Military Capabilities

Iran reportedly building larger high-speed catamaran

10 November 2016
A still from Iranian television news footage broadcast on 13 September shows the catamaran Shahid Nazeri. The IRGCN says it is building a larger version. Source: Islamic Republic of Iran News Network

Iran is building a "much larger" version of the unusual catamaran it unveiled in September, the Tasnim News Agency cited Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN) commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi as saying on 8 November.

The catamaran was unveiled in the Gulf port of Bushehr on 13 September and is called Shahid Nazeri after an IRGCN special forces commander who died earlier this year. Its bridge, passenger deck, and helicopter deck are mounted high above two narrow hulls that seem disproportionately long.

Rear Adm Fadavi was cited at the time as saying that the high-speed vessel is 55 m long, made of aluminium, capable of carrying 100 passengers and a helicopter, and has an operational range of 10,000 km.

This was a significant increase on the stated carrying capacity seen on a Sadra Marine Industrial Company poster displayed at an IRGCN exhibition in October 2015, a photograph of which was published on an Iranian military blog. The poster, which included an image of Shahid Nazeri, said it has a crew of five and can carry 55 passengers.

The poster also identified it as a high-aspect ratio twin-hull (HARTH) vessel, a design concept aimed at achieving a high level of stability with a minimal draught. It said it can handle 6 m-high waves even though it has a draught of just 1.5 m and a displacement of 240 tonnes (it is unclear if this referred to short or long tonnes). Powered by two MTU 396 engines, the vessel can reach a speed of 27 kt, the poster said.

Rear Adm Fadavi said the larger version would be used for unspecified special missions in international waters, according to Tasnim.

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