A few notes on The Defensive Forces of IRAN.

By: Albert van der Sel
Version: 0.7
Date: 7 Januari, 2020
Subject: Limited overview of The Defensive Forces of IRAN.
Status: Ready. This will remain a "working" document.

Please refresh the page to see any updates.



Immediately after the US drone was downed (june, 2019), by a missile, I was rather surprised.

Ofcourse I knew Iran had, for example, the Russian S300 missiles, but this one, was one of their "own".
It was not particularly easy, to knock out that drone.

So, what exactly are the Defensive Forces of Iran?

So, I planned a short note, showing some details on the Defensive Forces of Iran.
And this text is the result..
There are a number of short chapters, each describing a certain domain of Iran's Military.
However, there is certainly some emphasis on missiles, and not on the whole of the Defensive Force.

Contents:

Chapter 1. A few words on the Space Program (SLV missiles).
Chapter 2. A few words on the AirForce.
Chapter 3. A few words on the Surface to Air missiles (SAM).
Chapter 4. A few notes on the Anti-Ship Missiles.
Chapter 5. A few words on the Navy.
Chapter 6. A few words on the Ballistic Missiles.
Chapter 7. A few words on the Cruise Missiles.
Chapter 8. A few words on the UAV's.


Important:
-This note is likely to have some serious faults, or it refers to matters which are uncertain.
Sorry for that. It's simply true that "public material" is not as "good" as classified intel
gathered by professional dedicated Agencies.

-It's much tougher than I originally anticipated. I mean: finding reliable, representative information,
which give a reasonable idea on the Iranian Defence, as a whole.
Many sources, sites, articles etc.. often say different stuff on the same thing.

-Honestly, I think overall, about 85% is "reasonably good", while 15% is uncertain/untrusted.

-I do not claim to provide a complete overview of the Forces. Certainly not. It's a limited overview,
and has a focus on missile systems, and larger military equipment.

For the reason of this note: it's just interesting to have some overview of the Iranian Forces,
in just one simple note.



Chapter 1. Some notes on the Space Program (SLV missiles):

It's a fact that Iran became "space enabled", using own missiles, since 2007-2009 (likely 2009).
There were indeed some "joint ventures" with other nations before 2007, but I will ignore that.

After some predecessors, the "Safir-1B" (based on the Safir SLV program), is reported to be able to
carry a small payload into an orbit of around 250 to 350 kilometers.
It's known to have launched the Rasad-1 satellite, in 2011, into orbit at 250km altitude.
It's likely that the satellite "Omid" was the very first one, in 2009, but I am not fully sure.

The next generation, The "Simorgh A and B types", were certainly more powerful, and is usually reported
to use a payload of around 100kg-500kg, and reach an orbit of around 500km.
There seems to have been a test launch of the Simorgh A, in 2013, but any results are quite uncertain.
Some sources speak of at least 3 seperate tests.

It seems that some sources speak over derivative missiles, called "Simorgh 1/2/3/4" types,
possibly in the realm of military appliances. I must further look into this deal.
Still not found reliable info on that.

For the record: whenever I say "own missiles", it must be clear that some basic technology originated
from North Korea. Also, some (parts of) missile stages, or other parts, originated from the Russian Federation.
But I have seen, based on articles, that Iran is quite capable to modify
the technology according to it's own requirements. I am inclined to say, Iran would get rather mature
in their Space program. Needless to say, that the current strong Sanctions, places severe restrictions
on to extend their capabilities, for example, to build more powerful rockets.

Iran managed to put several satelites into Space, but many were through "joint ventures" with other nations.
As far as I know, the Rasad-1 was the first satellite launched, using the Safir-1B, in 2011.
It went into orbit (250km), for a very limited amount of time. (about 3 weeks)
Possibly the satellite "Omid" was the very first one, in 2009.

Some parameters of those missiles:

"Safir-1B":

length: about 22 meters tall
diam: about 1.35 meters in diameter
weight: about 26-27 tons
payload: from a few dozens of kg, to max 100kg
Stages: 2
Range: about 300km -350km altitude.
Based on: Shahab-3 ballistic missile (with NK components).
Succesful launches: at least 4.

"Simorgh":

length: about 27 meters tall
diam: about 2.5 meters in diameter
weight: about 87 tons
payload: 350kg to likely 500kg
Stages: 3
Range: about 350km - 500km altitude.
Based on: largely on the Safir missile.
Succesful launches: likely one out of 3 tests

It's true that some military analysts, find the developments if the "Simorgh types", rather troublesome.

