Sep 10, 2010

Future of the Iranian Navy

Any realistic hope in conventional high-sea naval warfare (due to US/Israeli supremacy), but coastal/asymmetrical naval warfare remain the only “serious chance”.

2440 kilometers (1520 mi) in the Gulf + 740 kilometers (460 mi) in the Caspian Sea.

Personnal strength (+/- 53 000):
Regular/Conscript sailors: +/- 28 000; Islamic revolutionary guard corps naval force: +/- 20 000 (including 5000 “marines”); Iranian navy « marines » corps: 2600; Iranian naval aviation: 2600.

+/- 7 Corvettes:
3 Alvand class
“Alvand”, “Alborz”, “Sabalan”, 1540 tons, 94 meters british Vosper Mk5 corvette design of late 1960’s. Commissioned by 1971/1972. Now totally obsolete. Likely to reach the end of these useful life by late 2010’s and +/- replaced by the later “Moudge” class corvettes.

2 Moudge class
“Jamaran”, “Velayat”, 1400 tons. Slightly improved Alvand design with some Iranian indigenous systems. Commissioned by 2010/2012, with probable 30+ year service life, to be retired by late 2040’s. Likely 2 or 3 further ships planned through mid/late 2010’s to replace ageing “Alvand” class.

2 Bayandor class
“Bayandor, Admiral Naghdi”, ex US patrol corvettes PF 103 design (1100 tons, 83 meters), built by 1964. Armed with 4 SSM missiles and guns, now totally obsolete. Likely to reach the end of their useful hull-life by 2010’s and maybe indirectly replaced by newer “Moudge” class corvette or their life will be desperately extended in event of higher tension with US/Israel…

Likely a newer Iranian corvette design (much improved “Moudge”) is under study, and maybe (if any major war erupt with US/Israeli during 2010’s…) 2 or 3 newer ships were expected by late 2010’s/early 2020’s.

+/- 5 Mid-Shore Patrol boats:
3 Parvin class
(Parvin, Bahram, Nahid), 98 tons, 30 meters (ex US PGM-71 design, delivered during 1970’s), gun armed. Likely to reach the end of their useful life by late 2010’s.

2 (or 3 ?) Kaivan class
(Azadi, Mehran, maybe a third boat in unserviceable condition?), 98 tons, 28 meters, gun armed.

24 Fast Missiles Attack Crafts:
10 “Houdong/Thondar” class
(Fath, Nasr, Saf, Ra’ad, Fajr, Shams, Me’raj, Falaq, Hadid, Qadir). 38 meters 170/200 tons Chinese built FAC with 2 SSM missiles & MG, commissioned by 1994/1996, to be retired by late 2030’s.

10 Kaman class
(Kaman, Xoubin, Khadang, Falakhon, Shamshir, Gorz, Gardouneh, Khanjar, Neyzeh, Tabarzin). 275 tons, 47 meters French built “Combatant” FAC family, with 4 SSM missiles & guns. Commissioned by 1977/1981, expected to reach the end of their useful life by late 2010’s.

4 Paykan class
(Paykan, Joshan, Derafsh, Kalat),
Indigenously Iranian built & improved version of the Kaman class, 275 tons, 47 meters, with 4 SSM missiles & guns. Commissioned by 2003/2008. To be retired by 2040’s.

Likely some further ships (4 to 12 ?) were planned through 2010’s (Improved “Paykan” or a newer design ?) to replace +/- progressively the ageing “Kaman” class.

+/- 60 Small Fast Missiles Attack Crafts/Torpedoes Crafts:
9 Chinese cat-14
14 or 23? meters, 20 tons Chinese built design, now built under licence by Iran, with 4 SSM missiles & MG. The 5 first ships were delivered by Chinese in 2000, the next 4 were Iranian built ships by 2003-2008. Maybe few others under constructions ?.

Up to 25 Peykaap II class
13 tons, 17 meters, North-Korean built (IPS-16, FAC version), with 2 torpedoes & MG. Real number likely between 10 to 25 ships. Maybe few others under construction ?

10 Tir class (IPS-18)
28 tons, 21 meters, with 2 torpedoes & MG. 10 Mk-13 14 meters Chinese design, delivered by 2006, with torpedoes or SSM missiles.

3 Kajami class
20 meters (North-Korean Taedong B design), delivered by 2002, able to carry 2 torpedoes.

3 Gahjae class
15 meters (North-Korean Taedong C design), delivered by 2002, able to carry 2 torpedoes.

92 ??? Bavar class
(Iranian built). Uncertain data
, very unlikely

Likely some (+/- 2 or 3 dozens?) furthers boats (China or North Korean or Iranian designs) were planned through 2010’s to enhance/modernize the Iranian navy coastal defence capabilities.

+/- 110 Small Fast attack Crafts/Patrol-Crafts:
15 Peykaap I class
13 tons, 17 meters, North-Korean built (IPS-16, patrol crafts version), with MG. Maybe few others under construction ?

