Is this a warning to the US and allies? Iran develops ambitious stealth destroyer
TEHRAN, (BM) – The Iranian armed forces unveiled a model of its next generation stealth destroyer, which is currently under development under the “Hormuz Project”., learned BulgarianMilitary.com
The warship is the latest of several ambitious Iranian weapons programs, which also include radar evading high endurance drones, cruise missile submarines, long ranged surface to air missile systems and even a stealth fighter being developed under the Qaher-313 program.
The country’s’ new destroyer will reportedly displace 3000 tons, placing in in the range of small cruisers of other nations with less than half the displacement of platforms such as the Chinese Type 052D Class and American Arleigh Burke Class destroyers.
Where the warship’s size is far from impressive for a ‘destroyer,’ its reported capabilities are far in excess of anything currently in the Iranian fleet. These include the ability to reach speeds of up to 40 knots, a very low radar cross section and a massive arsenal of 96 vertical launch cells for surface to air and cruise missiles.
To place this in perspective, the Chinese Type 052D Class deploys just 64 cells while the heavier American Arleigh Burke Class deploys 90 cells. This can be explained by the far smaller size of the Iranian missiles, most of which are thought to be short ranged surface to air missiles comparable to the Chinese DK-10A.
Such missiles when deployed on larger destroyers are often ‘quad packed’ – meaning four can be accommodated in a single launch cell. The Iranian warship’s actual firepower is likely to be closer to 24 standard sized launch cells’ worth of missiles, although this is still high considering Iran’s lack of experience in shipbuilding and the platform’s very small size.
Alongside indigenous surface to air missiles, possibly based on the Bavar or Khordad series, the Iranian destroyer is likely to deploy anti ship cruise missiles based on the Chinese C-802 series, which are produced in Iran under licence as the Qader and deployed from a number of platforms including warships and aircraft.
The warship has been compared to the American Littoral Class combat ship, which also displaces around 3000 tons and is built around a radar evading stealth profile. The new Iranian destroyers will also deploy Kamand close in weapons systems – equivalent to the American Phalanx – as well as a multi array AESA radar and a flight deck with two helicopter hangers.
The warship’s cost remains uncertain, but considering the general cost effectiveness of the Iranian defence sector it is likely to come at a fraction of the cost of its American equivalent the Littoral Class – each of which sets the U.S. Navy back by over $400,000.
It remains uncertain when the warship will enter service, and given Iran’s dire financial straits the possibility remains that other fields of defence such as air defence modernisation will be prioritised, resulting in the delay of the Hormuz Project.
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Source: Military Watch Magazine