuz 21 class
D: 2274 tons full load S: 11 knots Dim: 53.65x10.81x77 ARMAMENT: 2 12.7mm MG, Moored mines in minelayer role. ELECTRONICS: Radar: Decca 1226 I Band Surface Search Radar Sonar: Crew: 30 Machinery: 2 2,200 shp diesels, Two 4 blade propellers.
57 These are Japanese built LSTs, one was sunk by the Iraqis in the Iran-Iraq war and another (The Iran Ajr) was sunk by US forces after it was spotted laying mines in the Gulf.
Iran Hormuz 24 class
The three ships of this class normally operate as part of a ferry service between Bandar Abbas and the UAE. In time of war they could be utilized in a troop or vehicle carrying role. Details of each ship differ but they are RO/RO ships, at least one is equipped with cranes.
Details unknown listed in several documents.
Fouque (MIG-S-3700) class Landing Craft, Tank
D: 276 Tons full load S: 10 Knots Dim: 36.8x7.9x1.5 ARMAMENT: None. ELECTRONICS: Radar: Furuno I Band Surface search radar. Crew: 8 Machinery: 2 MWM TBD234 Diesel Engines Notes: Cargo capacity is 140 tons of vehicles or dry cargo. Notes: Listed as Karbala class LSL in some sources. Operated by the IRGCN.
Nezami Ganjavi class LCU
D: 1000t S: 12 knots Dim: 150'x34'x11' Iranian built LCU class constructed to civilian specs. Operated by both military and civilian agencies.
4.2.6 Support vessels
Kharg class AO
Vessels Kharg 431 Specifications D: 33,014 tons full load. S: 21.5 knots Dim: 207.15x25.5x9.14 Armament: 1 76mm 62 cal ATO Melara Compact DP; 6 twin 23mm ZU-23-2s Aircraft: up to 3 ASH-3D Sea King helicopters. Radar: 2 Decca 1229 nav radars. EW: URN-20 TACAN, Inmarsat SATCOM Crew 248 IRIS Kharg showing her two helicopter hangers.. Source FARS M: 1 26,870 shp Westinghouse geared steam turbine. 2 Babcock & Wilcox 2 drum boilers 1 Prop. Iranian Navy Flagship, delivered to Iran 5-10-84. Refitted 1993. Used mostly as a patrol ship and as a tender for patrol boats.
Bandar Abbas class AO
Vessels Bandar Abbas 421 Booshehr 422 Specifications D: 3786 tons standard/ 4673t full load S: 20 knots Dim: 108x16.6x4.5 Range: 3500 at 16 knots. ARMAMENT: 1 twin 23mm 80 cal ZU-23, 2 single 20mm Oerlikon GAM B01, 2 SA-7 Grail SAM Positions. AIRCRAFT: Helicopter pad and telescopic hanger aft. Radar: 1 Decca 1226 Nav, 1 Decca 1229 nav Crew: 60 Machinery: 2 MAN R6V 52/56 diesels, 2 4 blade
Bandar Abbas class. Source FARS
59 propellers. Notes: Built by C. Luhring Brake in Germany these two ships were delivered in 1973-1974. Also employed as patrol ships. Replenishment duties limited since only Iranian ships capable of RAS are Alvand class FFGs. Booshehr # 422 has RAS derrick forward of superstructure, derrick removed on Bandar Abbas # 421. This maybe have been removed following an explosion aboard the ship in 1998.
Kangan class Water Tanker
Vessels: Kangan 411 Taheri 412 Specifications D: 12000t full load S: 15 knots Dim: 147.95x21.5x5 Range: 1000 nm ARMAMENT: 1 ZU-23-2 AA, 2 12.7mm HMGs. AIRCRAFT AND EMBARKED VEHICLES: Helicopter landing pad for single heavy helicopter. Four landing barges. Trucks or light armor can be carried on deck. Radar: 1 Decca 1229 I Band Nav Crew: 14 Machinery: 1 7385 bhp MAN 7L52 diesel. Cargo Capacity 9,000 cubic meters of fresh water. Used for supply of island garrisons and general patrol duties.
Delvar class AG
Vessels: Delvar Dayer Charak Chiroo Sirjan Dilim Souru 950 ton general purpose tenders. Delvar and Sirjan are used as ammunition lighters, Dayer and Dilim are water tankers, the others are used as coastal cargo ships. All can be used to plant mines.
Hendijan class general purpose tender (MIG-S-4700-SC)
Vessels: Bakhtaran Koramshahr Hendijan Kalat Konarak Genavah Sirik Gavater Bamregan Nayband Hogan Rostam Specifications D: 446t full load S: 21 knots (27 knots in Nayband) Dim: 47,8.55,2.86 Range: 1000 nm ARMAMENT: 1 single 20mm Oerlikon GAM B01 Radar: 1 Decca 2070A Nav Crew: 15+100 passengers or troops. Machinery: 2 MWM TBD604V12 Diesels (2 Mitsubishi S16U-MPTK Diesels in Nayband)
Hendijan class. Source IRNA
Cargo Capacity 40 tons on deck, 12 below. 40 tons of potable water. Used for patrol, supply of island garrisons, and as a tender for IRGCN small boats.
Cape class MSC
1 in service. This is a US built mine sweeper, now used as a training vessel and dive tender.
Kialas-C-Qasam Training Vessels
Listed in some publications, not widely seen in the press.
Listed in some publications, not widely seen in the press. A pilot boat for harbors.
BH.7 ‘Wellington’ Mk4 and Mk5
Specifications D: 50 tons Dim: 23.2x13.7x12.8 Speed: 60 knots in calm seas, 30 knots in Seastate 5 or higher. Weapons: 2 C-802 ASMs. 2 12.7mm MG. 4 Machinery: 1 Proteus 15M/541 gas turbine. The Mk4 version is a transport only craft whereas the Mk5 can carry anti-ship missiles in addition to its transport capability. Only 2 of the Mk-5s are fitted for missiles. Original fit was to be 4 x Sea Killer anti-ship missiles but until recently no missiles were carried and the craft were used for logistics only. In recent exercises two C-802 Noor anti-ship missiles were carried.
BH7 Mk5 with two C-802 Noor Missiles, 2010. Source: FARS
SR.N6 transport hovercraft
D: 10 tons Dim: 14.8x7.7x4.8 Speed: 58 knots Weapons: 1 or 2 12.7mm MG. Machinery: 1 Gnome Model 1050 gas turbine, 1 Peters diesel as auxiliary power unit. Notes: These are used as troop carriers and fast supply ships for the Iranian Navy Marines. Up to 6 tons of cargo can be carried.
