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Islamic Republic of Iran Navy
نیروی دریایی جمهوری اسلامی ایران
IRI.Navy Seal.svg
Seal of the Iranian navy
Active 1923 - Present
Country Iran Islamic Republic of Iran
Branch Navy
Part of Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Equipment Current Vessels
Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari
Naval Jack Naval Jack of Iran.svg

After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Imperial Iranian Navy was named Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN). As the naval warfare service branch of the Islamic Republic of Iran's armed forces, it has traditionally been the smallest branch of the Iranian military and is tasked mainly with securing Iran's ports and coastline. Over time, the Iranian Navy has changed its mission to primarily anti-piracy beyond the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. The Iranian Navy has aspirations of becoming a blue water navy but has lost influence to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, which is now primarily tasked with securing Iran's interests in the Persian Gulf region.[1]


Babr Destroyer c.1977

The Iranian navy was rebuilt after being almost completely destroyed during the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in World War II. Following World War II, the fleet began replacing destroyed warships with destroyers, frigates and many smaller vessels, including powerboats and hovercraft, many of which originated from the U.S. and UK, which had played a part in destroying much of the original equipment in World War II. In the 1970s, Iran planned to extend its naval reach into the Indian Ocean;[citation needed] but this goal was curtailed by the Islamic Revolution (1979), and the ensuing western-backed first Gulf War (Iran–Iraq War) (1980–1988) which left it hampered in the face of the invasion.

Iranian Alvand class frigate at sea.

The last Shah of Iran ordered four modern Kidd class destroyers from the United States and eight modified Kortenaer class frigates from Royal Schelde, but both contracts were canceled after the Iranian revolution. The destroyers were instead commissioned in the U.S. Navy as the Kidd class, while construction of the frigates had not yet started.[2][3]

In terms of major surface ships, Iran relies on its Alvand Class Frigates as well as the new Jamaran-Class Frigates which indigenously developed in Iran is a reverse engineered Alvand Class with Modern Electronics and Radar and Armament. Iran's three destroyers are over 50 years old and are kept in material reserve at Bushehr.[citation needed] The Iranian Navy does not include capital ships; their largest ships are five frigates and three corvettes, all of which are armed with modern anti-ship missiles.[citation needed] The main focus of the Iranian Navy seems to be developing new frigates, corvettes and medium to large fast boats capable of carrying modern precision anti-ship missiles.[citation needed] Three of five frigates (Vosper Mark 5), however, were commissioned over 25 years ago and these ships have been updated with Chinese C-802 missiles.[citation needed] Iran's three corvettes were commissioned over 30 years ago; one (the Hamzeh) was originally a government yacht but has now been equipped with Chinese C-802 missiles as well, but it is deployed at Anzali on the Caspian Sea.[citation needed] These eight ships are supported by three Russian SSK Kilo attack submarines and Ghadir and Nahang class mini submarines.[4][5][6][7] The Russian built Kilo submarines are considered among the quietest diesel submarines in the world.[8]


An Iranian navy in one form or another has existed since Achaemenid times and the First Persian Empire around 500 BC. The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy came into being when the former Imperial Iranian Navy (IIN) of the Pahlavi Era was renamed following the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Following this was the US-led arms embargo on Iran and the Iran-Iraq War, in which the IRIN played a role. The arms embargo restricted Iran's ability to maintain and equip its navy. It had to find new sources of armaments. Equipment and weaponry were imported from the Soviet Union, China, North Korea and later, Russia. Iran also established its own domestic armaments industry. This industry has also supported the navy by providing weaponry, equipment and spare parts.

Islamic Republic of Iran Navy Aviation

The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy Aviation (IRINA) is the air arm of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy. It is one of the few air elements in any Persian Gulf navy, and has both fixed-wing aircraft and armed helicopters.

American aircraft were introduced to the inventory, in the 1960s and 1970s: with European made aircraft comprising the more modern part of the fleet.

