The Islamic Republic News Agency just released a set of photos showing what appears to be new Iranian naval equipment. The photos, released on Thursday, appear to show several types of fast boats that Iran favours in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf, as well as a rather odd assortment of submarines or semi-submersibles. One image was of what has been suspected to be an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV).
If this submersible is indeed a UUV, it would put Iran into an exclusive group of countries.
Only the US Navy and Britain’s Royal Navy have such large UUVs.
Iran’s autonomous submarine is comparable with the Boeing BA Orca extra-large uncrewed underwater vehicle.
Boeing’s diesel-electric powered vessel is able to dive to 11,000 feet and reach a maximum speed of eight knots.
The US Orca can travel thousands of nautical miles without returning to port.
It is not known if the Iranian version has this capability.
But Iran’s UUV would not need to travel far to deliver damage to its targets.
It could be used for mine laying in the Strait of Hormuz, which would immediately sever the world’s access to 21 million barrels of oil per day.
The vessel developed by Tehran was displayed at a ceremony to introduce over 100 new boats to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s Navy.
This is the core unit of the Iranian army that is suspected to be behind a series of limpet mine attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf last year.
In the photograph released by Iranian television one of the indicators that point to unmanned operations is the lack of a visible opening through which people could enter the hull through.
The Royal Navy have their own autonomous submarine.
The UK’s vessel is called the Manta.
It can dive over 300 meters below the ocean surface and has a 48 hour endurance capability.
Iran’s underwater autonomous vessel would not be used to go head-to-head with the United States Navy.
Instead, it is designed to hinder operations of adversaries and obstruct shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.