6-seat utility hovercraft entering production in 2009. Suitible for patrolling, search and rescue and light logistics duties.
Younes-6. Source MEHR
Other Indigenous Hovercraft programs
Iran has displayed models of other hovercraft designs generally influenced by the British supplied examples already in service. The largest of these has an open vehicle bay at the front and is generally similar to Griffon BH-130.
Source isca A smaller craft with an enclosed compartment is designed for personnel transport and is similar to the British Griffon 2000 type. This is thought to be in low-rate production for both civilian and military applications.
4.6.8 Wings in Ground Effect (WIG) craft
Bavar 2 wings in ground effect patrol flying boat
The Bavar 2 WIG was first demonstrated in 2008 and entered service in 2010 with IRGCN. At least 10 have been produced including a tandem-seat trainer. The type is typical of light type-B WIG boat with the capability to temporarily increase its flying altitude beyond ground effect. It cannot maintain flight without ground effect. The aerodynamic layout is called the Lippisch delta, a form of Ram-Wing that has a reverse-delta plan-form. As with most other Lippisch delta WIG this is coupled with a T-tail and large winglets. Despite claims that the Bavar 2 is stealthy, it is clearly not, and the military applicability of the design is limited. Claims that it can carry missiles such as the Kowsar anti-ship missile appear unfounded.
Bavar-2. Source IRNA
4.6.9 Captured Iraq Vessels
These ships escaped Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War. Iran never put these ships in service, but it can be assumed they were studied by Iranian naval experts. All these ships are of Soviet origin.
Project 206.5 Uliss Nato Code Name: Bogomol class Patrol Craft
S: 220t standard, 245t full S: 37 knots Dim: 127'9”x25'6”x5'9” Range 500 nm @ 35 knots Weapons: 1 quad SA-N-5 Grail launcher, 1 AK-176 3” gun, 1 AK-630 CIWS Electronics: Radar: MR-102 POT DRUM Surface/air search, MR-123 BASS TILT FCR EW: Kikhrom HIGH POLE-B IFF, SQUARE HEAD IFF, Kolanka HOOD WINK Optical FC director. Crew: 30 Soviet export patrol boat, quite good vessels but not widely exported. Its fate is unknown but perhaps knowledge gained from its design has been incorporated in to newer Iranian ships.
Osa II class Guided Missile Patrol Boat
This common class of PTG carries four SS-N-2 STYX missiles. Woefully outdated they have not been seen and are not listed in current documents. Alligator class Landing Ship Tank This capable class of Russian LST can be used for both amphibious assaults and laying mines. In 2010 the IRGCN used this ship as a target during war games in the Strait of Hormuz. The ship was struck with several rockets from IRGCN small craft and towed back to port.
4.6.10 Naval aviation
Number in Service: 2 The Orion is a highly successful derivative of the Lockheed Electra airliner, operated by a large number of countries around the world. Its primary mission is Maritime Patrol and Anti-Submarine Warfare. To that end they are equipped with a large surface search radar in the noise of the aircraft, internal and external sonobuoy dispensers, a Magnetic Anomaly detector (MAD) on the “stinger” in the tail end of the aircraft, a search light and ESM pod can be equipped on the inner wing pylons. They are also equipped with a sniffer to detect diesel exhaust from snorkeling submarines. The ASW weapons capabilities on their aircraft are extensive there are 10 weapon pylons on the wings (possably on just one aircraft) and 8 in the bomb bay. The pylons and carry bombs, mines, rockets, and missiles such as the Maverick. The bomb bay generally carries ASW torpedoes or depth bombs, GP bombs or mines can also be carried. These are the most capable aircraft in the Iranian Navy, they have an impressive range and endurance (up to 14 hours). However their ASW capabilities are probably reduced due to lack of spare parts unless their systems have be replaced by similar Russian systems. Also limiting their ASW potential is their radar, as built it was unable to detect a submarine's periscope. Unclear is any modifications to that system.
Number in Service: 5 Notes: Patrol version of C-130 cargo plane. Used normally for SAR and basic patrol duties in addition to cargo role. Could be used as a bomber or mine layer drooping ordnance via the cargo ramp.
Number in Service: 2 Notes: This is a twin engine maritime patrol aircraft fitted with a surface search radar.
Fokker F-27 400M and 600M Friendship
Number in service: 4 (2 each class) Notes: Dutch cargo/passenger aircraft. Used by IRIN as logistics and patrol aircraft. Possibly fitted with search radar. Painted in same blue camouflaged pattern as P-3F Orion.
Number in Service: 7 Notes: Chinese twin engine transport aircraft also employed for Maritime Surveillance. Operated by IRGC.
Dassault Falcon 20
Number in Service: 1-2 Notes: This is a VIP transport aircraft.
Aero Commander 690
67 Number in Service: 4 Notes: This is a utility aircraft.
Shrike Commander 500S
Number in Service: 4 Notes: This is a utility aircraft.
Number in Service: 2 Notes: This is a utility helicopter. Possibility retired.
Number in Service: <20 Notes: This is a utility helicopter, it can be armed with AS-11 ASMs and SSU-11 gun pods.
ASH-3D Sea King
Number in Service: 9-15 This is the larger of the Iranian Navy's Shah era ASW helicopters, they were manufactured by Augusta with a license from Sikorsky. It is too large for operation off any combat ships currently in operation by the Iranian Navy (Currently only the Mowj), however several support vessels have sufficiently large landing pads to operate them. These are fitted with a SMA/APS surface search radar in the underbelly fuselage, a Bendix AQS-13 dipping sonar, ASQ-81V MAD (Magnetic Anomaly Detector), and Sonobuoys. Four torpedoes or depth charges can be carried for ASW missions while up to four Fajr-e-Darya missiles could be fitted for ASuW missions. A SAR verson also is in service and is equipped with a AN/APN-195 radar in the nose.
Sea King deploying marines. Source via Uskowi on iran blog
This is a Russian built utility helicopter and gunship. The Iranians have fitted some to fire C-801K anti-ship missiles.
At least one test launch has been publicized, but operational status unclear. The Noor missile fitted to the Mi-17 is a modification of the ground launched version normally fired from a box launcher. This means that the launch booster and the pop-out folding fins are retained. An advantage of retaining the launch booster is slightly longer range and the ability to fire the missile at very slow speed or hover, but the down side is a rather heavy missile that must exist the helicopter very calmly to ensure that the fins don’t hit the fuselage or pylons when they pop-out split seconds after launch.