3 Zafar class
70/82 tons, 85 foot North Korean “Chaho” design, armed with rockets & MG.

6 MIG-S-2600 class
70/80 tons, 85 foot Iranian built, derived from North Korean “Chaho” class, armed with rockets & MG.

10 Pasche class
(MIG-S-1900 design).

20 MIG-S-1800
22 tons, 51 foot Iranian built, derived from US PCI class delivered in the 1970’s. Armed with MG.

6 Mk-II:
22 tons, 50 foot, armed wiyh MG (26 originally delivered by US in 1976/1977).

9 or 10 Mk-III:
28/41 tons, 19 meters, armed with MG (20 originally delivered by US in 1975/1976).

3 Sewart class
10 tons, 40 foot US built (12 originally delivered by US through 1970’s), armed with MG.

+/- 30 Boghammer class (MIG-G-0900)
6+ tons, +/- 9 meters, armed with MG & small rockets. (51 originally delivered bu Sweden by 1984/1985).

Very likely some of these western 1970’s/1980’s built small crafts (Mk II-III/Sewart/Boghammer) were unserviceable/worn-out/in bad-shape due to age/lack-of-spare.

6 Wellington patrol crafts
(2 Mk 4; 4 Mk 5)

1 Iran
A indegenous iranian built small craft ?

+/- 77 Others various small crafts:
(2 MIL 40; 1 MIL 55)

(MIG-S-1800 design)

(MIG-S-0900 design)



(MIG-S-0800 design)

(MIG-S-3700 design)

1 LIYAN 110

+/- 200 miscellaneous small crafts :
+/- 200 (RHIB, small fast “militarized” racing-boats, small-harbor crafts…).

Some of these crafts, although with a very limited autonomy/seakeeping, were able to be used as decoy/suicide crafts.

Nota: Since the late 1990’s, the Iranian Navy has worked to enhance its small patrol boat inventory by purchasing few fast boats (racing-boats, 50+ knots) from foreign speedboat manufacturer (Italian “Fabio-Buzzi (FB)” or British ”Bradstone-Challenger” designs…). Apparently the Iranian Navy “reverse engineered” the boats and began indigenously producing them (likely for Intelligence/Suicide/Harassing ops use).

Unmanned Crafts:
The Iranian Navy also reportedly is working on incorporating small "unmanned vessels" into its inventory, for intelligence/suicide ops.

3 Submarines:
3 Kilo class
4000 tons SSK (Russian Kilo SSK design). “Tareq, Noor, Yunes”, commissioned by 1992/1997. Likely with +/- 30 year service life, to be retired by 2025 and maybe replaced by a indigenous +/- 1000/1500 tons coastal SSK. Likely to be a “main-priorities” target for the US/Israeli forces in event of war.

Up to 13+ Midget Submarines:
1 Qaaem class
“Qaaem”, 1000 tons, under construction.

1 Nahang Class
“Nahang”, 350/400 tons, commissioned by 2006.

Up to 7 Ghadir class
“Ghadir”, others not officially named, 120/150 tons, commissioned from 2007-...

4 Yugo (Yono IS-120 ?) class
25 tons, midget submarine built by North-Korean.

8 ? (likely much more) Swimmer Delivery Vehicle
“Al Sabehar" class ?
8 meters ?...Any serious data found on the open web source (except propaganda pictures...). But it is very clear that Iranian frogmen’s were extremely well trained for special ops (attack on ship at anchor/harbor…).

Very likely the Iranian small sub’s fleet is expected to growth considerably in size during 2010’s because the cost/effectiveness of Midget (25/250+ tons) or coastal (400/800 tons) sub’s in restricted/Shallow waters (aka. Gulf-waters) was considerable (more cheaper/effective/stealthy than bigger 1500+ tons subs designs), and this, despite a smaller autonomy/sea-keeping quality (not very important in restricted/shallow waters).

2 Mine Warfare:
2 Riazi class
(Harischi, Riazi), 98 tons, 29 meters minesweeper (ex US Cape class).
A great shortcoming for the Iranian Navy.

4 Hengam LST
(Hengam, Larak, Lavan, Tonb), 2500 tons, 93 meters LST, british design derived from Sir Lancelot class. Commissioned by 1984/1985. Likely to reach the end of their useful life by late 2020’s.

3 Iran Hormuz 24
2000 tons, 240 foot, South-Korean built, 1985/1986. Likely to reach the end of their useful life by late 2020’s.

2 (3?) Iran Hormuz 21
1400 tons, 213 foot, Dutch-built, 1984/1985. A third ship unserviceable. Likely to reach the end of their useful life by late 2020’s.

3 “Fouque” class
250 tons, 125 foot Landing Ship Large (LSL), Iranian built 1988/late 1990’s.

6 LCT/LCU “Rotork” class (type 412)
9 tons, 42 foot, British built (originally 14 delivered).

With a ageing amphibious fleet (mainly from 1980’s). It is very clear that the Iranian navy will need to begin newer amphibious ships acquisitions projects by mid/late 2010’s for a first commission by early/mid 2020’s.