But, small range and medium range ballistic missiles for warfare, already certainly exists.
For some long-range (ICBM-like) missiles, serious doubts exist, whether those are
indeed near an operational phase. However, if the Simorgh missiles are becoming any good, then
the somewhat speculative Missiles like the Shahab-5 and Shahab-6, become certainly less "speculative".

Chapter 2. A few words on the AirForce:

It's a large one. But, mainly older types, like '70's and '80's planes.
A few that stick out are the US F14, the Russian Mig 29, and the "Saeqeh".
But, a few of Russian SU-22, SU-24, and SU-25 are around too. The SU-25 is especially strong
in ground attacks. Later I found that there are "hardly" any SU25's left anymore.
There are some speculations about the SU-30 in the Iranian Airforce, but this is not likely.

Then, there are lots of (older) planes I liked a lot in my young years, like "The Phantom",
and certainly the "Northrop F5 Tiger". The F5 Tiger is probably one of the most
beautiful planes ever build. That's strange, since when is any war machine "beautiful"?
Indeed: never.
Ok, I am weird, to say mildly. You may google on pictures of the "Northrop F5 Tiger".

Then ofcourse, the Orion P3. This one is very familiar to me too. Long ago, I lived near a military airstrip
where those machines took off regulary. These are oldies too, but were well known in anti-submarine
warfare, and general reconnesance actions. I saw them took off, even in rather bad weather conditions.

Then, a relatively large number of Mirage F1's are around too. Althoug quite dated: Never underestimate Mirages.

Then, relatively new (2007), is the "HESA Saeqeh", which is a rebuild copy of the "Northrop F5 Tiger".
This one amazes me the most! Iran claims that the "Saeqeh" has a range of about 3000km,
which is very very large (if it would be true).
As another earlier copy of the F5 Tiger, Iran had indeed build the "HESA Kowsar", which is truly
a rebuild 4th generation copy of the F5 Tiger.

I should also mention a fifth generation "stealth" fighter, the "Qaher-313".
It's likely not any near operational, and might even be "bluff". Some articles of aviation experts
make it likely that some aerodynamical features (just by the "eye"), simply do not match.

What I think: the US F14, Russian Mig 29, "Saeqeh" (modern F5 Tiger), "Kowsar" (modern F5 Tiger), and SU-24
might represent a considerable Force.

But, the bulk is a large amount of older planes. It simply means that only a certain percentage is operational,
and (what usually happens) that quite a few of them are cannabilized for parts.

It's very likely, that the strong sanctions, does negatively impact the Irianian Airforce,
in terms of parts etc..

In a few word: I am very impressed by their missile systems (ballistic, SAM etc..), but the Airforce
is likely to be "sort of average", but not outstanding. Ofcourse, it should never be underestimated.

Table below: Planes of which I think are of most interest: (fighter jets, fighter/bomber, multi-purpose jets):
The numbers of the SU's are highly questionable.
From recent articles, I get the impression that quite a few planes were sort of "refurbished" 2018/2019.

Name: Type: Purpose: Range: Currently operational: Remark:
Mig 29 many UB fighter jet, multirole jet around 1400km likely around 20
F14 F14A fighter jet, multirole jet, interceptor around 1250km at least 20 (refurbished) "survived"
SU-25 ? mainly ground attack jet 750-1300km only a few (refurbished) are active some were shipped from Iraq to Iran
SU-24 SU-24MK mainly ground attack jet around 2700km at least 25, also recently "refurbished" some were shipped from Iraq to Iran
Saeqeh I, II Primary: fighter, Secondary: multi-role around 3000km at least 10. Candidate jet to aquire more. Iranian build (F5 Tiger "look-alike").
Kowsar ? Primary: Trainer, fighter, Secondary: multi-role ? at least 8. Candidate jet to aquire more. Iranian build (F5 Tiger "look-alike"). Much critism exists on this jet.
Mirage F1 ? Fighter, ground attack around 3000km at least 20 many were shipped from Iraq to Iran

Note 1:
There are many other planes not included in the table above, like transport-, surveillance planes, etc..
The table above, only lists attack-, fighter-, fighter/bomber-, multirole jets.

Note 2: There are indeed well over 50 McDonnell Douglas F4 Phantom jets in the Airforce, and about the same number
of original Northrop F5 Tiger jets as well. You may wonder why those are not in the table above.
You might be right ! As I learn more and more, many other planes already have received a serious overhaul.
This also seems true for (some of) the Phantom's and F5 Tiger's. This means, new radar, detecting systems,
modern missiles etc.. So, maybe I need to include them as well?
After consideration: I think not. The overhaul of the older Phantom's and F5 Tiger's will only cover
a lower number of jets. These planes are, by modern standards, really too old, and only the few
in the best state (a small part), will be (or are) modernized.