RH-53D Sea Dragon
Number in Service: 7 with 3 no longer in service These are massive helicopters capable of lifting heavy payloads. Their combat capability is limited to pintle mounted machine guns. These aircraft are intended to operate in several support roles including long range search and rescue, insertion of SOF, heavy lift of gear (small boats, SDVs, ground vehicles etc) and mine sweeping. For mine sweeping a sled is moved into position by a surface ship and then hooked up to the RH-53D. There are three types of sleds for the RH-53D, the Mk 104, 105 and 106. The Sea Dragon. Source ISNA 104 generates noise similar to a surface ship to sweep acoustic mines, the 105 generates a magnetic field to sweep magnetic mines, the 106 combines both systems by clipping the 104 on the tail of the 105. A large 'V' shaped cutter can also be towed to cut a mine's mooring cable so it will float to the surface where it can be spotted and disposed of. An AQS-12 towed sonar maybe fitted to aid in the detection of mines, With the use of that system marker buoys can be laid to indicate the location of mines for disposal by EOD teams. It can be assumed that mines could also be laid by these aircraft. A lack of spare parts grounded these aircraft for a long time after the Revolution. These aircraft are critical to the Iranian navy but are generally overlooked by observers, these are the only mine countermeasures platforms currently in operation by the Iranian Navy. Elimination of these aircraft could theoretically remove the Iranian Navy from a war scenario in which mines are used against it. Additionally there are several operational problems with these aircraft in their MCM role. The 'V' shaped cutter is only usable at under 12 knots while the sleds are only usable at over 20 knots meaning that basic contact mines cannot be swept at the same time as the more sophisticated acoustic and magnetic mines. Also their endurance on station is only around 2 hours. Another factor to consider is that US built mines maybe configured to ignore the acoustic and magnetic “signatures” of the Mk 104 to 106 countermeasure system since its operation is well understood by US forces. The sorry state of mine countermeasures in Iran is strangely mirrored by the US Navy which relies on its allies for MCM assets and stations only two MCM vessels in the Gulf while it has decommissioned an entire class of them years before
69 the end of their expected operational lives. Apparently mine sweeping is just not “sexy” to the Naval Brass no matter what country you're in.
AB-212 and Shaviz-275
Number in Service: 6-10 A decedent of the versatile Huey built with two engines by Agusta. These are small and simple aircraft that are being built in Iran as the Shaviz-275. They have a crew of four, pilot, co pilot and two systems operators who handle the radar and sonar systems. The aircraft features a comprehensive avionics package including all weather flight controls systems, automated navigation and hands-off autopilot capability. Defensive countermeasures are also fitted. These aircraft are equipped with a Ferranti SeaSpray Radar on top of the cockpit above the pilot.. A winch on the left side is used for deploying the Bendix ASQ-18 dipping sonar, a rescue basket for SAR or harness for personnel transfer are alternative fits. A TG-2 Teseo datalink can be fitted for SSM targeting. Armament can include two Mk44/46 or Moto Fides A-244 torpedoes for ASW attacks or for surface attacks light anti ship missiles such as the Fajre-Darya or AS-11/12 (stocks permitting)could be fitted.
AB-212. Source via Uskowi on iran blog
This helicopter is capable of operating of any Iranian ship with a helicopter deck and appear to be the embarked helicopter for the Mowj. Other missions observed for these aircraft include transport for up to 7 passengers, Medivac of up to four litters and one medic, search and rescue and carrying of zodiac boats (presumably for special forces missions). VRTREP could also be accomplished using the AB-212.
4. 6.11 Missiles
Noor (C-801/Ying Ji-8 Eagle Strike-8, Sagheb or Thaqeb is Iranian SLCM)
CSS-N-4 NATO Code Name: SARDINE Range: 43 nm/ 80 km Warhead: 165 kg Speed: High Subsonic Number in service: From 60 (low estimate) to 200 (high estimate. Includes all C-800 series missiles) Launch Platforms: Truck launchers. Alvand/Mowj FFGs, Bayandor FSG, Hamzeh FSG, Kaman PTG, Thondar PCFG. Kilo SS possible. This is a solid fueled missile based loosely on the French Exocet. It features a J-Band monopulse radar guidance system that is jamming resistant and a radar altimeter. It can be launched from both ships and shore. An encapsulated version for launch from a submarine's torpedo tubes is thought to exist.
Range: 20 nm/ 37 km Warhead: 165 kg Speed: High Subsonic Launch Platforms: F-4 Phantom, Su-24 Fencer, Mi-17 Hip Notes: This is an air launched version of the C-801.
C-802/Ying Ji-82 (Eagle Strike-82, Noor is Iranian produced copy)
CSS-N-5 NATO Code Name: SACCADE Range: 64nm/ 120 km Warhead: 165 kg Speed: High Subsonic Launch Platforms: Truck launchers. Alvand/Mowj FFGs, Bayandor FSG, Hamzeh FSG, Kaman PTG, Thondar PCFG. Mi-17 Helicopters This is a upgraded version of the C-801. New in this missile is a turbojet engine and a rocket booster. It has a
Noor fired from SINA class FAC. Source FARS
71 data link allowing over the horizon targeting by a 3rd party and mid course guidance. The flight profile is as follows, the missile is boosted from its launch container aboard ship and accelerates to its top speed just under mach 1 in seconds. The booster drops away and the turbojet take over and the missile proceeds to its enable point at between 10-20 meters ASL. At the enable point the missile scans with its radar, when a target is acquired it dives to around 3-5 meters ASL and may employ evasive maneuvers to avoid interception. The missile is programmed to strike near the target's waterline, a time delay feature in the warhead allows the missile to penetrate the hull and detonate inside the ship causing more damage. Future upgrades to the design may include dual IR and Radar seekers, a laser altimeter and GPS/GLOSNASS guidance for basic strike capability as featured in Chinese Navy's YJ-82s. If these upgrades are acquired it would present a significant advance in capabilities for Iran.
In 2010 Iran paraded a test round for the ‘Ghaem’ air-launched version next to a photo of an F-4 Phantom implying the likely launch platform. The turbojet powered C-802 offers far greater operational range than previous Iranian airlaunched C-801K missiles. Although China has already developed an air-launched version it is likely that this is an Iranian project.
