A recent satellite image shows, Iran’s notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) is going to have a new ship, which is being equipped with sophisticated equipment similar to those massive warships. According to intelligence report, this monstrous ship will soon join Iran’s existing fleet of warships, which in size is much bigger and equipped with sophisticated equipment, secretly supplied by a number of European nations. The new design of this ship can be described as a low-observable (‘stealth’) missile corvette.
Although Iran is maintaining absolute secrecy about this already built vessel, intelligence sources confirmed, it is being built at the Shahid Mahallati Shipyard in Bushehr in Iran. This is the same yard that built the IRIS Shahid Nazeri. But, the most disturbing information is – alongside building this massive ship for IRGC, Iran also is building at least five miniature submarines, which are going to be loaded with nuclear warhead – secretly supplied by any of Iran’s old defense allies.
One source claimed, the nuclear warhead for the miniature submarine is being supplied by North Korea, while another intelligence report suggests – Pakistani military establishment or its spy agency ISI might have sold the nuclear warhead, in exchange for a large amount of money.
Giving description of the under-building IRGC ship, intelligence source said, this is having large catamarans with narrow widely-spaced hulls. The superstructure sits above the two, mounted on several tall legs, almost like a pond skater. This ungainly appearance may all the same allow a shallow draft yet high superstructure and decent stability. It also conveys relatively high speeds, reportedly 28 knots for the IRIS Shahid Nazeri.
The widely spaced hulls also allow small boats to be driven under the ship, which may be useful in some tactical scenarios. One possibility is that the ships can act as command ships for Iran’s swarms of small boats. The relatively spacious interior, high vantage points and helipad all match this interpretation. However, it is also equipped with missile bins for anti-ship missiles.
Intelligence source also claims, the new IRGC ship is having helipads to accommodate at least 4 helicopters. It may be mentioned here that, gun armament of this ship is likely to be much advanced version and larger cannons. IRIS Shahid Nazeri has a Gatling gun (possibly a locally produced copy of a minigun) up front and two ubiquitous Dshk 12.7mm heavy machine guns. Missile bins are being built behind the bridge, angled to fire outwards. These are likely for anti-ship cruise missiles. The new ship would be in some respects analogous to the Chinese Type-022 and Taiwanese Tuo Chiang class fast attack craft.
There is insufficient information at this stage to say which class this will be in the IRGC line up. It may relate to a project called the “Shahid Soleimani” class. This is named after Iran’s notorious General Qasem Soleimani who died in a US drone strike in Iraq on January 3 2020. Another possibility is that it will be the “Shahid Abu Mahdi” class.
A second hull, likely of the same design, has been observed at another small shipyard further down the coast near Bandar Abbas.