Note 3:
You should definitely google on the "HESA Kowsar" (august 2018). It's really as if Iran rebuilded
the famous American F5 Tiger again. How about that? It keeps amazing me.
Most say that the "Kowsar" will be used for training purposes, but a re-manufactured to a 4th generation "F5 Tiger"
can surely deliver the "real deal". When it's getting really hot, those planes will see action.

Chapter 3. A few words on the Surface to Air missiles:

Here, we mean the missiles which are launched from the surface (on land, or from a vessel),
and which targets "aerial objects" (like jets, other types of planes, other missiles etc..).

The table below describes the missiles, which I believe are the most important ones.
Quite a few missiles belong to one and the same "root" family. Often, batteries of mobile trucks (TEL's),
may, sometimes, use different combinations of different missiles, as long as it is compatible with radar systems.

Also, sometimes, a whole "defense" system (battery: trucks, radar, missiles) goes by a certain name,
which name may sometimes also be used to designate the missiles themselves.
Then, if you would zoom in on those particular missiles, they might even be known with another name.

All in all, it can be a tiny bit confusing at times. For me, anyway.

So: we have:
  1. A "Missile defence (SAM) system", often using Mobile trucks (TEL),
    various forms of radars, and using some sort of Missile, or possibly
    a combination of missiles.

  2. The actual missile(s), which is in use at a certain "Missile defence (SAM) system".

  3. The battery, of such "Missile defence (SAM) system", often consists of several trucks and TEL's,
    like, say, 2 or 3, or more, of which there are lauchers (TEL's), Radar Trucks, Command Centre etc..

  4. The terms "short-range", "medium-range" and "longer-range", must be interpreted differently, compared
    to ballistic- or cruise missiles. With SAM, it's common to speak of "short-range" of the range is well below 100km,
    "medium-range" if the range is below 150km, and "longer-range" if the range is over 200km.

  5. It's possible that several "Missile defence (SAM) system" team up, resulting in a
    defensive block with a wide range of capabilities.

It's therefore very important to distinguish between the "Missile defence (SAM) system(s)",
and the actual missiles they can fire.

"Missile defence (SAM) system" plus their most likely missiles:

Name: In service since: Type: Range: Length: Number operational: Launched from: Missile(s): Remark:
Sevom Khordad (3rd) 2016 medium range: up to 120km, up to about 25km altitude, depending on missile Mobile Truck (TEL): per truck, usually 3 missiles. A battery usually has 2 or 3 TEL's. likely Taer-2B and/or Sayyad-2C missiles. A TEL of the Khordat 3rd system, shows similarity with Rusian Buk M2EK.
Khordad 15 early 2019 longer range up to 200km, up to about 30km altitude, using the Sayyad-3 Mobile Truck (TEL): per truck, usually 4 missiles, in rectangular canisters. likely Sayyad-3 missiles. Very recent system. Usually 2 or 3 TEL's per battery.
SA-20c (Russian S300PMU2) probably early 2017 longer range up to about 195km using the S-300PMU2/48N6E2 Any S300 system uses multiple types of missiles. at least 4x SA-20c systems Mobile Truck (TEL): per truck, usually 2,4 missiles, in cylindrical tubes S300PMU2/48N6E2, and shorter range s300 variants, as is standard configurations in S300 systems. Different configurations in master/slave/radar/firing TEL's, but at least 3 vehicles. Probably located at critical sites like nuclear facilities, Teheran etc..
Originally, SA-5 (Russian S200). Today, (after 2011) most seems to be upgraded to "S200 Ghareh" systems. Before that (2007), the systems were upgraded to S-200 Fajr-8 missiles. probably around 2007-2019 (replacing to Iranian S200 based missiles) longer range The later S200 Ghareh systems: 250-300km, altitude > 30km Original S200, was mounted on (static) launcher. Today, probably most is mobile. S200 Ghareh Originally S200 missile. Likely, most have been replaced by "S200 Ghareh" missiles (S200 based, Iranian upgraded missile).
Mersad system around 2010 short range Salamche and Shahain missiles, both around 40-50km Semi-mobile. A launch unit can be towed. The unit usually contains 3 missiles. Currently, likely to be the "Salamche" and "Shahain" missiles Originally based on the MIM-23 Hawk system. Current systems, have gone through various development phases.

In the table above, I left out the nummerous older, or smaller, missile systems with very short ranges.
There can be no doubt that Iran has a very diverse and capable number of SAM systems.