Air-launched C-802. Source ILNA. Iran deploys large numbers of shore based C-802 Noor missiles operated by IRGC. These are mounted on trucks in single, double and triple launch configurations. The original launcher was of Chinese design with three missiles, but mounted on a locally sourced truck chassis. The twin launch configuration features a modernized mast-mounted radar, and the single launch configuration is designed to be more easily disguised as a civilian truck.
Twin launcher. Source MEHR
Single missile configuration; fires directly forward. Source FARS
Triple launcher configuration; requires separate radar
C-701 / TL-10 Kosar
(Also “Kowsar”). The Kosar program refers to several short ranged anti-ship missile types of Chinese origin that Iran is manufacturing for the IRGC. Iran is producing versions of both the C-701 and TL-10 families of missiles. Both types come in both TV and Radar seeker versions, with Infrared seekers rumored. These missiles are relatively light and generally equivalent to the Norwegian Penguin-3 system
Kosar – TL-10A Length: 2.5m Weight: 105kg Range: 3 - 15km Speed: Mach 0.85 Warhead: 30kg semi-armored piercing Guidance: TV Kosar 1 – C-701T Length: 2.5m Weight: 100kg Range: 4 - 15km Speed: Mach 0.8 Warhead: 29kg semi-armored piercing
Kosar (TL-10A). Source MEHR
73 Guidance: TV Kosar 2 – TBC, likely IR guided version Kosar 3 –C-701R Length: 2.69m Weight: 120kg Range: 4 - 25km Speed: Mach 0.78 Warhead: 29kg semi-armored piercing Guidance: Radar Both have generally similar capabilities although the C701 is longer ranged and its radar version, unlike the TL10 radar version, can accept post-launch retargeting. The TL-10 is thought to be employed on the China Cat missile boats whereas the C-701 has been showcased as a shore battery system in wargames. Both families are capable of shore, ship, Shahed-285 helicopters and jet launch.
Truck launched Kosar-3
Model of Kosar-3. Source IQNA
First displayed in mid 2010, this weapon is a locally produced copy of the Chinese C-704 missile and is entering service with IRGC. About half the size of a typical anti-ship missile (eg Noor, Harpoon), the Nasr is slightly larger than the Kosar and twice the weight but can still be carried by the China Cat patrol boats or land-based launchers capable of firing C-701 series missiles. It appears to be replacing the Kosar in newbuilt missile boats but the increased size generally means fewer can be carried. Unlike the Kosar it is not clear if there’s an air-launched version in Iranian service.
Nasr production facility.. Source ISNA
74 Specifications Length: 3.5m Weight: 350kg Range: 8 – 35km Warhead: 130kg Speed: Mach 0.9 Guidance: Radar
HY-2 (Hai Ying-2; Sea Eagle-2)
bCSS-C-3 NATO Code Name: SEERSUCKER Range: 48nm/ 90 km Warhead: 450 kg Speed: High Subsonic Number in service: 300 Launch Platforms: Truck or tracked launchers. These are descendants of the Soviet SS-N-2 Styx missile of the 1950s. There are two versions of this missile, a Radar guided version and an IR guided one. Also incorrectly called a “Silkworm” missile in the press these missiles are outdated and employ an easily predictable flight path well above the radar horizon, making them relatively straightforward to intercept, decoyed or jam for modern warships warship. The main threat this weapons present is the merchant ships which has virtually no defenses fitted. Use as a land attack missile has been demonstrated during the Operation Iraqi Freedom but with limited results. The missile’s one strength is its large warhead which is about twice the size of those of most anti-ship missiles. The original system employs a towed trailer with trainable launcher but more recently various truck-launched systems have entered service with IRGCN.
Truck-mounted launcher. Source FARS
Towed launcher. Source ISNA
Specifications Range: 194 nm/ 360 km (claimed) Warhead: 450 kg Speed: High Subsonic Number in service: Unknown, in production Launch Platforms: Truck or tracked launchers. This is a HY-2 airframe equipped with a turbojet engine. Possibly an imported North Korean type (NK-01), it is radar guided possibility with a seeker similar to the Noor, and has a longer range than the standard HY-2. Its range is sufficient to hit nearly any target in the Gulf from the Iranian coast. Claims that it is supersonic are not credible. Some observers doubt the claimed range.
Dating from the Shah’s rapid military growth of the late 1970s, Iran’s Harpoon missiles were thought to have been expended and withdrawn from service, but launch tubes have recently been seen mounted on a Kaman class FAC indicating that Iran has acquired some rounds. Specifications Range: 140km Warhead: 221kg penetrating blast Length: 3.85m Speed: Mach 0.8 Weight: 540kg
RIM-66 SM-1 Standard MR Surface to Air Missile
Specifications Standard SM-1 and Harpoon missiles at a parade. Source Borna Range: 25 nm/ 46 km AA Ceiling 65,000 feet/ 19812 meters Warhead: Mk 50 HE rod Speed: Mach 2.1/ 1,353 knots Launch Platforms: Mowj. One Kaman was fitted as a test platform. Originally fitted to Babr (Allen M. Sumner class DD) Originally considered a highly effective SAM system, it is now obsolete. On Iranian ships these are launched from single round box launchers. They are a Semi-Active Radar Homing missiles meaning that a ship's fire control radar must illuminate the missiles target constantly. Generally only one target maybe illuminated at a time by a FCR. These missiles are also capable of engaging surface targets. With the discarding of the Seacat in the early 1990s these appear to be the only active SAM system in the Iranian navy other than MANPADS.
Khalij Fars anti-ship ballistic missile
Only revealed in 2011, the Khalij Fars (Persian Gulf) missile is a development of the Fateh-110 tactical battlefield rocket with a terminal-phase guidance system incorporated for accurate homing on a seaborne target. The guidance sensor is likely IIR and/or electro-optical, which some observers suggest may make it vulnerable to being decoyed (‘soft kill’). The missile remains intact throughout the flight rather than separating. During a recent publicized test, the "Persian Gulf" ASBM scored a hit on a stationary barge. Iranian Defense Minister Vahidi claimed that the type is now being produced and delivered to the IRGC, although the recent development implies some time before it is widely deployed. Specifications Range: 300km (est) Warhead: 650 kg Speed (terminal): Mach 3 (est) .
Missile on TEL. The TEL is seemingly identical to that used with the Fateh-110
4.6.12 Torpedoes & Mines
The Iranian Navy uses legacy US supplied lightweight and more recently Russian supplied heavyweight torpedoes, whilst the IRGC-N largely operates North Korean types, often locally manufactured.
