Iran caps naval drill with brand-new torpedo launch
TEHRAN – The Iranian navy wrapped the last phase of a weeks-long naval drill on Tuesday, launching an advanced torpedo dubbed “Valfajr” following successful test-firing of a marine cruise missile the day before.
Footage put out by the navy forces showed the torpedo, fired from a submarine, blowing up a relict ship in Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.
The navy staged its annual navy drills in an area of two million square kilometers, spanning the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman, north of the Indian Ocean and the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait.
During the drills “Dehlaviyeh”, an advanced guided anti-ship missile system, was tested successfully.
Iran has developed homegrown military hardware over the past years, learning from a long war waged by Iraq in the 1980s, when the country ran on a shrinking storage of arms and equipment imported mainly from the U.S.
In 2006, Tehran tested what it called the world’s fastest underwater missile, named Hoot, or Whale, with radar-evading qualities designed to destroy submarines.
The torpedo, it was said, was able to travel at 360km/h, three to four times faster than most conventional torpedoes.
Also, in 2014 Iran unveiled a torpedo that could be fired from helicopters, submarines and ships, a technology utilized by NATO.
The naval drills come amid increasing tension between Iran and the U.S. over Iran’s missile capabilities after a moratorium of hostilities was in place since the international nuclear deal in 2015 between Iran and six world powers, U.S. among them.
Washington reacted harshly to a medium-range ballistic missile launch by Tehran late January, saying that it had officially put Iran “on notice” over the test.
Responding to Washington, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said his country’s missile clout is for “defense” only, rejecting that it posed any threat to the security and stability of the region.
Iran’s enhanced presence in the regional waters has brought about more secure marine routes, threatened by pirate attacks around the clock.
The missions have contributed particularly to a safe passage upwards of 3,844 trade ships and tankers attacked by pirates, according to Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.
Last November Sayyari announced plans to create three naval bases and two naval zones on the coasts of Makran, along the coasts of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, what he characterized as a sea comeback.
The remarks followed Chief of Staff General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri’s remarks on future distant footholds to set up naval bases in Yemen or Syria in the future.
"We need distant bases, and it may become possible one day to have bases on the shores of Yemen or Syria, or bases on islands or floating (bases),” he was quoted as saying.
In line with the goals, Sayyari said Iran’s most advanced destroyer, Sahand, will be launched in the near future as the third home-grown watercraft after Jamaran and Damavand, with the last one in the Caspian Sea.