Fateh Surface-to-Surface Missile
1. Fateh Surface-to-Surface Missile Iran’s use of surface to surface missiles goes back to the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, when the two countries involved bombarded one another’s cities with imported Scud missiles. In 1995, Iran began developing a new indigenous missile. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Fateh is a short-range missile with a range of 124 to 186 miles. Fateh flew for the first time in 2001. Fateh would be used to threaten ports where commercial tankers take on oil and land, sea, and air bases of forces trying to reopen the Gulf. Mohsen Shandiz / Getty Images
Iranian short-range missile
1. Fateh Surface-to-Surface Missile One major difference between Fateh and older missiles like the Scud: Fateh uses a solid fuel rocket engine instead of a liquid fueled engine. Older liquid fueled missiles required multiple vehicles to launch, including a fueling truck and the launch vehicle that carries and launches the missile. Liquid fueled missiles take hours to fuel, during which time a missile is vulnerable to attack. By comparison, solid fuel missiles like Fateh require only the launch vehicle and can be ready for launch in minutes. AFP / Stringer / Getty Images
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (C) attends the unveiling the surface-to-surface Fateh-313
1. Fateh Surface-to-Surface Missile Fateh weighs 7,600 pounds at launch, the majority of which is fuel. CSIS believes the missile packs a 1,100 pound payload. This payload is typically high explosive, though other possibilities include a submunition warhead that disperses tennis-ball sized bomblets over the target zone. The warhead is large enough to carry a chemical warhead but Iran does not have a chemical weapons program. The warhead is also large enough to carry a nuclear weapon, although Iran at this time does not have nuclear weapons. Anadolu Agency / Getty Images
Fateh Surface-to-Surface Missile
1. Fateh Surface-to-Surface Missile Iran is a vast country the size of the western United States, and its border with the Persian Gulf is as long as coastline from Washington to Mexico. Truck-mobile missiles like Fateh would be difficult to detect, moving and firing missiles and never staying in the same place. Even the Pentagon, with its satellites, drones, and reconnaissance aircraft would find it difficult to locate all the missile launchers. AFP / Stringer / Getty Images
USS Abraham Lincoln
1. Fateh Surface-to-Surface Missile Iran has reportedly developed an anti-ship variant of the Fateh known as the Khalij Fars. Khalij Fars reportedly has an electro optical seeker, meaning it could be potentially steered toward a moving target. If so, this could make the missile a viable threat against large ships, particularly towards aircraft carriers such as the USS Abraham Lincoln (pictured). Although a Fateh/Khalij Fars missile is not powerful enough to sink an American supercarrier, a direct hit on the ship would be enough to put it out of action. Handout / Getty Images
Iran’s Naval Forces
2. Iran’s Naval Forces Iran actually has two armed forces–the traditional army, navy, and air force, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. A paramilitary organization, the Revolutionary Guards safeguard the regime. The Iran Revolutionary Guards Naval Forces (IRGC-NF) are responsible for Iranian naval waters west of the Strait of Hormuz, while the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) is responsible for waters east of the Strait. AFP / Stringer / Getty Images
Iranian navy conducts the Velayat-90 naval wargames
2. Iran’s Naval Forces The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy is relatively small without the expertise to build large ships. One major threat to western warships and shipping is a flotilla of 10 Chinese-made Houdong coastal patrol boats, each armed with Iranian Ghader anti-ship missiles. The Revolutionary Guards Naval Forces also has a fleet of 46 smaller Chinese and North Korean patrol ships with anti-ship missiles or torpedoes and capable of speeds of up to 40-50 knots. Mohsen Shandiz / Getty Images
Iranian Revolutionary Guards drive speedboats during a ceremony
2. Iran’s Naval Forces In the 1980s, the Revolutionary Guards Naval Forces purchased a large number of Swedish Boghammer speedboats, arming them with Iranian copies of DshK heavy machine guns (pictured), rocket propelled grenades, and artillery rockets. The Revolutionary Guards then trained to mass large numbers of armed speed boats against much larger warships, overwhelming them with numbers and concentrated fire. These forces persist today and in July 2019 were used to capture a British-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf. ATTA KENARE / Getty Images
Iran’s Naval Forces
2. Iran’s Naval Forces The Revolutionary Guards are masters at placing heavy weapons on ships. This speed boat carries both a 12.7-millimeter (.50 caliber) MGD heavy machine gun and a bank of ten 107-millimeter artillery rockets suspended above the helm. Neither of the weapons are stabilized against the rocking of the ship at sea, making them relatively inaccurate, but at very close range both the machine gun and rockets would be devastating against an unarmored target like an oil tanker. A small craft like this could also be used to lay minefields in shipping lanes, particularly at night. AFP / Stringer / Getty Images
black submarine
2. Iran’s Naval Forces Iran also has a force of diesel electric submarines that could pose a significant underwater threat. The Iranian Navy also controls 3 Kilo-class attack submarines purchased from Russia in the 1990s. A diesel electric-powered submarine built for operations in coastal areas, the Kilos are the ideal subs for the Persian Gulf. The Navy also operates 14 North Korean Yono-class midget submarines, the same type of submarine believed to have sunk the South Korean corvette Cheonan in 2010. AFP / Stringer / Getty Images
Noor Anti-Ship Missiles
3. Noor Anti-Ship Missiles Iran’s long coastline also makes anti-ship missiles an inviting weapon system. Ships traveling from the Gulf of Oman to the oil terminals at the western edge of the Persian Gulf spend almost their entire voyage within range of Iranian anti-ship missiles. One such missile is the Noor, an anti-ship missile capable of being launched from heavy truck or warship. Small and concealable, Noor packs a deadly punch. A sea-launched version allows Iran to extend its reach beyond its coastline, rending a greater part of the Gulf a danger zone to shipping. Stringer / Getty Images
Noor Anti-Ship Missiles
3. Noor Anti-Ship Missiles Noor is originally based on the Chinese Yi Jing C-802 anti-ship missile. Iran reportedly received a small number of the missiles and then reverse-engineered them to produce their own local copies. According to Globalsecurity Noor is a “sea skimmer” missile, flying at subsonic speeds just 16-22 feet above the wavetops to avoid enemy defensive radars. It strikes the target with a 341 semi-armor piercing/high explosive warhead, dealing a serious blow to destroyers and smaller ships. Stringer / Getty Images
Noor Anti-Ship Missiles
3. Noor Anti-Ship Missiles Noor-type missiles have been used in several attacks on ships in the Middle East. In 2006, a Hezbollah C-802 missile damaged the Israeli warship INS Hanit, killing four crewmembers. In 2016 HSV Swift, a fast cargo catamaran leased by the UAE was struck by at least one, C-802/Noor missile, causing heavy damage. In October 2016 the U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer USS Mason foiled a similar attack by two cruise missiles fired by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement. Petty Officer 3rd Class Alex Delgado
Sayyad Surface-to-Air Missiles
4. Sayyad Surface-to-Air Missiles Before the Iranian Revolution of 1979 Iran was a major importer of American weapons. Today, one of the country’s most advanced surface-to-air missile systems is the Sayyad 2–a virtual clone of the American 1970s-era SM-1 missile. Sayyad 2 guided by radar to target whereupon it detonates a blast fragmentation warhead. While Iranian air and naval forces would close the Persian Gulf, missiles like Sayyad would ward off enemy aircraft. In 2019 a Sayyad 2 shot down an American RQ-4 Global Hawk drone Iran claimed had intruded on its airspace. ATTA KENARE / Getty Images