Range: 14 nm at low speed, around 6 nm at high speed. Speed: 44-65 kts Guidance: Wake homing. Fusing: Contact and magnetic. Warhead: 300 kg Depth: 0-1200 feet Engine: Kerosene and Oxygen catalyst turbine
78 Relatively old Russian wake-homing torpedoes supplied with the Kilo class submarines. They home in on a surface ship's wake possibility by sending high frequency pings against the water's surface making them relatively difficult to counter, although a towed torpedo decoy can be used. Impact is likely at the rear of the target.
TEST-71MKE & ME-NK
Range: 8-14 nm Speed: Two speed modes: 24 (26 on TEST-71MK-NK) and 40 kts Guidance: Active/Passive homing. Wire Guided. Fusing: 2 Contact and 1 magnetic exploders in TEST-71ME, 2 of each in TEST-71ME-NK. Warhead: 205 kg Depth: 0-1200 feet Engine: Electric Motor Wire guided ASW torpedo supplied with Kilo subs. The more advanced TEST-71ME-NK incorporates ASuW capability and is likely in service with Iran but unconfirmed.
PT-97W / YT534W1
Range: 5.4 – 8.1 nm Speed: 35 - 40 kts Guidance: Passive acoustic homing, wake-homing Fuzing: Contact and magnetic exploders Warhead: 250 kg Depth: 2 - 14 m Engine: Electric motor powered by a silver zinc battery
YT534W1. Source ISNA
North Korean supplied anti-surface torpedo for the IPS-18 TIR class torpedo boats. Locally produced version has designation YT534W1 which is likely the North Korean export designation. The weapon is thought to have entered service with DPRK in 1997 and represents the first generation of North Korean produced heavyweight torpedoes. The type has a distinctive ‘pie-disk’ nose for a passive-homing sonar. The design appears largely based on the Russian TEST71 series but is not wire guided (and couldn’t be for torpedo boat launch anyway). The rudder features a distinctive cutout which helps identify it. A typical launch scenario would involve the torpedo boat approaching the target from the rear where it is noisiest to maximize the chances of a lock. However the weapon’s short range and modest speed mean that it can easily be out-run by modern gas-turbine powered warships, but is still very potent against fleet support vessels. It is possible that this type is also carried by the IS-120 Ghadir class midget submarines but this is unconfirmed and the related CHT-02D seems more likely.
Range: 5.4 – 8.1 nm Speed: 35 - 40 kts Guidance: Passive acoustic homing, wake-homing Fuzing: Contact and acoustic exploders Warhead: 250 kg Depth: 2 - 14 m Engine: Electric motor powered by a silver zinc battery North Korean anti-surface torpedo for the IS-120 mini-submarines, the CHT-02D is a successor to the PT-97W. The main external difference is the placement of the control surfaces ahead of the propellers. This precludes surface launch but is common in submarine-launched torpedoes. General performance remains as per PT-97W. This type of torpedo gained notoriety in the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan in April 2010. In that incident, it is believed that an MS-29 submarine was employed – being the North Korean designation of the IS-120 Ghadir class. The CHT-02D armed Ghadir class is almost certainly the IRGC-N’s most potent combatant, but the effectiveness of the torpedo comes from the factor of surprise rather than its performance. There is no open-source evidence of the CHT-02D being in Iranian service but it seems very probable.
VA-111E Shkval (‘Hoot’)
Range: 11-15 km Speed: around 200 kts Guidance: Internal – straight line. Fusing: Magnetic or timer. Warhead: 700 kg Depth: around 6m Russian supplied anti-ship torpedo employed by IRGC-N surface combatants. When first revealed the Iranian press appeared to claim that Iran invented the Hoot missile (/torpedo) but it is very clearly the Russian Shkval weapon. Much of the footage of Iranian test launches were actually Russian test launches. Despite this common misconception that the Shkval is in active service with Iran some observers believe (based on Russian evidence from the supplier OAO TNK Dastan) that only 4 Shkval were delivered and that at least two of those have been expended. Russian support has declined since the original supply and Iran does not appear to have mastered reverse engineering of this type yet. It is likely however that this is an ongoing project and that we may see widespread service in the near future. The only identified launch platform is the Tarlan torpedo boat, and it is unlikely that other torpedo boats or submarines can carry the system which requires specific modifications/systems. The heavy weight and negative buoyancy of the missile makes it unlikely that modget submarines would carry it, although the Kilo class SSKs could with assisted modification. Iran has not paraded the Shkval and little has been heard from official Iranian sources since its unveiling several years ago. Despite these credibility issues, the Shkval remains a focal point for many Iran followers.
This is a current-production export version of the infamous Soviet Shkval (Squall) rocket torpedo of the late 1970s. The original Soviet version could be equipped with a nuclear warhead and was a submarine launched weapon intended to be fired down the bearing of an incoming torpedo and destroy the submarine guiding the torpedo towards them. The weapon entered service in 1977 but the west didn't publically learn about it until the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990's. Other countries have experimented with super-cavitation but only Germany is currently working on similar designs. The weapon generates a gas cavity that the torpedo travels in, bouncing off the “walls” of the cavity. This reduces friction and allows the rocket to function at great efficiency. Although the great speed (often missdescribed as supersonic) has led to much hype, the type does have several limitations in Iranian service. Once launched the missile can change course by 20 degrees and then must travel in a straight line since any attempt at changing the direction of the weapon may cause it to leave the cavity where the force of the water would destroy it. There is no homing system as the gas cavity prevents sonar from functioning. This weapon cannot slow to allow a homing system to “get a lock” since it utilizes a solid fuel rocket that cannot stop burning once ignited. The weapon travels at a relatively shallow depth of 6m. In the context of a surface launch, the weapon is harder to out-run than regular torpedoes but easier to outmaneuver since it cannot change course.
Mk-44/46 & ET-52
Range: 3.5 nm Speed: 30 kts Guidance: VHF Active. Capable of helical search patterns. Fusing: Contact Warhead: 34 kg Depth: 5-1000 feet Engine: 30hp electric motor with 24kW silverchloride/magnesium seawater-catalyst battery Launch Platforms: P-3F, AB-212AS, ASH-3D, Alborz, Naghdi, Mowj
Mk-44or -46 practice round fired from Mowj Class. Source FARS
Supplied by the US before the revolution, these are typical lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes. More recently it is likely that China supplied the derived ET-52 (export designation of Yu-7) which has similar performance.
