1.Iran sits at the crossroads of the Islamic world. Linking the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central and South Asia, Iran has struggled to balance the benefits and risks of its geographic position. Iran's core is located in the western Zagros mountain range. From this secure geography, the beginnings of the Persian Empire spread throughout Iran's mountainous topography securing the Alborz, the southern Zagros and much of the Iranian plateau. Iran's primary geographic challenge has been to secure itself from the many external threats on its borders. Arabs, Mongols and Turks all conquered ancient Persia at various times, prompting Persia to expand its territorial control whenever possible to establish a buffer to protect its core. At its height, the Persian Empire stretched from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Hindu Kush mountains, bridging modern-day Europe and Asia. Echoes of this former empire can be seen even today, with Iran's support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, the al Assad regime in Damascus and the Shiite-led government in Iraq.
2.Iran has also struggled to unite and control the various language and ethnic groups located within its core territories, a process impeded by the country's difficult terrain. Modern-day Tehran is aided by its large hydrocarbon reserves. Iran boasts the fourth-largest oil reserves and largest natural gas reserves in the world. The 20th century saw British, Russian and American interests competing not only to control Iran's strategic geographic location, but its significant energy reserves as well. This modern-day reliance on energy revenues has resulted in Iran's focus on securing the Strait of Hormuz and expanding control over the Persian Gulf to secure its core territories from the threat of outside invasion.
3.Navy of Islamic Republic of Iran Army acronymed NEDAJA, is the naval warfare service branch of Iran's regular military, the Islamic Republic of Iran Army (Artesh) .It is charged with the responsibility of forming Iran's first line of defence in the Gulf of Oman and beyond with the mission of acting as an effective blue-water navy. However it is generally considered as a conventional green-water navy. as it mostly operates at a regional level, in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman but also as far afield as the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and northwest quarter of the Indian Ocean . In July 2016, the Navy said that it would establish a presence in the Atlantic Ocean, of unspecified duration.
4.The Navy of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution or Revolutionary Guards' Navy acronymed NEDSA or IRGC Navy, consists of 20,000 men and 1,500 boats and fast attack boats separate from the regular Navy of Artesh mentioned above assuming control over Iranian maritime operations in the Persian Gulf. IRGC’s Navy has steadily improved its capabilities to support unconventional warfare and defend Iran’s offshore facilities, coastlines, and islands in the Persian Gulf.
5.NEDAJA ,One of Iran's two maritime military branches alongside the IRGC Navy, it overlaps functions and areas of responsibility with the other navy, but they are distinct in terms of military strategy and equipment. Despite IRGC Navy which is equipped with the small fast attack crafts, backbone of the Artesh navy’s inventory consists of larger surface ships, including frigates and corvettes, and submarines.
6.Suffering from decaying Western-supplied weapons purchased by the Shah, Tehran has been acquiring new weapons from Russia, China and North Korea. Iran has expanded the capabilities of the naval branch of the IRGC, acquired additional mine warfare capability, and upgraded some of its older surface ships. Iran's exercises have included a growing number of joint and combined arms exercises with the land forces and air force. Iran has also improved its ports and strengthened its air defences, while obtaining some logistic and technical support from states like India and Pakistan.
7.As far as major new equipment is concerned, Iran has been building up its naval strength by acquiring three Kilo-class submarines from Russia, as well as other equipment, including 10 Houdong fast attack craft from China. Russia and India were reported to be assisting Iran with training and operating its Kilo-class submarines. As regards other requirements, in December 1997, Rear Admiral Mohammad Karim Tavakoli, commander of the First Naval Zone, with HQ at the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas, claimed that the Iranian Navy had completed design work on three multirole corvettes and a small submarine, to be built in Iran.
8.In August 2000, Iran announced that it had launched its first domestically produced light submarine or swimmer delivery vehicle, named the Al-Sabiha 15 because of its 15 meters length, in an official ceremony at the Bandar Abbas naval base. In May 2005, Iran navy announced that it had launched its first Ghadir-class midget submarine and on 8 March 2006 announced that it had launched another submarine named Nahang (Persian: whale).
