Surface Forces: Iran And The Killer Klones


February 21, 2010:  The Iranian Navy sent its first domestically built destroyer, the Jamaran, to sea today. Apparently this is the "destroyer" that Iran announced it was building three years ago. No further details were given at the time, or since. It was known that Iran had launched a clone of their British made Vosper Mk 5 frigates in 2002. That 1,500 ton ship has been fitting out ever since. Four Vosper frigates were delivered in the early 1970s, and at least three are still in service. Actually, these are considered "corvette" type ships, as destroyers tend to displace over 7,000 tons. The Iranians have a tendency to exaggerate. A lot.

 The Iranian navy could certainly use a new warship. Currently, the only major warships it has are three elderly British built frigates (1,540 tons each), and two U.S. built corvettes (1,100 tons each). There are about fifty smaller patrol craft, ten of them armed with Chinese anti-ship missiles. There are another few dozen mine warfare, amphibious and support ships. The three most powerful ships in the fleet are Russian Kilo class subs. There are several older North Korean mini-subs as well, some of them built in Iran. Or so it is said.

 All that's been heard of from Iran's naval shipbuilding facility at the Bushehr shipyard, are labor problems. There have been strikes and lockouts, and complaints of poor designs and sloppy management. Iran has, for the last two decades, announced many new, locally made, weapons, that turned out to be more spin than substance. Iran does have commercial shipbuilding firms, that produce merchant ships that are larger than destroyers. Thus it was believed that Iran could build something that looks like a destroyer. Filling this warship with adequate equipment and weapons is another matter, and that's probably why it's taken so long to equip their Vosper clone. The new corvette will probably have Chinese C802 anti-ship missiles, but a lot of the other necessary military electronics are harder to get and install in a seagoing ship.

Iran announced that the new Jamaran would have a crew of 140, and be equipped with anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and anti-ship weapons. At the moment, the Jarmaran seems to be filled mostly with hope and press releases.




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