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Iran’s secret weapon: submersible torpedo boat

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posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 10:13 PM
It’s surprising that the pro-Iranian lobby don’t seem to have caught on to one of the Iranian Navy’s most James Bond like weapons; the submersible boat. But since the same community also overlooks the potent threat of Iran’s substantial fleet of stealth torpedo boats, maybe it’s no wonder.

As always I will remain politically unbiased. But I do think that Iran’s innovative application of military technology deserves more respect and recognition. And the asymmetrical threat posed should be taken more seriously than many pro-US/Anti-Iran people give it.

One of the torpedo boats sometimes seen on Iranian TV News is not consistent with any known class/type. The design is not stealthy and does not appear to rise out of the water like a typical speed boat suggesting that it is slower than most Iranian fast attack craft – such as the “China Cat” class. In face of these apparent inferiorities relative to major Iranian fast attack craft projects (the stealth boats and the China Cat), it seems odd that this recent design is has been developed. The design does however have several features which point to a key attribute not shared by any publicly known Fast Attack Craft operational anywhere in the world: submergibility.

The Threat:
The craft is armed with two lightweight torpedo tubes and could use its submersible capability to ambush enemy surface vessels. It would only submerge a few meters (the relatively thin Perspex hatch gives this away) and would only travel slowly submerged. In a littoral environment it would be relatively difficult to detect.

Its main weaknesses are its relatively basic targeting capability (assumed) and comparatively light firepower. But with the advantage of surprise, it poses a serious threat to even the best equipped warship.

Another factor to consider is on moral of the enemy. Watching for an enemy that you cannot see until shortly before an attack, whilst all the time expecting imminent ambush, can cause you to expend a great deal of time and resources chasing shadows. This is an advantage of asymmetrical warfare – the “footprint” of the submersible boat is far greater than its actual size.

Photographic evidence

Video evidence
9-12 seconds into this video clip there is footage of what appears to be the same craft pictured above launching a torpedo. The footage is followed immediately by footage of a Shkval rocket torpedo being launched.

NOTE: I do not believe that the footage of the Shkval launch is from the submersible boat:

The North Korean link
North Korea is known to have various submersible boats which it uses for infiltration of spies into South Korea, and in times of open war for special forces operations.

A popular image of a North Korean submersible boat:

The N’Korean’s are not thought to arm these craft with torpedo.

There have been many accusations that North Korea has provided arms assistance to Iran, not least by the CIA. Some of these accusations appear to have been incorrect, and China is by far a greater supplier of key military technology to Iran than North Korea is, but links between the two countries are pretty well known. Whether Iran has got this technology from North Korea can only be speculated, but the notion does seem credible.

posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 03:04 AM
Good info Planeman

Any idea on the inventory for these boats?

posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 06:57 AM

Originally posted by kojac
Good info Planeman

Any idea on the inventory for these boats?

Probably .... 1.
May or may not be adopted in greater numbers. The Iranian Navy is expanding rapidly with about 10 "China Cat" missile boats and a similar number, if not more, of the Stealth Torpedo boats. Plus an increase in larger missile boats and submarines.

posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 07:21 AM
Any naval war that iran will fight will be like the tanker war in the 1980's between iran and iraq.

FAC with ASM and Air lanuched ASM. Thats why iran is not building big ships, instead focusing on small ships which can "hit and run"

posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 10:02 AM

Originally posted by chinawhite
Any naval war that iran will fight will be like the tanker war in the 1980's between iran and iraq.

FAC with ASM and Air lanuched ASM. Thats why iran is not building big ships, instead focusing on small ships which can "hit and run"

US Navy is not Iraq Navy. Their small ships didn't help them against US in operation Praying Mantis.

posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 10:38 AM
I am a firm believer Iran has one of the most capable asymetrical military forces in the world, able to deploy small units to great effect against larger units. While very effective against many countries, I don't see it being anything other than tactically disruptive to the US Navy.

An example is the small boat swarm capability of the Iranian Navy. With over 1500 armed small craft displacing less than 100 tons, mostly armed with anti-tank guns, torpedos, mortars, 20mm cannons, and mines, the Iranian Navy is a potent force against most regional advesaries, and would give considerable pause to units lacking sufficient point defense and speed.