9.During 2000, the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy Aviation significantly improved its capability by taking delivery from Russia, of a number of Mi-8 AMT (Mi-171) transport/attack helicopters. Under a contract signed in 1999, Russia agreed to supply 21 Mi-171s to Iran. Delivery was completed in 2001; although the exact number destined for the navy was unknown. In summer 2001, there were indications that Iran would order a further 20 Mi-171s, although as of mid-2004, it was not known if this had occurred.
10.In November 2002 sources at both Iran's Aerospace Industries Organisation (AIO) and the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (COSIC) confirmed that the two groups were working on common anti-ship missile production and development. The effort, which Iranian sources call Project Noor, covers the short-range C-701 and the long-range C-802 weapons developed by COSIC's China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Co subsidiary. The possibility that a formal collaborative project was under way was first raised in 1998, when Iran displayed an Anti-Ship missile design similar to the 15-kilometre range C-701 shortly after the Chinese system was unveiled.
11.An AIO spokesperson confirmed that Project Noor involves the C-701. However, officials in the same company describe the weapon as "a long-range, turbojet-powered, sea-skimming Anti-Ship missile," which better fits the 120km range C-802, and suggests that the co-operation agreement may cover both weapon systems. In early 2004, Iran announced the release of a new cruise missile programme named Raad (Thunder). The Raad appears to be a modification of the Chinese HY-2 (CSSC-3) anti-ship missile, one of a series of missiles China developed from the original Soviet-era P21 (SS-N-2C) design.
12.On 29 September 2003, Iran's domestically produced Sina-class (reverse engineered from the Kaman class) missile boat Paykan, equipped with modern anti-ship missiles and modern electronics entered service in the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy. The ship was launched in the Caspian Sea to protect Iran's interests there and was mentioned among the achievements of the Iranian Navy by Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.
13.On 22 September 2006, Iran announced to have commissioned their second self-made Kaman-class missile boat, Joshan. Built in memory of the original Joshan, lost in the Persian Gulf during Operation Praying Mantis on 18 April 1988. According to Iran's Navy commander Admiral Kouchaki, Joshan has a claimed speed of over 45-knot (83km/h) and "enjoys the world's latest technology, specially with regard to its military, electrical and electronic systems, frame and chassis, and it has the capabilities required for launching powerful missiles."
14.In 2002, Iran announced it would start the production of its first domestically produced destroyer. By most international standards the ship, the first of the Moudge class, would be considered a light frigate or a corvette.On 24 November 2007 Iran's rear admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced that Iran would launch its first domestically produced destroyer, Jamaran, though internationally rated as a frigate, and an Iranian Ghadir-class submarine. It is said to be a sonar evading stealth submarine. Initially known as Moje, then Moje I, finally Jamaran, appears to be a development of the Alvand class. The Moudge or Moje-class guided missile frigate entered service in 2010. Another frigate in the same class, named Damavand, has been commissioned in the port of Bandar Anzali in the Caspian Sea in 2013. This ship just like the Jamaran has the capability to: carry helicopters, anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, torpedoes, modern guns and air defence guns. The ship is also equipped with electronic warfare devices. The two mentioned frigates have brought Iran's frigate arsenal from 3 to 5, while two others are being built, to be added to Iran's fleet of warships in the Persian Gulf.
15.In March 2006, the navy deployed a submarine named Nahang (Whale) but the pictures broadcast by state media at the time showed it was a minisub.
16.On 22 February 2008, the Iranian Defense Ministry announced that 74 domestically produced "gunboats" (small missile boats) had entered service with the Iranian Navy. The Navy has had reported to have the Hoot supercavitating torpedo and the Thaqeb (missile) in trials or service, though reliable information is scarce.
17.Iran's Deputy Navy Commander Captain Mansour Maqsoudlou announced in February 2010 that Iran has begun planning to design, and manufacture domestically built aircraft carriers. The initial designs for building the carriers has been approved as of 2010 and the process of research and the design for the aircraft carrier is currently being looked into by the Iranian government. However, as of August 2013, the Iranian Navy is still currently in the research and design stages due to lack of government support and funding.
