Monday, August 09, 2010

Iran Launches New Submarines Designed To Harass Shipping

Iran has been busy attempting to ramp up domestic production of various military technologies, and it made special notice of its desire to build its own submarine fleet.

Needless to say, the submarines it came up with fall well short of US standards.
State-run Press TV showed the submarines sailing from an Iranian port. Iran's fleet of the 120-tonne Ghadir-class vessels, first produced in 2007, now numbered 11, it said.

They have "excellent shallow depth performance, and can carry out long-term coastal missions," Press TV said.

"With the mass production of this submarine alongside various guided-missile launchers the country's defensive production chain is complete," Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said.

"These capabilities will be used to served peace, stability and security in the Persian Gulf region and the Sea of Oman."

The launch of the new submarines comes as Iranian officials deliver daily messages of defiance to the potential threat of a strike by Israel or the United States against the nuclear program Tehran says is entirely peaceful.

Iran has said it could close the Strait of Hormuz -- the gateway to the Gulf through which 40 percent of the world's traded oil travels -- if it comes under attack.
They're purposefully meant for coastal operations and have limited deepwater capabilities. Ultimately, these submarines are meant to harass oil tankers - not stopping a USN Carrier Task Force. They're meant to operate as harassment of shipping in the Persian Gulf, and the Iranians think that these subs will be hard for the USN or other navies to detect and destroy because of their size, electric motors, etc., ignoring that the USN has been doing the cat and mouse with the Soviet Union's sub fleet for several generations.

Moreover, as a closer examination of the submarine photos will indicate, the quality of construction isn't anywhere near what the US has been able to produce for several generations of submarines. It's design harkens back to the WW II era, and the various welded segments appear to be poorly done. The ship is a fraction of the size of a modern US submarine, and is meant for littoral water operations rather than an open-ocean confrontation. Its limited size also means that it is limited in the kinds or numbers of weapons that can be stowed aboard.

Indeed, it looks like Ecuadorian narco-terrorists have more sophisticated designs than the Iranian regime.

While it is easy to laugh at Iran's feeble sub fleet, it remains a threat to the oil shipping that passes through the Strait of Hormuz - and that's its chief use. Iran doesn't care if their subs get picked off by the US Navy. If the Iranians can damage or sink a couple of oil tankers, they will send oil prices through the roof and cause further instability in the Persian Gulf. That's their ultimate intention.

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