Friday, May 7, 2010

IRIN Begins Velayat-89 Maneuvers

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.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Iran Unveils Mesbah-1 AAA

Iran Unveils Mesbah-1 AAA

Iran recently unveiled the Mesbah-1 anti-aircraft gun at a ceremony attended by Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi and numerous other defense officials. The Mesbah-1 is a short range, radar-guided gun designed for short-range protection that while a good upgrade for existing ZU-23-2 infrastructure, doesn't change the overall effectiveness of Irans larger air-defense network, if only because of its short range and role as a tactical rather then strategic system.

The Mesbah-1 system, with an 8-barreled gun, and at least two trailers carrying target acquisition systems.

The system is composed of 4 Zu-23-2 guns (8 individual guns in total). However the most interesting part is the radar which appears to be some sort of phased array system (keeping in mind i have minimal knowledge about radar's in general). Though it is unique in that instead of beign composed of a single slab, it's composed of a series of little "mounds". It also has a backup optical system in much the same manner as the 35 mm Samavat system.

Detection Systems - radar on the right, note the unique style of "mounds" rather then the conventional slab design. To the left is an optical tracking system.

The system appears to be fairly mobile, with a truck mounted radar system and with the gun mounted on a wheeled platform, indicating that this is not meant for static defense, but mobile air cover instead.

Interestingly enough, this is the "4,000 RPM" system that was advertised before that most had thought was a Gatling-gun system, and rightfully so after they had labeled it as such. Interestingly enough though, the theoretical ROF is not directly scaled up from the Zu-23-2, which if it was, would be 8,000 RPM (2,000 RPM per Zu-23-2).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Iran Unveils Toofan Helicopter

Iran Unveils Toofan Helicopter
Iran recently showed 10 new 'Toofan' attack helicopters that were being delivered to the Islamic Republic of Iran Army Aviation (IRIAA).

These new attack helicopters are based on the AH-1J originally delivered to the Shah. In fact, they appear to be almost carbon copies. The only difference is a slight redesign of the TOW sights mounted in the nose, though this might reflect an actual internal change, or just a change in manufacturing.

They appear to be new airframes, which would be significant in that they are now capable of mass-producing them, rather then simply producing demonstration models like the P4.