Sunday, April 01, 2007

Iran is dedicated to asymmetric warfare


Iranian navy BH7
Originally uploaded by Tims hovercraft.
Iran has long been a supporter -- weapons, training, resources, etc. -- of Hezbollah. But their support of Hezbollah isn't the only asymmetric force they use.

From Fariborz Haghshenass at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy:
For more than a decade, Iran has lavished a considerable share of its defense budget on its naval forces (which consist of both regular and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps units), believing that the Persian Gulf will be its front line in the event of a confrontation with the United States. Following a naval war-fighting doctrine that suits its revolutionary ethos, Iran has developed innovative, asymmetric naval warfare tactics that exploit its favorable geographic situation, build on its strengths, and target the vulnerabilities of its enemies.
Okay, so what's that mean? Well, perhaps we'll find out next Saturday.
In wartime, Iranian naval forces would seek to close the Strait of Hormuz and destroy enemy forces bottled up in the Persian Gulf; therefore speed and surprise would be key. Iranian naval forces would seek to identify and attack the enemy’s centers of gravity as quickly as possible and inflict maximum losses before contact with subordinate units were lost as a result of enemy counterattacks. Geography is Iran’s ally. Because of the proximity of major shipping routes to the country’s largely mountainous 2,000-kilometer coastline, Iranian naval elements can sortie from their bases and attack enemy ships with little advance warning. Meanwhile, shore-based antiship missiles can engage targets almost anywhere in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. To achieve the latter capability, and to improve the survivability of its shore-based missile force, Iran has devoted significant efforts to extending the range of locally produced variants of a number of Chinese shore-based antiship missiles such as the HY-2 Silkworm and the C-802 (from 50 to 300 kilometers and from 120 to 170 kilometers, respectively). It has also introduced the use of helicopter-borne long-range antiship missiles.
Read the entire analysis here.
Update: I forgot to provide credit where credit was due. Hit tip to EagleSpeak. I feel like the historian who claims some idea for his own, only because of sloppy note keeping.

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