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Iranian navy upgrades frigate's air defences

Sahand with the new rotating radar above and launcher in front of its bridge. (President Ebrahim Raisi)

The Iranian Jamaran-class frigate Sahand (74) has been upgraded with a new air-defence system, it was revealed when President Ebrahim Raisi boarded the ship during a visit to Jask on 27 November.

Photographs of the event showed the new rotating radar with a single phased-array antenna on top of the frigate's bridge. This is presumably a new target engagement radar as it still had its previous Plessey-type air search radar mounted higher on its mast.

A new rotating launcher has also been added in front of the bridge that was fitted with three of missile canisters normally used with the 15 Khordad and Talash ground-based air-defence systems. These could be for either Sayyad-2 or Sayyad-3 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), with the latter having a claimed maximum range of 120 km.

When Sahand was commissioned in December 2018, it was armed with two SAM launchers, probably for the Iranian Mehrab version of the SM-1. These were removed for the ship's voyage to St Petersburg in 2021, when it sailed around Africa and Europe with the support of the converted oil tanker Makran , although it had the new Kamand close-in weapon system fitted above its helicopter hangar.

Satellite imagery shows it was in one of the dry docks at the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy's (IRIN's) main base from January to May, when it was relaunched, with the new radar being fitted by 8 September.

IRIN commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said on 25 October that Sahand had been fitted with a medium-range SAM he identified as the Navab (also spelt Nawab).

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