Whilst Teheran’s envoys try to convince the whole world that Iranian atomic energy is the most peaceful on the planet, and analysts guess whether Iran or Israel will be the first to try to erase the other from the political map, the Iranian military decided to flex its muscles somewhat. Last Friday large-scale naval exercises known as “The Great Prophet” began in the region of the Persian and Oman Gulfs, in which more than 17 thousand soldiers, about 1500 battleships, support aircraft, airborne interceptors, bombers, helicopters and missile installations were employed. As Iranian naval commander Morteza Safari declared, “These manoeuvres are being carried out to act as a counter-measure in the psychological war which has been unleashed against Iran, and to increase the defense capabilities of our army”.
Since then not a day has passed without state television IRI reporting on the testing of the latest type of super-weapon which has been developed by local inventors. So Tuesday’s main surprise was the mysterious “flying ghost-ship”. According to official sources, the way the ship’s body has been constructed means that it cannot be detected by sea and air-based radar systems. The ship itself is capable of rising above the surface of the water and is armed with missiles which are able to home in on their target with great accuracy even while the ship is moving. It is claimed that this technological miracle was developed and constructed from start to finish in Iran.
Russian military experts believe that this patchy description does not conceal a ship lying on an air cushion, but a military aerofoil boat – a flying machine capable of rising up into the air due to the so-called “surface effect” which involves streamlining the surface of the machine whilst in motion in close contact to the surface of the water. Thanks to this effect aerofoil boats have a significantly larger cargo-carrying capacity than an ordinary aeroplane. There was a similar type of machine in the Soviet naval forces, called the “Eaglet”.
Meanwhile, on Sunday Teheran announced the successful tests of the world's quickest torpedo, capable of reaching speeds of over 100 m/sec. As the Iranian military declared, not a single army in the world is able to defend itself against this underwater missile. However, it soon emerged that this weapon is not particularly new, and most importantly, in no way originated in Iran. International experts admitted that the torpedo was developed in the Soviet Union – it is called “Tornado” and does indeed travel at extremely high speeds, but is accurate only up to a range of 7km, which is more often than not insufficient for the demands of modern military action.
According to one version, Iran was able to get hold of the “Tornado” from Kyrgyzstan – it was there that these torpedoes were tested, on Lake Issyk-Kul, during Soviet times. After the Union’s collapse, experts think that Kyrgyzstan might have sold armaments to China, which in turn supplied them to Iran. However, Kanybek Tabaldiev, a senior representative of the Kirghiz company which produces torpedoes and other military technology, categorically denied the involvement of the Kirghiz military-industrial complex in selling modern weapons technology to Iran.
Translated by James Platt