Chapter 4. A few notes on the Anti-Ship Missiles:

There are a few Anti-Ship missiles with ranges of up to 20km-30km (e.g. Zafar). I will ignore the smaller types,
since the "long range" missiles are certainly more important.
However, the short range missiles are certainly a a topic, later on in this note.

The Iranian "long range" Anti-Ship missiles seem quite powerful, but are still a class below for example
Russian or Indian Anti-Ship missiles (e.g. the Indian Bhramos).

However, there are at least 4 "long range" Anti-vessel missiles I like to point out to.

There is a "link" with Chapter 7. Some of the missiles below, are sometimes typed, by several analysts,
to be cruise missiles. In general, when a missile uses a jet engine, or turbojet, has longer wings, and
cruises along lower altitudes, it has characteristics of a "cruise missile". However, when rocket engines
are used all the way, it has less characteristics of a "cruise missile". So that's why the missiles
are not placed in Chapter 7: cruise missiles. Here we have indeed Anti-vessel rockets.


What I believe, to be the most important Anti-Ship missiles, are:

(1). The Qader Anti-Ship missile.
(2). The Ra'ad Anti-Ship missile.
(3). The Noor family of Anti-Ship missiles.
(4). The Submarine-Launched Jask-2 Anti-Ship missile.
(5). The YJ-7/C-701 and YJ-83/C-802 Chinese Anti-Ship missiles.

(1). The Qader Anti-Ship missile

Here is one important component: the Qader missile. It's probably mounted on a few of their frigates.
It's an anti-ship missile, originally mounted on road-mobile trucks. But, they managed to integrate it
on their vessels too. So, it can be fired from the coast, or from vessels.

Some articles also speak of airborne launch options, from a jet. That's getting a bit unlikely
for the same type of rocket. Possibly, here it is about a modified model. This is not sure.

But the existence of the Qader itself (as launched from truck or vessel), is undisputed.

Maybe we can compare it to the Harpoon anti-ship missile, which is rather common armament on NATO vessels.

Some articles speak of two subtypes, the Qader and the Qadir (Ghadir), both decendents from the "Noor" missile.
So, we might have:

The C-802 missile -> Rebuilded to the "Noor" missiles -> Evolved to the "Qader" missile.

The Noor was itself based on the Chinese C-802 missile.

(Some specs of:) The Qader missile:

Type: cruise missile.
Altitude: Probably cruising on low altitude/
Range: likely well over 200km, many sources say 200-300km.
Speed: Unknown. For very low altitudes, maybe around 900km/h.
Remark: it might be true that the Qader and the Qadir (Ghadir) are one and the same.

(2). The Ra'ad Anti-Ship missile:

This one was often publicly shown at parades etc.. This missile was tested in multiple occasions,
such as in a naval exercise in 2010. Here it reached 300km.
A few more specs are known of this missile, compared to the "Qader" missile (as far as I could find).
The Ra'ad can be launced from road mobile vehicels, as well as from vessels.

(Some specs of:) The Ra'ad missile:

Type: cruise missile.
Altitude: Probably cruising on low altitude/
Range: likely over 300km, many sources say around 350km.
Mass: 3,000 kg.
Warhead: Its payload weight is around 450-500kg
Speed: Unknown. For very low altitudes, maybe around 900km/h.

(3). The Noor Anti-Ship missile

The Chinese C-802 missile, stood model for the "Noor" missiles.
During the early years of 2000, several variants were manufactured.
The last variant, phase 4, is by now sort of standard Anti-Vessel armament of the Irianian Forces.
The Noor can be launced from road mobile vehicels, as well as from vessels.
Some sources say that it's ready to go from Helicopters and "certain" airplanes as well.

We already know that the "Noor" stood in the basis for the development of the "Qader" missile.
All in all, one might thus think that the "Qader" missile is superior to the "Noor" missile.
However, it's not certain if that superiority is really a fact.

The "Noor" is reported to have a max Range of about 170km. In that respect, the "Qader" is better,
since it's max range lies somewhere around 250km.

(4). The Submarine-Launched Jask-2 Anti-Ship missile:

Recently, I became aware of the "Jask-2" Anti-Ship missile. Some reports say
it's rather new (early 2019 in production), and can be launched from the torpedo tubes of a Submarine.
As it seems, maybe even from the small mini Subs, in Iran's fleet.

There is no doubt it exists, and it's operational on an unknown number of subs.

Up to now, I have not found reliable specs of the Jask-2.
At the moment I found them, I will certainly place it here.