Aircraft Type Variants In service[9] Notes
Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion minesweeper/heavy-lift transport helicopter RH-53D 3
Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King anti-submarine warfare/medium-lift utility helicopter ASH-3D 10 built by Agusta, in Italy.
Mil Mi-17 Anti-surface warfare/medium-lift transport helicopter Mi-171
Bell UH-1N Twin Huey anti-submarine warfare/Anti-surface warfare/light transport helicopter AB 212ASW 14 built by Agusta, in Italy.
Fokker F27 Friendship transport aircraft F27-400M 4
Dassault Falcon 20 transport aircraft/VIP transport Mystère/Falcon 20E 4

Procurement of naval equipment

Fokker 27 of Islamic Republic of Iran Navy

Suffering from decaying Western-supplied weapons purchased by the Shah, Tehran has been acquiring new weapons from Russia, China and North Korea. Iran has expanded the capabilities of the naval branch of the IRGC, acquired additional mine warfare capability, and upgraded some of its older surface ships. Iran's exercises have included a growing number of joint and combined arms exercises with the land forces and air force. Iran has also improved its ports and strengthened its air defences, while obtaining some logistic and technical support from states like India and Pakistan.

As far as major new equipment is concerned, Iran has been building up its naval strength by acquiring three Kilo class submarines from Russia, as well as other equipment, including 10 Houdong fast attack craft from China. Russia and India were reported to be assisting Iran with training and operating its Kilo class submarines. As regards other requirements, in December 1997, Rear Admiral Mohammad Karim Tavakoli, commander of the First Naval Zone, with HQ at the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas, claimed that the Iranian Navy had completed design work on three multirole corvettes and a small submarine, to be built in Iran.

Iran has 3 Russian-built Kilo class submarines patrolling the Persian Gulf. Iran is also producing its own submarines.[10]

In August 2000, Iran announced that it had launched its first domestically produced light submarine or swimmer delivery vehicle, named the Al-Sabiha 15 because of its 15 meters length, in an official ceremony at the Bandar Abbas naval base. In May 2005, Iran navy announced that it had launched its Ghadir class (midget class submarine) and in 8 March 2006 announced that it had launched another submarine named Nahang class (Persian: whale).

During 2000 Iranian Naval Aviation significantly improved its capability by taking delivery from Russia, of a number of Mi-8 AMT (Mi-171) transport/attack helicopters. Under a contract signed in 1999, Russia agreed to supply 21 Mi-171s to Iran. Delivery was completed in 2001; although the exact number destined for the navy was unknown. In summer 2001, there were indications that Iran would order a further 20 Mi-171s, although as of mid-2004, it was not known if this had occurred.

In November 2002 sources at both Iran's Aerospace Industries Organisation (AIO) and the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (COSIC) confirmed that the two groups were working on common Anti-Ship missile production and development. The effort, which Iranian sources call Project Noor, covers the short-range C-701 and the long-range C-802 weapons developed by COSIC's China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Co subsidiary. The possibility that a formal collaborative project was under way was first raised in 1998, when Iran displayed an Anti-Ship missile design similar to the 15 km range C-701 shortly after the Chinese system was unveiled.

An AIO spokesperson confirmed that Project Noor involves the C-701. However, officials in the same company describe the weapon as "a long-range, turbojet-powered, sea-skimming Anti-Ship missile," which better fits the 120 km range C-802, and suggests that the co-operation agreement may cover both weapon systems. In early 2004, Iran announced the release of a new cruise missile programme named Raad (Thunder). The Raad appears to be a modification of the Chinese HY-2 (CSSC-3) Anti-Ship missile, one of a series of missiles China developed from the original Soviet-era P21 (SS-N-2C) design.

On September 29, 2003 Iran's domestically produced Sina class (reverse engineered Kaman class) missile boat Paykan, equipped with modern anti-ship missiles and modern electronics entered service in the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy. The ship was launched in the Caspian sea to protect Iran's interests there and was mentioned among the achievements of the Iranian Navy by Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.

On September 22, 2006 Iran announced to have commissioned their second self-made Kaman class missile boat, Joshan. Built in memory of the original Joshan, lost in the Persian Gulf during Operation Praying Mantis on April 18, 1988. According to Iran's Navy commander Admiral Kouchaki, Joshan has a claimed speed of over 45 sea knots[3] and "enjoys the world's latest technology, specially with regard to its military, electrical and electronic systems, frame and chassis, and it has the capabilities required for launching powerful missiles."


