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Iran's IRGCN unveils Shahid Soleimani catamaran

A still from an Iranian TV shows Shahid Soleimani . No photographs were released of the new vessel. (IRIB News)

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) officially took delivery of the first of its new class of catamarans during a ceremony held at its base in Bandar Abbas on 5 September, making the heavily armed vessel the largest combatant it has in service.

Shahid Soleimani is the first of three catamarans with a length of approximately 65 m that satellite imagery shows being built at different shipyards since mid-2020.

Describing it as a patrol-combat vessel, the Iranian media reported that Shahid Soleimani's design reduces its radar cross-section, enables it to operate in adverse weather conditions, and makes it more manoeuvrable than similar-sized ships. It can also operate far from its bases, a role that the IRGCN, which largely operates small attack craft, has not traditionally performed.

β€œThis is the Islamic Republic of Iran's first domestically developed warship that is equipped with vertical-launch short-range and medium-range air-defence systems,” said Major General Mohammad Bagheri, the armed forces chief.

Television footage of the ship showed that it is fitted with four larger anti-ship missiles that are presumably either Noor (C-802) or the longer-range Ghader variant and two of a smaller type, possibly the Nasr (C-704) or the longer-range Nasir.

It has what appears to be a 30 mm gun in a turret in front of its bridge with decoy launchers on either side. It also has four manually operated guns that appear to be derived from the three-barrelled 20 mm M197 fitted to Iran's AH-1J attack helicopters.

A Bell 412 helicopter was seen landing on Shahid Soleimani'

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