(5). The YJ-7/C-701 and YJ-83/C-802 Chinese Anti-Ship missiles:

This is rather speculative. Some analysts see clues that China sold some number of those missiles to Iran.
This is not repeated in the mainstream of articles. Furthermore, I believe, there seems to be some troubles
in the typing of the missiles and the corresponding ranges.

For the family of YJ-7/C-701 and YJ-83/C-802 missiles, one can say that they are cruise missiles,
launced from vessels, with a range from 100km up to 200km.
Reliable numbers could not be found.

Chapter 5. A few words on the Navy:

If I did not recently got some interest in the Iranian defences, I would have described their
Navy as "just a bunch of Miami-Vice-like SunShine powerboats".

But, that's wrong. It's not a very large Navy, or very powerful Navy. But still, it's quite serious.
There are a few serious Frigates, a few serious Corvettes, and some other serious vessels.
And, mainly, a few older Subs. The status of newer Subs is hard to obtain.
However, never underestimate any submarine.

From an organizational point of view, we have the "main Navy of Iran", which the information below,
will touch upon, and we have the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), which has some small attack vessels,
as well as costal defence material.
In this note, I will not differentiate between the two command structures.

5.1 Frigates:

→ 3x Older Frigates, commissioned early '70's:

-Salaban,
-Alvand,
-Alborz

All have more or less the same specs:

Around 1540 tons, around 135 crew members, Length: 94.5 m, MaxSpeed: 39 knots,
4x Noor missiles (likely no "Qader" missile), Port/Starboard triple 324mm torpedo tubes,
4.5" Mark8 main gun, several smaller armament.

→ 2x Modern Frigates, commissioned around 2010-2013, 1 left, 1 sunk due to weather conditions.

-Jamaran (in service),
-Damavand (likely to be lost in an accident. However, might be in progress of repair).

Specs:

Around 1540 tons, around 135 crew members, Length: 94.5 m, MaxSpeed: 35 knots,
4x "Qader" missiles, Port/Starboard triple 324mm torpedo tubes,
76 mm Fajr-27 main gun, several smaller armament, 2x Mehrab SAM.

5.2 Corvettes:

Sometimes, the difference between blue-water (ocean going) Frigates, and green-water (near coast) Corvettes,
is clear. If the tonnage is, say, > 2000, it's very likely to be called Frigate.
But what about smaller ships, like e.g. of 1100 tons? These are likely not really "blue water".
Although good descriptions exists of Corvette, Frigate, and Destroyer, a very small Frigate
(for all practical purposes) is often called a Corvette.

The ships below are usually called Corvettes, but some may still call them Frigates.

→ 2x Older Corvettes. Comissioned early '60's.

-Bayandor:

Around 1100 tons, 84m, crew: around 90, around 20knots, 4x Noor anti-ship missiles,
Port/Starboard triple 324mm torpedo tubes, 76mm Dual Purpose Main Gun, several smaller armament.

-Nagdi:

Around 600 tons, around 54m, other specs unknown, or uncertain.

5.3 Destroyers:

There exists Frigates in the Iranian Navy, as we have seen above, but nothing that we can call
Destroyers, yet.

One very characteristic element to call a vessel a Destroyer, is it's displacement.
So, a vessel of, say, 10000 tons, is likely to be called a destroyer.
Generally, destroyers are "bigger".

It seems that one is in its building phase, but I cannot find reliable information on it's current status yet.

5.4 Smaller missile attack boats (which are confirmed to be missile equipped):

-SINA class: The missile-attack vessel "Joshan" P224.

Numbers: 1 to 3. The "Joshan" P224 definitely exists. Two sisterships: likely to exist.

It's a PT stype missile attack vessel. Displacement: around 275 tons, Length: 47m, In service since: 2006.
It's likely to be able to attain a very large max speed of around 36 knots.

Armament:
Might be equiped 2x C802 cruise missiles (see also Chapter 7).
There are no clues found for torpedo launch capabilities (which is rather strange).
Main Gun: 76mm OTO Melara or Fajr-27 gun.

It's very likely that two sisterships are in service too, with the same specs as the "Joshan".
Those are the "Paykan", and "Derafsh".

Other classes:

HANAR: Probably 1 vessel, likely to have a few (2?) Noor or C802 anti-vessel missiles.
KAMAN: Probably 10 vessels, likely to have a few (2?) Noor anti-vessel missiles.
HOUDONG: Probably 10 vessels, likely to have a few (2?) C802 anti-vessel missiles.

5.5 Subs:

Before we start, if you like, you can take a look at the following URL:

picture from "hisutton.com": Submarines from Iran.

It shows a nice picture of the submarine fleet of Iran.

