Over the last few days Iranian defense and military leaders have announced that they will soon unveil a slew of new domestically built weapon systems, including submarines, advanced torpedoes, surveillance and possibly combat UAVs, fighter jets and various kinds of missiles.
Shortly after taking over the Defense Ministry, for instance, Hossein Dehqan announced that Iran would be unveiling a domestically built submarine sometime in the next three months.
“[The] launch of Fateh Submarine is amongst our 100-day programs,” Dehqan said on Wednesday, the IRGC-affiliated Fars News Agency reported.
Iran already operates a decent size submarine fleet. It launched its third 4,000-ton Russian-built Kilo-class submarine last September. Tehran’s first domestically-built submarine, the 400-ton Nahang vessel entered into service back in 2006, although it hasn’t built anymore of them since. The Iranian Navy—which is divided between the regular Navy and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Navy— also operates between a dozen and nineteen 150-ton mini submarines that are modeled off of the North Korean Yugo and Sango-class submarines.
According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington, DC-based think tank that closely monitors Iran’s naval activities, the Fateh-class submarine displaces 600-tons and is capable of “firing large torpedoes, surface-to-surface missiles, and laying mines.” In the past Iranian officials have claimed that it will have both passive and active sonar, submarine-launched surface missiles, and a hydrogen-oxygen fuel-cell propulsion system, which is a leading technology used for air independent propulsion (AIP). This would make the Fateh submarine virtually silent and able to stay submerged for extended periods of time. This is a potentially harrowing prospect for U.S. naval planners given Iran’s strategic location atop the Strait of Hormuz.
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