Iran’s navy has sent submarines to the Red Sea “to collect data,” its first mission in distant waters, the Fars news agency reported Tuesday without giving further details.

“The submarines, dispatched in May, have entered the Red Sea after a mission in the Gulf of Aden to collect data on the sea bed in the high seas and to identify other warships,” Fars said quoting an unnamed source.

“They are accompanying an Iranian navy fleet,” it added, without mentioning the number of the submarines, their types or the make of the fleet.

The Pentagon confirmed the movement of the Iranian submarines on Tuesday and said the United States is not “concerned” at this time.

“We’ve repeatedly expressed our concerns with the actions that lead to instability but just moving forces around isn’t necessarily something that we’re concerned with,” said Pentagon spokesman Colonol David Lapan.

He added that how Iran uses its forces in the region is of interest for the Pentagon. “It always has to do with what their intentions are,” he said.

Iran has several types of submarines, including the home-produced 500-tonne Nahang which was first introduced to the navy in 2006, as well as three Russian-made submarines of the Kilo class purchased in the 90s.

In August 2010, Iran’s army chief Ataollah Salehi announced the inauguration of a new “semi-heavy” submarine, named Qaem, capable of operating in the high seas, such as the Indian Ocean or the Gulf of Aden.

Iran’s navy operates 11 mini submarines of the domestically built 120-tonne Ghadir class, first launched in 2007, which according to Iranian officials are “stealth” submarines and patrol shallow waters, notably the Gulf.

Last February, two Iranian warships were sent to the Mediterranean Sea for a visit to Syria, crossing the Red Sea and Suez Canal, a move that angered Israel.

The two ships docked in Syria on February 24, marking Iran’s first such mission since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Tel Aviv put its navy on alert, following the entry of the Iranian vessels in the Mediterranean, while Israeli President Shimon Peres described the move as a “political provocation.”


    The Nahang-1 – Real or Imagined Threat!?
    If you read the article enclosed below that I have written below, these are the real submarines currently in the Iranian naval inventory, which pose a more potent and semi-potent threat to Western warships and submarines.
    I believe the Nahang-1 is really the classification of a midget submarine used by the Iranians for a host of coastal operations – like mine warfare and counter warfare, special operations, etc. – to name a few, therefore the pictures provided in this debate is fake.
    The Iranians probably have more than a dozen of these midget submarines in service, and they are probably built on templates supplied by the North Koreans or Serbians, who also excel in these fields – and they are developing the Nahang-2 right now.
    The Nahang-1 are probably in the hands of Hezbollah and/or the Iranian Revolutionary Guards operating in southern Lebanon, and Israel must pay heed to this piece of information.
    This is also the reason why Israel must continue to operate the smaller Gal Class submarines, which could be used effectively against the Ghadir Class which could also be supplied to Hezbollah in the near future, but also other surface and sub-surface combatants, and this include midget submarines.
    I also suggest that the West (which include Israel and Japan) develop smaller attack submarines which could fire 2-4 (or more) small A244S Whitehead lightweight torpedoes from its current template of midget-type/s submarines – for coastal defence operations (but also to provide naval fleet escorts in/near coastal waters, or when berthed when warships are most vulnerable to attacks!) – and these could also include remotely-operated midget submarines, and/or those operated by 2-4 or 6-8 personnels.

  2. Template based on North Korean or Serbian designs!?
    I believe these small coastal defence submarines are based on North Korean or Serbian designs, and built and assembled under close supervision in Iran – with foreign assistance.
    However, it has provided Iran with new capabilities; but I doubt it has any forms of stealth capabilities, though Iran may have actually poured financial investments into North Korean and Serbian (or other) programs.
    Iran is really trying painstakingly to built an arms industries – but currently its weapons programs are really based on rebuilding, reconstructing and remanufacturing existing weapons systems and its sub-systems with more modern technologies, mainly in the forms of upgrades – with assistance provided by re-turned Iranians trained in the West and elsewhere, and those trained by the West before 1979 – and later, those trained by the FEE and FSU, and also by China and North Korea, in reverse-engineering (which are really knock-offs built and assembled under license or no license at all) which are tailored and customised to Iran’s specifications and requirements.
    I also believe that Iran have also acquired older and used captured American-made weapon systems from Vietnam and elsewhere – especially F5 A/B/C/Ds, AH1s and UH1B/Ds, M60/M48/M113 tanks and vehicles, and Hawk SAMs, etc. – then upgrade these systems with parts and components sourced from the FEE and FSU, and elsewhere.
    It is also noteworthy that the Iranians have been able to rebuilt and reconstruct, uprate and upgrade engines – and these are areas where they have mastered – with foreign assistance provided.
    Iran have also employed large numbers of foreign technical personnels to maintain its large inventory of weapons – sourced from various countries – and these also include highly-skilled surplus R and D personnels from the FEE and FSU, and elsewhere.
    It is also true that these 4 new Ghadir Class submarines are coastal defence submarines with limited capabilities, and they can only pose a threat to Western warships operating near coastal waters, and they do pose a serious threat as hit-and-run submarines to advanced Western warships and submarines berthed at naval bases or merchant ports, with its self-defence systems switched off.
    The more potent sub-surface threat/s are the 3 Russian-supplied Kilo Class conventional attack submarines (Iranian designation: Tariq Class), though another new one (or more) may have also been acquired secretly, recently.
    But we can expect more Ghadir Class coastal defence submarines to be commissioned,at least some 8 or more, to allow Iran to have any form of sub-surface coastal defence capability at all.

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