If you would open the URL above, I have some doubts for what is correct.
Anyway, the vessels in the "Kilo class" are fully confirmed.
For others, but I have some question marks with types as the BESAT class, and others.
However, it does not matter at all ofcourse, that I have some questions here and there.
Anyway, it's a remarkable picture indeed, and shows all of the subs "at a glance".

Another big question is: how much is operational?

It's a bit trivial to mention it here, but most navy's have a part of the fleet in "the sickbay".
It's impossible to have everyting operational.
Now Iran. Most of the fleet is not brand new, and given the hard sanctions, it might even be more worse
for this particular country.
Anyway, I cannot answer this "big question".

Very interesting is ofcourse the depths and seabed's of the Iranian coastlines (the Strait of Hormuz,
the Persian Gulf, and other seas near Iran).
Iran has nummerous small subs which can hide and operate in rather shallow waters as well.
But, it's reasonable to assume that the larger vessels are not the best in stealth (rather noisy).
At the same time, it's also reasonable to assume that the smaller vessels are quite good
in playing "hard to detect".

I like to show some specs of the following subs:

-KILO Class
-BESAT Class
-NAHANG Class
-FATEH Class
-GHADIR Class
-TAEDONG-B SDV Class

What we can learn from most studies is that Iran seems to have the following submarines at its disposal:

KILO class (Tareq-class): 3 vessels.

Ships: 901, 902, 903.
Origin: Russian Federation
Delivered: early '90's
Lenght: about 70m
Displacement: About 2400 tons dry
Max Depth: around 250m
Range: The original Russian Kilo class will go about 11000km.
crew: around 50
Standard Armament: 6 x 533 mm torpedo tubes. 3 per tube. 18 in total.
Special Armament: might be equiped with "The Sub-Launched Jask-2 Anti-Ship missile".
Type: Attack submarine.
Operational: Yes.

BESAT class (Qaaem class): 1 vessel.

Ships: ? Does it exists? Some articles say that it does.
Origin: Iran
Delivered: Started construction as of 2008 (thereabout)
Lenght: about 55m
Displacement: About 1200 tons dry
Max Depth: ?
Range: ?.
crew: ?
Standard Armament: certainly torpedo's
Special Armament: Since it's a new vessel, it's likely to have (Jask-2?) Anti-Ship missiles
Type: Attack submarine.
Operational: Likely, but not sure.

NAHANG class: 1 vessel.

Ships: 1.
Origin: Iran
Delivered: 2006
Lenght: about 25m?
Displacement: About 300-400 tons dry
Max Depth: ?
Range: ?.
crew: ?
Standard Armament: certain torpedo's
Special Armament: Since it's a new vessel, it might have (Jask-2?) Anti-Ship missiles.
Type: Attack submarine.
Operational: Yes.

FATEH class: 1 vessel.

Ships: 1.
Origin: Iran
Delivered: 2014
Lenght: about 48m
Displacement: About 550-600 tons dry
Max Depth: at least 200m
Range: around 6500km
crew: ?
Standard Armament: certain torpedo's
Special Armament: Since it's a new vessel, it might have (Jask-2?) Anti-Ship missiles.
Type: Attack submarine.
Operational: Yes.

GHADIR class midget or mini sub: around 25 vessels.

Ships: around 25.
Origin: Iran, based on NK design.
Delivered: 2007-2018
Lenght: about 28m
Displacement: About 120 tons dry
Max Depth: Coastal sub, probably not very deep.
Range: ?
crew: low number
Standard Armament: certain torpedo's
Special Armament: ?
Type: Attack submarine.
Operational: Yes.

Taedong-B SDV class. DPRK look-alike mini sub.

Bit of a strange, futuristic design. It's a sort of "semi-submersible naval vessel",
in mini format. Usually, submerged, its sails at most at "snorkel depth", but not any deeper.
I believe it's not a real submersible vessel. It seems however well suited for stealthy
actions, relatively near the enemy, or coastlines.

Type: Attack submarine.
Operational: at least 2 vessels.
Origin: Iran, based on North Korean and Vietnamese designs.
Delivered:
Lenght: 17m
Displacement: 22 tons.
Range: coastal vessel.
Crew: ?
Standard Armament: externally mounted 324mm mini torpedo's. Likely 2.

Chapter 6. A few words on the Ballistic Missiles:

Very roughly, one might say that a ballistic missile follows a trajectory like a bullet,
that is, a parabola-like path. It's not entirely correct, since sometimes correcting thrust
might be present, to slightly adjust the trajectory.
Most often, the max altitude is very high, after which the missile (or leftover stage, or warhead),
rapidly descends towards it's target.

