The frigate Sahand officially joined the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) during a ceremony held at the main naval base at Bandar Abbas on 1 December, more than five years after it was ostensibly launched.
Classified as a destroyer by the IRIN, the vessel is the third of the navy's Mowj derivates of the Alvand-class light frigates that were built in the UK for Iran in the 1960s. Sahand has the same name and number (74) as the original Alvand-class vessel sunk by the US Navy in 1988.
The two frigates previously produced under the Mowj project were Jamaran and Damavand , the latter of which sank in the Caspian Sea early this year after it grounded on the breakwater outside Bandar Anzali. A fourth vessel is under construction in Bandar Abbas and will be called Dena , according to IRIN Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi.
The new Sahand ''s superstructure has been redesigned to reduce its radar signature. Rear Admiral Ali Qolamzadeh, director of the IRIN's Self-Sufficiency Jihad, told the Fars news agency that this has increased its radar-evading capability by 30%. He also said that the capabilities of its weapons, electronic warfare systems, and its endurance are at least double those of Jamaran .
Like Jamaran and Damavand , Sahand has a unique arrangement of weaponry. Its main gun is the standard 76 mm, although there appears to be no fire-control radar on top of the bridge. Two triple launchers for lightweight torpedoes are located in the standard position either side of the helicopter hangar. There are 20 mm GAM-BO1 guns mounted on the deck above.
Two boxes in front of the bridge are probably launchers for Iran's Merhad derivative of the SM-1 surface-to-air missile. Four anti-ship missiles, either Nour (C-802) or the longer-range Ghadir version, are located behind the funnel, two facing either way.
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