Jamaran Class destroyer, Islamic Republic of Iran Navy

In 2002 Iran announced it would start the production of its first domestically produced destroyer. By most international standards the ship, the first of the Moudge class, would be considered a light frigate or a corvette.[11] On November 24, 2007 Iran's rear admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced that Iran would launch its first domestically produced destroyer, Jamaran and an Iranian Ghadir class submarine. It is said to be a sonar evading stealth submarine. Moje (aka Jamaran), later known as Moje I which appears to be a development of the Alvand (Saam) Class. Jamaran guided missile frigate entered service in 2010. Another frigate in the same class, named Damavand, has been commissioned in the port of Bandar Anzali in the Caspian sea (2013). This ship just like the Jamaran has the capability to: carry helicopters, anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, torpedoes, modern guns and air defence guns. The ship is also equipped with electronic warfare devices. The two mentioned frigates have brought Iran's frigate arsenal from 3 to 5, while two others are being built, to be added to Iran's fleet of warships in the Persian Gulf.

In March 2006, the navy deployed a submarine named Nahang (Whale) but the pictures broadcast by state media at the time showed it was a minisub.

22 February 2008 the Iranian Defense Ministry announced that 74 domestically produced "gunboats" (small missile boats) had entered service with the Iranian Navy. picture The Navy has had reported to have the Hoot supercavitating torpedo and the Thaqeb (missile) in trials or service, though reliable information is scarce.

Iran's Deputy Navy Commander Captain Mansour Maqsoudlou announced in February 2010 that Iran has begun planning to design, and manufacture domestically built aircraft carriers. The initial designs for building the carriers has been approved as of 2010 and the process of research and the design for the aircraft carrier is currently being looked into by the Iranian government. However, as of August 2013, the Iranian Navy is still currently in the research and design stages due to lack of government support and funding.[12]

In 2012 Iran overhauled one of the Kilo Class subs in its possession, the INS Younis. Iran was able to complete this re-haul at Bandar Abbas naval base. In addition the Iranian Navy has modernized and re-commissioned the 1135 ton Bayandor class corvettes; equipped with Noor anti-ship cruise missiles and torpedo launchers.

Another modern destroyer named the Sahand, with 2000 tons displacement is being fitted up with weapons and equipment in Bandar Abbas naval base; planned for launch in 2013.

In July 2012, foreign analysts reported that Iran was gaining new deployment capabilities, allegedly to strike at U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf in the case of an armed conflict, amassing an arsenal of anti-ship missiles while expanding its fleet of fast-attack crafts and submarines.[13][14]


In 1977, the bulk of the fleet was shifted from Khorramshahr to the new headquarters at Bandar-e Abbas. Bushehr was the other main base; smaller facilities were located at Khorramshahr, Khark Island, and Bandar-e Khomeini (formerly known as Bandar-e Shahpur). Bandar-e Anzali (formerly known as Bandar-e Pahlavi) was the major training base and home of the small Caspian Sea fleet, which consisted of a few patrol boats and a minesweeper. The naval base at Bandar Beheshti (formerly known as Chah Bahar) on the Gulf of Oman had been under construction since the late 1970s and in late 1987 still was not completed. Smaller facilities were located near the Strait of Hormuz. [7] Iran also announced that new base is established on Oman Sea.[8]

  • Abu Musa - small docking facility on the island's west end; located near Abu Musa Airport
  • Al-Farsiyah
  • Bandar Beheshti (Chah Bahar) - port and base facilities in the Gulf of Oman
  • Bandar-e Abbas - naval HQ and home to naval airbase
  • Bandar-e Anzali - once training base and now home to Caspian Sea Fleet (patrol boats, minesweepers)
  • Bandar-e Khomeini - small sheltered base located near the border with Iraq
  • Bandar-e Mahshahr - small base located near Bandar-e Khomeini
  • Bushehr - repair and storage facility in the Persian Gulf; home to Navy Technical Supply Center and R&D center
  • Haluldisambiguation needed (an oil platform)
  • Jask - small base located across from Oman and UAE in southeastern Iran at the mouth of the Straits of Hormuz
  • Khark - small base on the island and located northwest of Bushehr
  • Khorramshahr - former naval HQ; now repair and shipbuilding facilities
  • Larak - small base on the island and near Bandar-e Abbas
  • Kharg Island - base in the Straits of Hormuz; home to hovercraft fleet
  • Noshahr - not a base, but home to Iman Khomeini University for Naval Science (naval staff college)
  • Qeshm - small port facility near Kharg and Bandar-e Abbas
  • Shahid Rajaie
  • Sirri - island port facility located in the Persian Gulf and across from UAE

See also


External links

Coordinates: 27°08′34″N 56°12′55″E / 27.1427°N 56.2154°E / 27.1427; 56.2154

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