Iran Flexing Muscles Part 2: a New ‘Stealth’ Frigate?

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The newly built hull of IRI Sahand launched at Bandar Abas - September 2012
The newly built hull of IRI Sahand launched at Bandar Abas - September 2012
The lead ship of the Moudge class - IRI Jamaran light missile frigate
The lead ship of the Moudge class – IRI Jamaran light missile frigate

The lead ship of a new class of missile frigates was launched last month at Iran’s Southern port city of Bandar Abbas. The new vessel – IRI Sahand was described at the official announcement as the largest, most modern naval vessel built by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The new vessel utilizes a new radar absorbing hull structure, although the design itself is based on the current 1,500 ton Moudge Class light frigate.

The lead ship of the class, IRI Jamaran was delivered in 2010 and is now in service. The second ship – IRI Velayat is under construction at Iran’s Northern port city of Bandar Anzali and is expected to be completed and delivered to the Iranian Navy Casipan Sea fleet by March 2013 – several months later than scheduled. Construction of two additional vessels of this class – yet unnamed Moudge 3 and 4 is currently underway, according to Iranian Naval sources. The Jamaran succeeded the three locally Vosper Mk 5 light frigates built in Iran in 1968-1969 and are still operating with the Iranian Navy today.

[nonmember]Want to learn more on the Iranian Moudge and Shahand frigate? Sign up for Defense-Update Premium Account to know more…[/nonmember] [ismember]Jamaran is armed with four C-802 (Nour) class anti-ship missiles, two triple 234mm torpedo launchers. The vessel is fitted with a helicopter landing pad supporting Bell-214 class helicopters. In the future the vessel is likely to be equipped with a long range cruise missiles for land attack missions. The fifth and sixth vessels of this class are utilizing new hull design, built with ’radar absorbent materials’ According to Iranian sources the construction time required for completing the hull was cut by 80%, compared to the construction of the first ship of this class, Jamaran. The name of Moudge 5 traces back to the former Alvand Class frigate Sahand, sunk by the US Navy in 1988, in retaliation to an Iranian mine attack on US Navy Frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts. The attack also crippled Sahand’s sister ship Sabalan, which was heavily damaged but later repaired. Today, IRI Sabalan is still maintained in operational service, at least until 2020.

According to Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyar, four programs are currently underway at the Iranian naval shipyards including the six Moudge frigates, and the construction of four new Sina class corvettes.

Jamaran is equipped with eight C-802 (Nour) missiles and can carry two Bell 214 helicopters.

Also underway refurbishment and overhaul of Kilo submarines, the overhaul of the first sub Tareq 901 was completed recently at Bandar Abas. Sayyar claimed the overhaul was completed without Russian assistance, “The country of origin had failed to deliver plans of the submarine’s parts and was insisting to repair the sub in its own basins. However, the Iranian Navy has now developed the plans anew and has acquired a much significant expertise in the overhaul of the kilo-class submarines.”

According to project manager R. Adm Abbas Zamini, the overhaul comprised replacement and repair of the wings, pneumatic systems and pumps and sensors, propelling systems and engine parts, anti-radar systems, communication and sensors. It now remained to be seen whether the Tareq 901 will be able to repeat the bold voyage of its sister submarine ‘Younus’, that have sailed continuously for 68 days, the international waters to the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, under the Iranian Navy 14th fleet, returned home in early June 2011 following an over two-month-long mission in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

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Iran Flexing Muscles: [nonmember](Subscriber version)[/nonmember]