Photo: Department of defence
Tehran’s announcement on Tuesday that its Navy had upgraded and repaired one of its three submarines without assistance from the Russians who built it confirmed what many already feared.
Iran, after years of embargo and isolation, has developed a domestic military industrial complex capable of maintaining their military without external aid — not unlike what Pakistan did in the years before they independently developed nuclear weapons.
In the past, Iran’s navy was reliant upon Russia to repair their subs — three 20-year-old acquisitions from the Soviets — when repairs or maintenance were required. This time, Moscow rejected the Iranian’s request for parts and plans, instead demanding that the repairs of the Tareq take place in a Russian shipyard.
According to the commander of the rag-tag Iranian navy — Admiral Habibollah Sayar — that demand stoked Iranian fears that the trip would be a one-way expedition, an attempt by Russia or Western powers to reclaim a third of Iran’s underwater naval capability.
Instead, the Iranians reverse-engineered the necessary adjustments from scratch. The Iranians developed and built replacement parts in Iran for the first time. According to an article disseminated by the Agence France-Presse news agency, the navy designed, built, and replaced:
- Engine components as well as the diving system
- The ailerons (wing-like stabilizers near the stern)
- The submarine’s propeller
- Several electronic units and pumps
It’s true that the Iranian Navy is comprised largely of pre-revolution frigates and destroyers. But for the first time, the nation claims to have the capability to domestically maintain portions of their fleet — specifically, the part that hangs out under the sea, able to kill from beneath.
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