DPRK 32 cm Torpedo
Range: est 2.7 – 3.0 nm Speed: est 30 – 35 kts Guidance: Passive acoustic homing, wake-homing Fuzing: Contact and magnetic exploders Warhead: est 45 kg Depth: 2 - 14 m Engine: Electric motor powered by a battery, possibly seawater activated
81 Designation unknown. Anti-surface torpedo for the IPS-16 PEYKAP, GAHJAE, KAJAMI, and MK 13 torpedo boats, now locally produced in Iran. Estimated characteristics based on older US and European designs. The effectiveness of lightweight torpedoes in the anti-shipping role is dubious.
Mk-53 depth charge
Weight: 147 kg Fusing: Contact and pressure (depth) Launch Platforms: P-3F, AB-212AS, ASH-3D
Limbo ASW Mortar Round
Range: 366 to 910 meters Warhead: 94 kg Fusing: Timed Launch Platforms: Alvand class Frigates: Alvand or Sabalan only.
M-08 contact mine
Type: Moored Warhead: 114 lb Operational Depth: 0-350 feet Fusing: contact, 5 hertz horns Of US origin, produced in Iran as the SADAF-02
MYaM contact mine
Type: Moored Warhead: 20 kg Operational Depth: Fusing: contact, 3 hertz horns
EM-52 rocket mine
Type: Bottom, Rising. Warhead: 300 kg Operational Depth: 16-600 feet. Fusing: acoustic Notes: This is a rising mine, when a target is detected the mine fires a rocket that propels it to the surface where is strikes the ship. The mine is unguided during the ascent phase. This mine can be deployed via a submarine's torpedo tubes.
EM-52 mine. Source: Chinese Defense Today
Type: Bottom Warhead: 1100 kg Operational Depth: 12-120 meters
MDM-6 mine. Source: warfare.ru
82 Fusing: Magnetic, acoustic, and pressure Russian designed mine that features both a ship counter and timer (both arming and self sanitizing). Designed to be deployed via a submarine's torpedo tubes. Reportedly 1,800 mines were supplied along with Iran's three Kilos by Russia. It is unknown how many were MDM-6s.
Mao-4 moored mine
Type: Moored Warhead: Operational Depth: 0-350 feet Fusing: contact, 5 hertz horns Chinese version of Soviet KSM mine.
4.6.13 Other weapons
ML.2 Rocket Launcher
Range: 3.75 nm Warhead: 8.3 kg Fires 12 107mm rockets. Two rocket tubes can be exchanged for one .7.62mm machine gun. May or may not be gyro stabilized. Can traverse on two axis. Maybe fitted to small craft or patrol boats for use in harassing attacks on civilian ships. These weapons are utilized as direct fire weapons greatly reducing their effective range.
ML.4 Rocker Launcher
Fires 12 107mm rockets. Is stabilized and remote operated. Can traverse on two axis. Maybe be fitted to small craft or patrol boats and is similar to ML.2 but with superior mounting.
107mm Double Tube rocker launcher
Uses same rocket as ML.2, this is an Army weapon fitted to Boston Whaler style speed boats. Not commonly used by Iranian forces but exported to terrorist groups such as the ones responsible for attacking Israeli targets on 5 May 1990 with a Boghammar type boat so armed.
Range: 7km (air)/ 17km (Surf). 3.7nm (air)/9.1nm (Surf) Rounds Ready per gun: 80 Total Rounds: 320 Rate of Fire: 85 Round Per Minute Weight of round: 12.34 kg This is an Iranian copy of the OTO Melara 76mm DP Gun which was introduced to the Iranian navy with
Fajr-27 aboard Sina class. Source FARS
83 the Kaman missile boats. Currently the Sina missile boats, Mowj class corvette and one of the two Banyandor class corvettes have been fitted with this weapon. This weapon is capable of engaging both air and surface targets and is subtitle for shore bombardment. Targeting is accomplished via a fire control radar. Optionally, a optical director maybe installed on the gun turret as is featured on the corvette Naghdi. This director may incorporate IR or LLTV systems for night combat.
Type 69 Auto-Cannon
Range: km/ 3.8nm Rounds Ready per gun: Total Rounds: Rate of Fire: 1000 Round Per Minute Weight of round: kg Chinese copy of the Russian AK-230 twin 30mm cannon. The first CIWS put to sea (nearly a decade before the US System) it’s less compact requiring spots for both the gun and the separate (but optional) radar and manual director. It is not regarded as a CIWS by many observers and is less capable against missiles.
Fath 40mm AAA
Range 4km against air targets (quoted as 12km) ROF: 300 rds/min Unveiled in 2009, the Fath is simply an upgraded Bofors L-70 40mm AAA as fitted to Kaman class FACs. Several of the Kamans had previously been stripped of their Bofors which were replaced by 20mm AAA or radars. Although it is possible that it is being mass produced, it is more likely that the system installed on the single Mowj class corvette is a refurbished one previously on a Kaman. Some commentators and press consider this a CIWS but it is rather a regular AAA system with only modest capability against missiles.
Fath. Source ISNA
GAM-BO1 20mm AAA
Range: 1.5km against air targets ROF: 900-1000 rds/min (cyclic). 200rds on mount Carried by: Mowj class, Sina class, Alvand class British crewed light AAA mount using Swiss Oerlikon 20mm cannons. Widely used by Iranian Navy since 1990s.
GAM-BO1 AAA seen ahead of bridge on Mowj class. Source FARS
Rate of fire (Cyclic): 1,000 rds min (single barrel) Practical: 200 rounds per minute per barrel Effective range: 2-2.5 km (1.24-1.55 mi) Effective altitude: 1,500-2,000 m (4,921-6,562 ft) Russian origin 23mm light AAA employed in crewed form. Both the usual twin mount (Zu-23-2) and Iranian single barrel mount are employed. Only found on IRGCN craft, notably Thondar class (twin mounts)and China Cat (single mounts).
Other shipboard weapons
DShK 12.7mm MG. Widely employed, this can be used as light AAA or against surface targets. Equivalent to .50 Cal HMG in Western navies BM-21 /HM-23 122mm MLRS. Employed for shore bombardment and as a direct-fire weapon against ships. Carried by Hengam LST, China Cat FACs, and some patrol craft. Oerlikon 35mm AAA twin mounts fitted to Alvand class corvettes
Map of Navy bases:
Map of IRGCN bases. Lighter blue are less frequently employed.
