IRIN Begins Velayat-89 Maneuvers
The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy began wargames Wednesday, May 5th at the mouth of the Persian Gulf where it meets the Sea of Oman. It is set to last 8 days and consist of 6 phases.
While the wargames are not yet over, some pictures and videos have been released.
So far we have seen:
1) Extensive CBW training - Naval marines practiced decontamination as well as fighting in a chemical or biological atmosphere which involved MOPP suits as well as erecting decontamination tents. Notable was the use of the "Drakhsh-7" (pictured below) which is a small system mounted on a Toyota Land Cruiser which houses sensors and a water cannon for washing down targets, which can be operated from inside the truck.
2) Airborne Assault and Amphibious Operations - so far we have seen a heavy emphasis on offensive naval infantry operations, both using hovercrafts as well as naval and army aviation assets. This possibly reflects a change in recent years by the IRIN to project a more conventional offensive capability to better complement the inherently defensive doctrine of the IRGCN. This also comes as Iran has launched it's first indigenous frigate sized vessel and as they undertake more and more operations further abroad off the coast of Somalia.
3) Kaman Patrol Boats - Kaman class patrol boats is the Iranian designation for the French Combattante. They make up a significant presence in the Iranian navy, both in the Caspian and the Persian Gulf / Gulf of Oman / Indian Ocean.
The interesting part is that in the wargames they were seen without unique numbering, carrying only the general designation "P22_" whereas the complete designation for the Kaman class would be somewhere in between P221-P232. This omission doesn't necessarily indicate that there are more Kaman / Sina class boats then previously known, but it does indicate that something is afoot, whatever that might be.
Another interesting feature of the Kaman class boats is that they are being seen armed with Harpoon AShM's in addition to the normal load-out of Noor AShM's. This indicates that Iran has found some way of replenishing their stocks of Harpoons, the original missiles all past their shelf life by this time. This means that Iran is either producing them domestically, which would mean they would be roughly equivalent, though probably slightly improved, to the earlier models of the RGM-84, whereas if Iran is procuring it from the open market, it is far more likely to be one of the later versions of the missile.
Lastly, at least one example shows them armed with the SM-1 SAM's and a rear mounted targetting radar that replaces the AShM's and the 40 mm cannon.
Now let's see what the rest of the exercises have in store, supposedly it will involve extensive submarine as well as UCAV operations.