Iran has launched a new class of indigenous submarine, according to a Tuesday report in Jane’s Defence Weekly.
One of the suspected Fateh-class of indigenously built submarines was spotted in the water near the Bostanu Shipyard near the Strait of Hormuz on Oct. 27, according to the report.
A second submarine appears to be under construction at the Bandar Anzali Naval Base on the Caspian Sea as of Sept. 27.
Jane’s supposition is based on satellite photographs taken over Bostanu and Bandar Anzail.
Earlier this year Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the navy planned to launch the first Fateh submarine sometime this year, according to Iranian state media.
“The timing would be correct,” Eric Wertheim, author of Naval Institute’s Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, told USNI News on Wednesday.
The construction of the 500-ton submarine demonstrates an improvement in Iran’s ability to produce military hardware despite the ongoing sanctions on the country.
“It’s a much bigger submarine than they’ve built before,” Wertheim said.
Previously, the Iranians, in cooperation with North Korea, had only domestically produced the 123-ton Ghadir-class midget submarine.
The size of the Fateh –class, five times larger than the Ghadir, indicates an increased sophistication in Iran’s shipbuilding capability.
“Once operational, the new Iranian submarines will increase the capabilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRIN) as the Fateh class will have a longer endurance than the Ghadirs and will be able to carry more torpedoes, mines or divers,” according to the Jane’s report.“
News of the Fateh launch closely follows an Iranian announcement last week that it planned to send its modified Russian-built Kilo-class submarine and surface force to visit India and Sri Lanka.
“Submarines are very important in the way Iran sees its navy going,” Wertheim said.
“They’re trying to think beyond the waters beyond the Persian Gulf.”