It's completely different from a "cruise missile", which might follow the terrain over lower altitudes.
Often, a cruise missile uses continues propulsion, all the way to it's target.
Indeed, cruise missiles have for example even (small) wings, to operate at lower altitudes.

There exists an impressive arry of ballistic missiles. The table below, gives
an impression of their capabilities, and some other specs.
As I have found out before, at other excercises, it's very hard to get reliable numbers,
like for example "estimate of operational numbers", or "type of warhead" etc..

What I often do, is to scout reasonably reliable sites, references etc.., and take the
median of the most cited numbers.

In the table below, "Space Launch Vehicles", like the Safir and the Simorgh,
are not included.

-SRBM: Often, a Short Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM)is typed as a missile with a max Range below 1000km.
Some authorities reserve it to be a missile, with a max range below 500km.
However, the exact max ranges get blurred a bit, partly by new terminology, and partly
by having missiles which "just go over" the boundaries.

-MRBM: Often, a Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) is typed as a missile with a max Range below 2500km,
or, as is also sometimes seen, with a max Range below 3000km/3500km.

-IRBM: sometimes a bit overlapping with MRBM: An IRBM is often typed as a missile with a max Range of 3500km.
But don't be surprised if you see a max range of 5500km, in various articles.

-ICMB's are the long-range missiles. Often typed as with a range over 5500km.

-CEP: an expression for the high probability that a missile will impact within a certain radius (in meters),
of a designated target. So, you might see values of CEP=20m, or CEP=50m etc..
The lower the value of CEP is, the more "accurate" the missile is.

Ballistic Missiles:

Name: Type: Range: Length: CEP: Currently operational: Warhead: Status:
Dezful SRBM 700-1000km XX XX XX XX Exists.
Shahab-1 SMRB 300-350km XX XX XX XX Exists.
Shahab-2 SRBM around 500km XX XX XX XX Exists.
Fateh-110 SRBM around 300km XX XX XX XX Exists.
Tondar-69 SRBM around 150km XX XX XX XX Exists.
Zolfaghar SRBM around 700km XX XX XX XX Exists.
Qiam-1 SRBM around 700km XX XX XX XX Exists.
Shahab-3 MRBM around 1300km XX XX XX XX Exists.
Ghadr-1 MRBM around 1500km XX XX XX XX Exists.
Sejjil MRBM around 2500km XX XX XX XX Exists.
Emad MRBM around 2000km XX XX XX XX Exists.
Khorramshahr MRBM around 2000km XX XX XX XX Exists.
Shahab-4 IRIS IRBM ? XX XX XX XX It's likely that IRIS became the Safir class SLV.
Shahab-5 IRBM ? XX XX XX XX Speculative. Possibly modified Shimorgh 3/4 types.
Shahab-6 ICMB ? XX XX XX XX Speculative. Possibly modified Shimorgh 3/4 types.

Please excuse the author. I'am busy sorting out this missile stuff. There are some
conflicting numbers among the sources (as always actually), and sometimes it's
even a bit obscure. I am afraid that it takes some time.
So... Certainly not ready yet.

Chapter 7. A few words on the Cruise Missiles:

Some missiles mentioned in Chapter 4 ("A few notes on the Anti-Ship Missiles"), by some analysts,
are interpreted as "cruise missiles" as well.

However, what I will list here, are missiles with generally accepted common features of cruise missiles,
like (somewhat) longer wings, turbojet, jet-engine (or other form of propulsion), lower flight altitude etc..
It's however possible that a cruise missile, at start, uses a solid fuel rocket stage, and quickly afterwards
enters turbojet or jet propulsion.

The table below describes the Cruise missiles, which I believe are the most important ones.
It's extremely difficult to find specs. Or the specs does not fully reside in the "public",
or simply is unreliable. In such case, I left those specs out.

Cruise Missiles:

Name: Type: In service since: Range: Length: CEP: Currently operational: Warhead: Remark: Status:
Soumar (Meshkat) - Probably around 2015 at least 1400km around 7m ? ? ? Ground launched missile. Descendand of the Russian Kh55. Some reports say that it is airlaunched. That was indeed a charcteristic of the Kh55. It might have been converted to ground launch. Exist
Ya-Ali - Probably around 2014 Probably around 700km around 5m ? ? ? Probably a Ground launched missile. Might be a descendend of the Chinese C-602 (*) Exist
Hoveyzeh - Probably early 2019 At least 1400km, likely more. Around 7m ? ? ? Probably a Ground launched missile. Decendand, and upgraded version of the Soumar. Exist