Bandar-e Khomenei 30°25'41.42"N, 49° 4'50.18"E One of the major petrochemical shipping points in Iran, Bandar-e Shahpur, as it was known before the revolution does not appear to have a naval presence as some suggest, however due to its strategic value as a major transit point, it would be foolish to think there are not any military support staff, even if they're only a contingent of IRIN/IRGCN marines.
30°29'43.62"N, 49°12'23.91"E Located in the delta formed by the Karun river south of Ahvaz next to Iraq, the port of Mahshahr in the 3rd naval district is a small affair, connected to the Persian Gulf by a series of small channels and waterways. This prevents the port from being home to any vessels larger than small patrol boats. This limits its operational capability, largely restricting it to serving as a home-base for interdiction and local patrol operations near the Iraqi border. Judging from the makeup of the craft stationed as well as the overall capabilities of the base, it appears to be primarily IRGCN It has a large number of small patrol and fast-attack craft including quite a few IPS-series boats armed with torpedoes and AshM's. There are also 30-40+ Boston-whaler type speedboats that operate in a varying state of readiness, some are located next to the water on ramps, while others are simply left out in empty lots more then a kilometer away from shore, in obviously non battle-ready conditions. A number of other larger, if obsolete patrol boats such as a Mk III patrol boat. Observable Assets – June 30 2009 3 IPS-16 Peykaap 5 Bavar 1 IPS-18 Tir 7 "battle-ready" (in-water or near-water) speedboats 30+ “non-battle-ready" speedboats (scattered across compound) 1 MK III patrol boat 2 unknown patrol boats (L. 13 m B: 3 m Weapons: mine, naval MLRS, 12.7 mm MG) 5/6 unidentified support/patrol boats (various)
30°26'2.71"N, 48°11'34.25"E Former headquarters of the the Imperial Iranian Navy, Khorramshahr is now home to extensive repair and
overhaul facilities in association with the Shahid Mousavi industries group whose products include barges, landing craft, and offshore platforms. The location is very near to Iraq and thus particularly vulnerable in wartime. No visible assets beyond a compound at: 30°24'11.55"N, 48°11'46.42"E
29°14'48.01"N, 50°19'48.88"E Home to one of Iran's most valuable petrochemical facilities, it comes as no surprise that it has a naval element protecting it. The harbors are located alongside the protected eastern shore of the island with three observable individual harbors, though the other harbors are likely capable of hosting ships as well, and due to its strategic position, the island as a whole is probably capable of hosting much larger ships then what is visible. Khark’s visible naval assets are composed of medium-large sized FAC's such as several unknown type's such as a Thondar look-alike, but with smaller rear-mounted missiles and a different bridge. There are also four more FAC or patrol boat of an unknown type in the same size range as “MIG-X-XXXX” type boats. In the same harbor, there are a number of high-quality speedboats. In this case, high-quality means anything besides the basic Boston-whaler type boats. There are also a number of other military installations on the island including a HAWK battery as well as several questionably-operable HQ-2 batteries. Observable Assets – March 4th 2004 4 Unknown patrol boats 20+ speedboats 1 Unknown FAC
Main mooring 28°58'2.58"N, 50°51'50.74"E Naval academy 28°53'47.19"N, 50°51'3.96"E The IRIN and IRGCN naval facilities at the port of Bushehr is a major military and commercial port that houses several of Iran’s larger corvette-sized vessels as well as substantial storage, research facilities in addition to what is purportedly their largest repair and overhaul facilities. Formerly the headquarters of the 2 nd naval district. Bushehr is the home base for the two Bayandor corvettes in service with the IRIN. The different between the two are that the IRIS 82 Naghdi has been refurbished with twin Noor AshM's and new guns, which give it a distinct appearance over the 81 Bayandor. Bushehr is also home to around 6-7 Kaman/Sina class missile boats, possibly including the P228 Gorz which is equipped with SM-1's instead of the usual AshM armament. There are also a number of speedboats and possibly semi-submersible craft's. Also operating from Bushehr are 2 RH53D's and around 6 AB-212ASW. Observable Assets (port) – June 16th 2009 2 Bayandor Corvettes 6 Kaman/Sina FACs 2 Hendijan Support Ships Various high-quality speedboats
Observable assets (naval academy) – Jan 16th 2010 1 unidentified midget sub (23m) 2 unidentified midget subs (17m & 13m). Possibly models for parades 3 probable Al-Sabehat 15 SDVs 1 small hovercraft Various other small craft
27°27'21.08"N, 52°38'15.55"E The Asalouyeh naval base is a recent addition to Iran’s naval assets, it was only inaugurated in November 2008. It's purpose is to fill the 306 km gap of coastline in between Bandar Bushehr and the Bandar Abbas naval districts. It forms the 4th naval district. As it was only inaugurated in 2008, satellite imagery is not available of it, however according to Admiral Morteza Saffari of the IRGCN, the base would be equipped with torpedo boats, FAC's and land-based AShM's, possibly indicating the use of IPS-series patrol boats and Thondar FAC's.
Navy base 27° 8'35.79"N, 56°12'45.61"E IRGCN missile boat base 27° 8'30.91"N, 56°12'5.58"E IRGCN torpedo & MLRS boat base 27° 8'21.13"N, 56°11'53.28"E Hovercraft base and nearby naval air strip 27° 9'15.68"N, 56° 9'49.97"E Located in the strategic straits of Hormuz, and home to the 1st naval district, Bandar-e Abbas has been the headquarters for Iran's naval forces since 1977 after it was moved from Khorramshahr. It is also home to the majority of Iran’s naval aviation, hovercraft and submarine fleet. Also located in Bandar-e Abbas is the Shahid Darvishi shipbuilders whose products include submarines, landing craft and tugboats. Bandar-e Abbas naval base is an extensive facility more then 6 kilometers long and has extensive harbor facilities. Starting on the western side of the base, there is the naval aviation runway which contains the IRGCN's 5-6 Mi-17 helicopters, though they are almost never all visible together. Also operating from Bandar Abbas but rarely visible is the IRIN's squadron of ASW SH-3D's, a squadron of transport and SAR helicopters composed mainly of AB-212's, though with an RH-53D and a AS-61A-4 as well. It was formerly the base for Iran's remaining P-3's, though as of late they have been moved farther inshore to Shiraz. Just below the airfield is the hovercraft base which include several SRN6's and BH-7's. The main harbor, just east of the airfield is an extensive facility that shares space with commercial shipping as well. The IRIN tends to favor the eastern portion of the harbor, while the IRGCN forces favor the western portion. The Kilos, illustrating the difficulty they've experienced in warm waters like the Persian Gulf, are more likely to be in dry dock then in battle-ready conditions. One is located in the sub moorings on the far east of the harbor, while a second is in a floating dry dock and the third is in dry-dock next to the Jamaran. Also visible are several Ghadirs, two just north of the Kilo in the submarine moorings, while a 3rd and 4th are visible just ready to be launched. It should be noted that these are the submarines featured in press photography of their inauguration in the latter half of 2009.
