Iranian submarine troops are by far the most and technically the navy, and are scheduled to remain so in the future considering the Iranian geopolitical investment in the Gulf region.
Tensions continue to rise between the United States and Iran. Each week raises a new chapter of diplomatic threats and accusations.
Recently, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami delivered a speech in which he assured the Iranian Parliament, the “vulnerability” of American aircraft carriers would prevent the U.S. military from challenging Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf. Such rhetoric is very natural for the officials and the media funnel of the Iranian regime, which projects a firm belief in Iran’s military ability.
However, how capable is the conventional military of Iran and do they really have the means to effectively ward off U.S. attacks?
The National Interest Previously investigated this question with an overview of Iranian Air Force and surface Navy. We are now turning to the core of Iran’s conventional military power and the reason that the country prides itself in having the fourth strongest navy in the world: the power of its submarine.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the Iranian submarine list is its large size, especially related to its entire navy. Although the Iranian combined results of the Corvet, the friar, and the operational destroyers barely exceed 10, currently Iran deployed 34 large submarines.
Most of them are middle-class or “littoral” diesel-electric vessels with about two dozen of Iranian-made Ghadir-class submarines and some of them from the North Korean Yugo submarine.
Impressively, Ghadir is much smaller but still has strong offensive capabilities. The Ghadir class submarine boasts the same 533-millimetre torpedo tube with a handful of much larger Kilo Iranian class submarines, only fewer on two and six.
The large concentration of Iranian mini-submarine made an unattractive comparison with a much stronger submarine fleet of U.S. and Russian counterparts. However, their lists made sense militarily in the context of Iran’s strategic goals.
Iran does not need to project marine power worldwide or even in the Middle East region. In contrast, the Iranian Navy was formed and organized around a special purpose to secure the Persian Gulf and especially the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran’s limited range of diesel-electric submarines is irrelevant around the limited and shallow bays, while virtually undetectable naval-laying capabilities make them the ideal candidate for patrol operations and ambush against enemy surface vessels.
Recently, Iran has begun to diversify the original submarine industry outside the smallest vessel. The Fateh class was intended to complete a list of Iranian patrols, entering between the Ghadir and Kilo classes with a 600-ton pickup.
In addition to the 533-millimetre torpedo tube which is the standard in all Iranian submarine troops, Iranian government media reports that the Fateh ships (which until now there are two) can fire an anti-ship roaming missile from a position below sea level.
Quoted from The National Interest, Iranian submarine troops are by far the most and technically capable navy and are scheduled to remain so in the future, given Iran’s geopolitical investment in the Gulf region.
Although it is still very unlikely to rival the United States Navy in any kind of conflict, the submarine will inevitably be the spearhead of a prospective Iranian anti-access/rejection campaign (A2/AD) to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, or a one-time sudden attack on U.S. defence in the Persian Gulf.