(*): Many articles claim that the Ya-Ali, is based on the C-602. I have doubts, since the Chinese C-602
seems much heavier and robuster, compared to the "slimmer" Ya-Ali.
As I later found, the Chinese YJ-7/C-701 and YJ-83/C-802 Anti-Vessel cruise missiles were *assumed* to be sold
to Iran. But it is important to know that this is speculative, since only a few articles mention it,
and it cannot be found in the mainstream of relevant articles.
But still, it does not explain the "slimmer" Ya-Ali. However, parts, and propulsion systems from
Chinese systems, may well have contributed to Iran's cruise missile technology.
The only thing that consequently is referred to, is the Kh55, and imported or reverse engineered
turbojets that originated from various countries.


-Likely to be a "family tree":

Original Russian "Kh55" -> Iranian rebuild "Soumar" -> Iranian rebuild "Hoveyzeh".

-It's possible (unsure) that we have the following tree too:

Chinese C-602 -> Iranian rebuild "Ya-Ali" (I have serious doubts on the relation).

Some types as the Quds 1 (from Houties/Jemen) are said to be rebranded "Soumar" missiles.
I am not sure of that either.

Chapter 8. A few words on UAV's:

This is quite a fuzzy area too. There are reports here and there, but almost no analyst
can say anything with certainty. And those who do, I am not sure it's correct.
Sorry for this.

UAV's are different from cruise missiles, but for some types, there exists quite a few similarities.
Indeed, the term "Unmanned Aerial vehicle" may cover a lot of ground.

-But in general, the distinction between UAV and a true cruise missile, is rather evident.
For example, if the device cleary has a "loitering" capability, it's usually categorized
as a "drone" or "UAV" (again, UAV has a broader meaning than "drone", I suppose).

-Longer wings, and clear maneuvering controls for aviation, is chracteristic for an UAV too.

-Also, if the device can behave like a manned plane, like abruptly altering course (either through
remote control, or by electronic systems/intelligence), would be a rather characteristic feature of an UAV.

No matter what definition you use, or how you categorize devices, there still is some slight overlap
between some special types of cruise missiles, and UAV's.

For a short overview of Iranian Cruise Missiles, please see Chapter 7.

I like to seperate the Iranian drone classes into three subcategeries:

(1). The simple and smaller (and older) ones, like those which can fly (say) 50km to 100km or so,
and are often used for observation/surveillance.
However, even so often, they are equipped with a smaller warhead. For example the HESA Ababil class.

(2). The more advanced ones, like the Shahed 129, which may have a range
of larger 500km, or much higher than that, and usually have armament, or an explosive warhead.
Ofcourse such drones can be used for observation/surveillance as well.
They sometimes have a "reaper" like appearance, but are substantially smaller.

(3). The American RQ-170 "look-alikes", like the Saegheh and Saegheh-2, or the Shahed 171 Simorgh.
They all have an advanced appearance, just like the American RQ-170.

About the "third class":

In 2011, an American RQ-170 UAV, in some way, fell into the hands of Iranian Forces.
It's a bit of a mystery to me how that was done exactly. However, it's true since Pres. Obama
confirmed it around that time. Whatever procedure the Iranians used (or maybe it was just a glich),
many analyst assume that this UAV served as a model for their own later UAV's (using reverse engineering).

If you like, you can google on the "Saegheh" or "Shahed 171 Simorgh" Iranian drones,
which shows clear similarities to the RQ-170 UAV.


The Iranian Drones/UAV's in the catagories (2) and (3) (see above):

Name: In service since: Propulsion: Overall silhouet: Currently operational: Range: Purpose/Armament:
Shahed 129 (predecessors 121, 123) early 2012 Propellor at backside Appearance like a "MQ-9 reaper", but much smaller and lighter Probably aroud 20, in 2019 about 2000km, or 24h flight 4 mountpoints for precision-guided glide bombs Sadid-345 PGM
Shahed 171 Simorgh (smaller versions are the Saegheh, Saegheh-2) around 2016 Jet engine Flying wing, a copy of RQ-170 Some question if it's operational. But, testflights have been confirmed. The Saegheh-2 and Shahed are in production. At least 10, in 2019. ? ?
Ababil 3 (with a wide range of predecessors, and forks) Ababil 3 around 2008. Predecessors as of early '90's Propellor at backside The Ababil series is build in large numbers, and knows several operators outside Iran Refitted Ababil series, carry warheads of different sizes, dependend on Operator



That's all. I hope it was useful in "getting" a quick intro.

This note remains a working document, and I will modify and/or add information whenever
new, or better, data becomes available.