Four of Iran's landing ships are also visible, the Hengam, Larak, Lavan and Tonb.
Observable assets - June 29th 2009 1 Bandar Abbas support ship 3 unknown support ships (L. 63 m B. 12 m) Other unidentified support ships 1 Jamaran (Mowj) frigate 1 Alvand frigate 3 Thondar missile boats 2 IPS-16 4 IPS-18 31+ speedboats
25°40'40.90"N, 57°51'4.54"E Located about 150km east of the Straits of Hormuz, the base is used by IRGCN. HQ of 2nd naval and suspected Ghadir class midget submarine base. F-27 maritime patrol aircraft base.
Marines deploy from Jask. Source ISNA
27° 2'58.22"N, 55°59'3.22"E Recently established IRGCN FAC and midget submarine base with ship repair and building facilities about 25km west of Bandar Abbass.
4 Ghadir midget submarines at the new submarine peer at Bostanu. Source IRNA
25°18'52.13"N, 60°36'57.80"E Furthest east of all military port facilities in Iran. Used by IRGCN. Observable assets - March 3 2005 5 Thondar missile boats (GE)
Smaller non-military bases
Various They can service a large portion of the IRGCN's small PB/FAC fleet - IPS-series boats can dock and resupply anywhere. Likely caches of ammunition and fuel at pre-established positions along the coast in little inlets and whatnot.
26°43'10.09"N, 55°58'30.94"E IRGCN base with tunnel. No recent Open Source imagery. Suspected midget submarine base. Lot's of AshM's bunkers along coastline Observable assets - December 21 2003 34+ speedboats
“The Finger” Iranian Spy Platform
This facility is built on a crane atop a barge sunk during the Iran-Iraq war. IRGCN force operate small boats from it and use it to observe Coalition forces in the northern gulf. It is located with in sight of ABOT (Al Basra Oil Terminal). As visible in the picture are large antenna has been installed presumably for intercepting Coalition radio traffic. The facility, or another essentially like it, is used as a temporary fast-boat base by the IRGCN when capturing Coalition patrol boats operating from Iraq.
25°53'40.20"N, 54°33'7.82"E On the South-East side of the island is a small port facility. In 2010 Google Earth imagery 4 large cargo ships and 1 small one are docked. This ships are most likely civilian.
25°52'22.32"N, 55° 0'38.62"E This island is occupied by Iran but claimed by the UAE. 8 small craft are visible in 2010 imagery. IRGCN forces are reported to be stationed on the island. HAWK SAMs and “Silkworm” (HY-2) type missiles are also reported.
Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb
26°15'54.33"N , 55°19'27.75"E 26°14'26.08"N, 55° 9'21.18"E Two UAE islands occupied by Iran. Heavily fortified with airstrips and AAA. There are several small ports but no boats are visible on Greater Tunb in 2010 imagery. Lesser Tunb has several Boston-whalers in its port. Airstrips can be found on both islands.
37°28'7.00"N, 49°27'51.00"E This is the main naval base on the Caspian Sea. Home port of the Caspian flortilla, consisting of Sina class missile boats and a Hamzeh class corvette.
36°39'17.58"N, 51°30'15.73"E Naval base on Caspian Sea, also home of a Naval Academy. -unnamed36°51'33.48"N, 53°22'21.62"E Probable naval base for small craft on Caspian Sea.
4.8 Future Prospects
Currently no major surface vessels appear to be under construction for the Iranian military. Construction of small craft no doubt continues.
Qaaem (P-550) submarine
D: 650 Tons Dim: 51x6.4x6.3 S: 16 knots dived Range 2,500 nm. Endurance: 20 days Max Depth 300 meters. Weapons: 4 533 mm torpedo tubes, 8 400 external torpedoes. Up to 12 mines in dispensers. SA-N-7 Igla MANPADS Crew: 9 + 6 divers Machinery: Diesel and Electric motor, 1 shrouded propeller. A small model of a submarine was displayed by the Iranian press as a submarine to be built for the Iranian Navy. Although judged as an indigenous program by some observers, the type is the Russian P-550 class, designed by the Malachite design bureau.
There is another model of a small indigenous design which may also be the Qaaem. Little is known of this type but is not closely related to any other known type.
With the current arms embargo on Iran access to new naval aircraft is limited. Production of new or upgraded helicopters no doubt continues. Modification of civil aircraft for patrol use is very possible and difficult to track as modifications could be as simple as better radios and a pair of binoculars. Models of and literature on the joint Russian/Iranian IrAn-140 aircraft that is in development have shown a navalized variant that can be armed with ASW torpedoes or possibly Anti-ship missiles in addition to radar, sonobuoys and a MAD detector. A unarmed fisheries protection and SAR variants have also been suggested.
Possible future procurement of additional C-800 series missiles from China would appear doubtful in the wake of US pressure. However the procurement of upgraded designs that would be built in Iran is possible, also these missile are not manufactured by the Chinese government but by the China Haiying Electromechanical Technology Academy (CHETA) a private firm which may not bend to US pressure. Additional upgrades to the C-800 series could include the C-802A which expands the range to 180 km. Dual TV or IR and Radar seekers, laser altimeters, and GLONASS/GPS upgrades are also offered by CHETA. The GLONASS upgrade might be the most potent addition to the C-802 missile, this system allows the missile to become a low cost land attack cruise missile, the GLONASS upgrade however unlike the Tomahawk does not feature a TERCOM system which allows the missile to scan and analyze the terrain ahead for the best possible flight path. A GLONASS only system would allow the missile to only avoid obstacles known to the mission planner. In January 2011 Iran unveiled a new model of triple C-800 series coastal launcher. The missile bins feature a redesigned lid suggesting a slightly lengthened missile with different nose section. This may be just yet another C-800 series TEL or it may point to a new indigenous missile type such as outlined above.