Iranian Warship That Petrified US and UK on High Seas Spotted at Russian Naval Parade – Video
11:42 GMT 25.07.2021 (Updated: 11:53 GMT 25.07.2021)
US and UK media spent months fretting about the cargo and possible destination of a two-ship Iranian warship flotilla that deployed in the Atlantic Ocean this spring. Earlier this month, the commander of Iran’s Navy boasted that America had been “terrified” by Iran’s newfound ability to project power.
Iran’s Sahand destroyer has taken part in a grand naval parade
in St. Petersburg, Russia on Sunday.
The Moudge-class destroyer joined over 50 other vessels in the parade, dedicated to the 325th Anniversary of the Russian Navy, with India and Pakistan also sending warships to Russia for the occasion.
The Sahand, which arrived in St. Petersburg together with the Makran support vessel, was seen sailing through Kronstadt Harbour during Sunday’s festivities, flying the Iranian national flag as officers and seamen stood at attention.
Iranian Navy Commander Hossein Khanzadi arrived in St. Petersburg on Saturday at the invitation of Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, and was a guest of honour at the parade. In addition to attending the festivities, the admiral met with high-ranking Russian military officials on the sidelines of the parade to discuss the prospects for Russia-Iran defence cooperation and regional issues.
Khanzadi characterized the Sahand and Makran’s thousands-of-kilometres long journey from Iran to the Atlantic Ocean, through the English Channel, into the Baltic Sea and to Russia an “unprecedented” development. He suggested that the ships’ presence in the Gulf of Finland was “a historic event,” and a “success” which “means the opening of the gates of the North Sea and Finland to the fleet of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Before making their way to Russia, the Sahand and Makran passed through Danish waters, with the country’s defence ministry releasing photos
of the warships passing through its maritime territories.
The ships began their journey in May
, heading south through the Indian Ocean, circumnavigating the Cape of Good Hope, then travelling northwest up the western coast of Africa, deploying in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time ever in Iran’s naval history. The ships’ destination was subject to months of intense debate by US media, which feared they may have been carrying weapons or fuel to Venezuela, and even pondering the possibility
of deploying American naval power to try to stop them.
However, last week, instead of pressing on to Venezuela, the Sahand and Makran unexpectedly sailed
up the northwest coast of France and through the English Channel, through the Danish Straits and into the Baltic Sea to take part in the parade in St. Petersburg. That voyage caused new fears, this time from the British press, amid concerns that the ships may have attempted to collect intelligence during their transit.
The Sahand is a Moude (literally ‘Wave’) class warship with a 2,500 tonne displacement, is 95 metres long and has a complement of 140 officers and seamen. The ship’s equipment includes long-range radar, electronic warfare and decoy systems, naval guns, cannons and machine guns, and surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles, in addition to torpedoes for anti-submarine warfare. The ship has room on its landing bay for one helicopter, although the Sahand doesn’t appear to have brought one along during its long transoceanic journey.
The Makran, named after the coastal region of Baluchistan, is a fundamentally new kind of warship built by Iran’s shipbuilders from a converted oil tanker. Commissioned in January, the 230 metre-long, 111,000+ tonne vessel is designed to serve as a mobile sea base for long-range naval operations, and can carry fuel, supplies, weaponry, and a wide variety of equipment in its hull and on top of its deck. Its complement is believed to include rocket-launching speedboats and submersibles, drones and helicopters, as well as Qadir and Abu-Mahdi naval cruise missiles and radar. In theory, the ship can carry almost any road-mobile piece of armament developed for the Iranian army, coastal defence or air defence troops, including the advanced Khordad anti-aircraft missile system which shot down a $220 million US drone over the Strait of Hormuz in June 2019. The side-by-side deployment of the Sahand and the Makran for their long trip appears to have demonstrated the effectiveness of Iranian engineers’ planning, with the journey serving as an indication that the Islamic Republic has reached a capability to project power globally at just a fraction of the cost and time necessary to build a conventional long-range warship.