Few Hovercrafts:
Few SR N6 hovercraft
10 tons, 17 meters British design, delivered by 1973/1975.

Few BH 7 logistic support hovercrafts
18/56 tons, 24 meters British design. Originally 6 BH 7 (two BH 7 Mk4 & four BH 7 Mk 5A) were delivered to the Iranian navy by mid 1970’s.

But now, with embargoes/ageing-systems/lack-of-spare, nearly the entire Iranian hovercraft fleet (British built) was reduced to a embryonic/anorexic size (some crafts were deliberately cannibalized to provide spare-part for others in better condition, others were in storage, with probable any future hope to see the sea…).

3 Auxiliary ships:
1 Kharg class replenishment ship
“Kharg”, 33 000 tons, 207 meters British design (derived from Olwen design), commissioned by 1984, likely to reach the end of their useful life by mid 2020’s.

2 “Bandar-Abbas” class light replenishment ship
(Bandar Abbas, Booshehr), 4600 tons, 108 meters German built design, commissioned by 1973/1974, likely to reach the end of their useful life by late 2010’s.

With these 3 ageing ships, the Iranian navy need to acquire 2 or 3 newer ships by late 2010’s/early 2010’s.

+/- 24 Multi-purpose tenders:
7 Delvar class water tanker
(Delvar, Charak, Chiroo, Souru, Silim, Sirjan, Dayer), 1300 tons, 63 meters Pakistani built. Commissioned by 1978/1982. Likely to reach the end of their useful life by 2020’s. Can be used as cargo ship/water tanker/minelayers/mothers ships for midget submarines/small crafts.

13 Hendijan class general purpose tenders (MIG-S-4700 design)
(Hendijan, Konarak, Sirik, Geno, Kalat, Genaveh, Savatar, Mogam, Rostani, MMayband, Maqam, Khoramshahr, Bamregan).

4 Kangan class water tanker
(Kangan, Teheri, Marjani, Amir), 12 000 tons (Indian design built), commissioned by 1979. Can be used as a patrol boat.

Some of these ageing (late 1970’s) tenders were +/- in bad shape, few with reduced readiness. Likely some others civilian’s ships were able to be converted as mothers/intelligence ships in a even of war.

Few hundreds of Civilian built crafts:
Several dozen of civilians/privates “Dhow” & “trawlers”, able to be used as mothers ships/Intelligence ships.

Several dozen (or few hundred ?) of civilians/privates owned RHIB/small-crafts, able to be “militarized” as suicide/intelligence/decoy crafts.

Coastal battery/artillery:
(likely “shared” between the two “marines corps” & the land army): Without doubt, some 105/122/152mm guns (towed or self-propelled) were used in coastal artillery + some anti-tank missiles or recoilless rifles (75/82/106/107mm) and even mortars (60/81/82/107/120mm).

Airborne anti-ships missiles (shared with Iranian air force):
AS-10 Karen/AS-11 Kilter/C-801K/C-802 and maybe others.

Coastal anti-ships missiles (estimations):
100 + C-802/802A “Noor”.
100 + HY-2 “Silkworm”.
Some C-701T/C-201R/TL-10 A/B “Kosar various versions”.
Some Ra’ad.

Obviously, don’t forget the Iranian naval-mines arsenal, able to disrupt the oil world traffic through the Ormuz strait for several weeks or more likely few months…

Iranian Naval Aviation (estimations):
+/- 55 Helico:
4 Aero Commander ; 4 Shrike Commander ; 2 Bell AB 205; 20 Bell AB 206A; 15 Sea-King SH-3D; 10 Sea-Stallion RH-53D.

+/- 9 Aircrafts:
2 Falcon 20 ; 4 Fokker F27 ; 3 PF-3 Orion.

Some aircrafts from the Iranian air force (F-4D Phantom, Su-24 Fnecer, Mirage F-1) have a anti-ship capability.

In any case, some US/Western built helico/aircraft were in storage or in reduced service, mainly due to embargoes/ageing/spare-part/maintenance problems. Some helico/aircrafts were “cannibalized” for provide urgent spare part for much fewer helico/aircrafts in better condition.

In resume:
In event of a war with US/Israeli force, the biggest Iranian ships (Kilo subs, Corvettes, +/- medium auxiliary/landing ships (500+ tons), 100+ tons FAC) will be easily found & sunk in the first’s dozens of hours in a major war. The smallest units (under 50 tons), the coastal defence (Missiles battery/naval-mines) and the iranians specials forces (frogmens/commandos...) probably represent the main chance for the Iranian navy to effectively “withstand” the first main US/Israeli strike…

Next fleet review/editorial: Future of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

As usual, It may be that in my opinion, I forgot programs ? (or made few mistakes ?, especially in small-crafts), then said it ! Feel free to comment and give your opinion !