However, in studies conducted at the USAF Academy, the US Naval War College, and West Point it is universally agreed that the small boat swarm of the Iranian Navy deployed in the Persian Gulf shows up on a JOINT STARS tracking system much like an Iraqi Armor division did in teh desert during Gulf War I, making it unrealistic to believe they would impose a threat for very long in a real shooting war. I am assuming these conclusions are based on legitimate evidence.

Stealthy FACs like this could change that balance though, and make detection much more difficult for potential opponents.

posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 07:23 PM

Originally posted by darksided
Stealthy FACs like this could change that balance though, and make detection much more difficult for potential opponents.
Iran has at least 10 stealth torpedo boats and at least 1 other stealth boat, all very small and very fast.

Unarmed Stealth boat

[edit on 26-9-2006 by planeman]

posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 10:08 PM
holy.... those are actually boats!

I really want to see how effective will those boats be against the US aircraft carrier battle group....

posted on Sep, 29 2006 @ 10:36 PM
Such deployment tactics will force a much greater stand of distance, and that complicates everything, especially given the small surface area of the gulf.

I'm continuously running simulations with Type 1241 Molniya (Tarantul) class Kh-41 missile corvettes, and use as much coastal cover as I can. Bereg/Rubezh/Redut type coastal defense systems even further complicate matters.

With coastal SAM/artillery cover, Molniyas are EXTREMELY effective, and literally force the carrier group to keep at least a 300km buffer zone. It also forces EXTENSIVE defense resources commitment, and chews up most of the surveillance capability, thus leaving limited coverage for mission specific tasks.

These new Iranian stealth/submersible boats are even smaller, MUCH more difficult to detect, and when armed with Moskit/Yakhont/Shkval will wreak havoc on the carrier group.

At least in the sim, Ticonderoga/Oliver Perry class are regularly overwhelmed by 16 Kh-41s launched from 4 Molniyas, while Molniyas even with out SAM support are capable of defending them selves against BMGs/Harpoons while they are running for coast cover. It's an obvious problem.

The most effective solution proved to be SH-60B (Lamps III) hunter teams employing the Penguin (AGM-119B). A very effective combination. Two SH-60B flights (4 units total) attacking simultaneously from different directions and from low alt are deadly.

In case of these new Iranian submersibles, this advantage is totally negated. The boats are small, and even when on the surface they are difficult to track to begin with, (especially with IR Penguin), and when submerged they will be able to evade every conventional anti-ship missile we currently deploy.

Attempting to coordinate and time a double attack by first attacking with a Harpoon/Penguin and then by a helo launched torpedo is close to impossible.

The craft will just duck to evade the missile, and then pop back up to outrun the torpedo. Pinpoint strike missions will be necessary to take them out, and for that you have to get up close and personal.

This is where Kalchuga comes into play, and the data will surely be relayed to the attack boats.

This is a problem.

posted on Oct, 6 2006 @ 06:54 PM
Here's something even more troubling.

A stealth, variable geometry wing hybrid hydrofoil/WIG submersible craft designed to carry two (maybe more) Moskit, Yakhont, Shkval, etc.

Gas turbine powering ducted, thrust vectored, inboard propulsion fans for flight mode (multiple compressor or counter rotating fans per shaft?), and articulated water jests for surface, subsurface and hydrofoil assist take off mode.

The biggest challenge for WIG craft is the amount of thrust needed to overcome the surface tension, and instead of using under wing thrust vectoring in previous generation of large craft, in this configuration hydrofoils literally thrust the hull out of the water thus greatly reducing power requirements, and allows for fast power transfer to ducted fans for the final take off stage.

Both take off and landing time/distance are greatly reduced by such hybrid assist approach, not to mention increased surface speeds and fine submerged control.

Air speed is at least 400 km/h, surface/submerged speeds can only be speculated upon.

Power plant is completely isolated, allowing for extremely effective thermal/sound insulation. Exhaust is mixed with cool air/water.

A telescopic air snorkel and targeting sensor mast folds forward along the length of the hull, extension of which is automatically and continuously corrected via mini-hydrofoil slaved to the main control system, all of which allows for high submerged speeds and minimizes water wake typical to periscopes/snorkels.

"Caspian Sea Monster" is the distant past, and we don't even know what's currently in the pipeline.

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