18.In 2012, Iran overhauled one of the Kilo-class submarines in its possession, INS Younis. Iran was able to complete this re-haul at Bandar Abbas naval base. In addition the Iranian Navy has modernized and re-commissioned the 1135 ton Bayandor-class corvettes; equipped with Noor anti-ship cruise missiles and torpedo launchers.
19.Another modern frigate named Sahand, with 2000 tons displacement is being fitted up with weapons and equipment in Bandar Abbas naval base; planned for launch in 2013.
20.In July 2012, foreign analysts reported that Iran was gaining new deployment capabilities, allegedly to strike at US warships in the Persian Gulf in the case of an armed conflict, amassing an arsenal of anti-ship missiles while expanding its fleet of fast-attack crafts and submarines.
21.In December 2014, Iran conducted joint wargames involving Iranian Army, Air Force and Navy. Naval phase took part on a wide area, ranging from Persian Gulf to northern Indian Ocean and to Gulf of Aden. New systems were tested, including new anti-ship cruise missiles, electro-magnetic and acoustic naval mine-sweeping system and Fateh submarine.
22. Naval facilities : Iran has the following naval facilities.
(a)Abu Musa - small docking facility on the island's west end; located near Abu Musa Airport.
(b) Al-Farsiyah and Bandar Beheshti (Chah Bahar) - port and base facilities in the Gulf of Oman
(c) Bandar-e Abbas - naval HQ and home to naval airbase
(d) Bandar-e Anzali - once training base and now home to Caspian Sea Fleet (patrol boats, minesweepers)
(e) Bandar-e Khomeini - small sheltered base located near the border with Iraq
(f) Bandar-e Mahshahr - small base located near Bandar-e Khomeini
(g) Bushehr - repair and storage facility in the Persian Gulf; home to Navy Technical Supply Center and R&D center
(h) Halul (an oil platform)
(i) Jask - small base located across from Oman and UAE in southeastern Iran at the mouth of the Straits of Hormuz
(j) Khark - small base on the island and located northwest of Bushehr· Khorramshahr - former naval HQ; now repair and shipbuilding facilities (k) Larak - small base on the island and near Bandar-e Abbas
(l) Kharg Island - base in the Straits of Hormuz; home to hovercraft fleet
(m) Noshahr - not a base, but home to Iman Khomeini University for Naval Science (naval staff college)
(n) Qeshm - small port facility near Kharg and Bandar-e Abbas·(p)Shahid Rajaie and· Sirri - island port facilities located in the Persian Gulf and across from UAE
23.Naval Vessels : Iranian Navy has expected to have the following Naval vessels.
(a) Submarines : Sizes, 10 to 600 tons, all with diesel-electric drives belonging to different classes such as Besat, Fateh, Nahang,Ghadir,Yugo, Al Shebat classes, in all about total 33 nos. Around 50% may be said as in operating condition.
(b) Destroyers: 1 no. Persian gulf class ( 7,500 tons ) under construction.
(c) Frigates : Different classes sizes ranging from 1500 to 2000 ton such as Alvand, Moje, Sahand, around 5 nos.
(d) Corvettes : Sizes: 500 to 1200 tons of Beyandor and Hamzeh classes.around 4 nos.
(e) Missile craft : Different classes such as Kalat, Hudong, Kamn, Sina around 32 nos.
(f) Patrol boat : Different classes such as Zafar, Chinese Cat, PBF , PTF Hover craft and Peykap around 175 nos. With 50% in operating condition.
(g)Mine layers of classes Hejaz and Iran air about 5 in nos.
(h) Mine sweepers of Classes Riazi, Sharokh,MSC and 290 MSC around 4 nos.
(i) Amphibious vessels of different classes around 25 in nos.
(j) Supporting vessels about 25 nos.
24. The above naval power, discounting the maintenance and repair outge Iran herself does not consider sufficient for combat against its existential threat from the Sunni extremist Arab world as well as Israel and US.Hence Iran is in constsnt pursuit of growth of its naval power so as to constitute a redoubtable defence at least on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Iran desperately looks forward to Russia, China and India for helping her grow a strong Navy able to defend herself as the West would keep her at bay.