Surface Forces: The Tale Of Two Iranian Navies

Surface Forces The Tale Of Two Iranian Navies
                              Surface Forces: The Tale Of Two Iranian Navies



In May 2020, the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) received 112 new armed speedboats. Most of these were Zolfaqar, Heidar and Meead type boats.


The Zolfaqar is a speedboat with a top speed of 120 kilometers and capable of carrying two Nast 1 anti-ship missiles. It is unclear how effective these 350 kg (550 pound) missiles are when fired from a fast-moving 16.3-meter (52 foot) Zolfaqar.


The rocket propelled Nasr 1 has a range of 35 kilometers and uses a small radar in the nose to detect and home in on the largest ship it encounters. In clear weather, the crew of a Zolfaqar could spot the superstructure of a warship or large commercial ship up to 15 kilometers away.


Then you turn the boat towards it, fire a Nasr 1 and hope for the best. It would take less than a minute for the missile to reach the target. A warship, if its defensive systems were turned on, could probably destroy or mislead (jam the radar) of the missile.


A commercial vessel, like a tanker or cargo ship would probably get hit. If a tanker were loaded the missile would probably start a fire if the hull was hit.


If the superstructure was hit the 100 kg (220 pounds) of explosives in the warhead would do a lot of damage but not sink the ship and would probably not even stop it. Large commercial ships have proved quite capable of taking a missile hit and keep going. While Zolfaqars can haul around two 350 kg Nasr 1 missiles, none have been seen firing them and hitting a distant target.


Nasr 1 is meant for use from larger surface ships, shore batteries (fired from a truck) or launched from a helicopter.


Zolfaqar is one of two Iranian speedboats based on the British Bladerunner fast boat, one of the fastest in the world. Normally Zolfaqar is only armed with two 12.7mm machine-guns and smaller rocket launchers.


Iran smuggled in a 16-ton Bladerunner 51 in 2010 and has since manufactured dozens of Seraj 1 and Zolfaqar versions of it.


Most of the IRGC speed boats are smaller and armed with machine-guns and small rockets. Some will be loaded with explosives and used as manned or unmanned suicide boats.


Iran has had some success with unmanned suicide boats in the Red Sea, where they supply Shia rebels with large rockets and the tech to produce remotely controlled suicide boats locally.


The IRGC operates most of the 1,500 small boats used by the IRGC seagoing forces and the regular navy. Because of this, the U.S. Navy has had to develop two sets of tactics for dealing with Iranian naval forces.


Iran’s two Iranian navies are very different from the other. The traditional navy exists along with less well equipped but more fanatical forces of the IRGC, which is the personal army of the clerics that hold ultimate power in Iran. Both forces are equipped, trained, and led very differently.


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Also Read: Who is Iran’s Qalibaf and why does he matter?


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