Tag Archives: Iran

Declining Power – USN Submarine Force

Admiral: U.S. submarine forces decline as forces of China, Russia, Iran advance undersea warfare capabilities

Russian sailors participating in joint Naval exercises with China / AP

Russian sailors participating in joint Naval exercises with China / AP

China, Russia, and Iran pose regional and strategic submarine threats and are building up undersea warfare capabilities as the Navy is cutting its submarine force by 30 percent, the admiral in charge of Pentagon submarine programs told Congress on Thursday.

Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, director of Navy undersea warfare programs, said the decline of U.S. submarines is placing a key U.S. military advantage at risk.

“Our adversaries are not standing still, and so even though we have an advantage and we have a lead, we can’t sit on our lead,” Breckenridge told a hearing of the House Armed Services seapower subcommittee.

“We have to continue to move or we do have the potential within 20 years of losing this crown jewel, this advantage that we have in the undersea domain,” he said.

Breckenridge then outlined advances in the submarine warfare programs of China, Russia, and Iran.

China’s submarine warfare power is advancing in both numbers of submarines and growing sophistication and missile capability.

Beijing’s submarines currently are “predominantly a maritime, regional undersea force,” he said.

“They predominantly use their undersea forces to threaten the presence of our surface ships, to be able to shoulder off the positive, stabilizing influence of our naval forces in an anti-surface warfare dimension,” Breckenridge said.

However, he warned that China’s submarine programs are “growing towards more of a global strategic undersea force.”

China’s new Jin-class missile submarines are equipped with JL-2 missiles that “will put them into the stage of using the undersea for more than just maritime regional control,” he said.

China’s navy is also building conventionally armed, guided-missile submarines, he said.

“I think that the capability, the quality of their submarines will improve as we march forward a couple of decades,” Breckenridge said. “But right now, there is a capacity challenge that’s unique to what the Chinese navy has.”

Defense officials revealed to the Free Beacon in July that the first sea patrols of China’s new strategic missile submarines will begin next year, the first time Beijing will send strategic missile submarines far from its shores.

Currently, China has three Jin-class submarines each equipped with 12 JL-2 missiles. China calls the Jin-class the Type-094.

The National Air and Space Intelligence Center reported in July that the JL-2 will give China for the first time the capability to target portions of the United States from locations near China’s coasts.

After deploying at least five Jin-class subs, China currently is working on a more modern version missile submarine called the Type-096.

The Pentagon’s annual report to Congress said China has placed a high priority on building up its submarine force and currently has more than 55 submarines, including two new Shang-class attack submarines and four improved variants of that sub. It is building a new Type-095 guided missile attack submarine in the next decade, the report said.

The Chinese also have 12 Russian-made Kilo-class submarines, some armed with SS-N-27 anti-ship cruise missiles, 13 Song-class and eight Yuan-class attack submarines. Up to 20 Yuan-class subs will be deployed in the future.

Breckenridge said Russia is building two new classes of advanced submarines called the Borei-class nuclear missile submarine and a conventional, guided-missile class called Severodvinsk. He said the Russian submarine program is at the “global strategic level of power.”

“It is more than just a region,” he said. “It is the ability to control the seas, it is the ability to do land attack from covert positions. It has a much larger utility than just a maritime sea-control, sea-denial perspective alone, and the Russians have always maintained a very capable submarine force.”

While the U.S. Navy currently has the advantage over Russia in submarine warfare capabilities, “they are a close second with regard to their capability and with regard to their shipbuilding industry and the capabilities they’re putting into their new classes of submarines,” he said.

Three Borei-class submarines are now deployed and at least five more could be built, he said.

“There’s been talk of a higher number of SSBNs [strategic missile submarines] within their force,” Breckenridge added. “But that machine is running. Those very good quality ballistic missile submarines are being produced in Russia.”

The Severodvinsk class of guided missile submarines will have an “eight-pack” of missile tubes, twice the number on U.S. Virginia-class attack submarines.

“So they see the importance of the concealment of the undersea to bring potency with that, that can be threatening at a strategic level,” Breckenridge said. “And again, we are mindful of that and we are prepared to be able to counter that.”

Tehran’s submarine force of three Russian Kilo-class submarines, one indigenous Nahang-class submarine and an estimated 12 Ghadir-class midget submarines, poses a regional threat.

“If you look at Iran, they, like many other countries, use the undersea domain from a purely maritime, sea-denial local region type of influence, much like we did in World War II in the Pacific,” Breckenridge said, “to hold at risk predominantly surface warships.”

“It is a disruptive force, a challenging force and one that we deal with regard to our ability to project stabilizing influence around the globe,” the admiral said.

Rick Fisher, a China military affairs analyst with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the “capacity” challenge mentioned by Breckenridge is real.

“The Chinese Navy may have up to 53 somewhat older to quite modern non-nuclear propelled attack submarines plus five more nuclear powered attack submarines for a total of 58,” Fisher said, adding that the force could be much larger.

“A possible force of 92 Chinese submarines means that U.S. Navy today is facing a very formidable challenge that requires that U.S. submarine levels remain well above 50 ships in order to prevent rapid combat attrition,” he said.

Breckenridge said the submarine programs of the three potential adversaries are advancing and “we have to be mindful of to make sure that we as a nation preserve this unique advantage that we have in the undersea domain.”

By contrast, the U.S. submarine force will decline by 25 percent over the next 15  years as a result of a “gradual consequence of a long list of choices made over many years,” he said.

The total number of submarines will drop from 75 to 52, a 30 percent decline, he said.

The missile-firing strike payload volume from submarines will decline by over 60 percent as the result of retiring guided-missile and attack submarines, he said.

The forward-deployed submarines around the world will decline by over 40 percent, despite building two Virginia-class attack submarines per year, he said.

To address the growing need for submarine power with the declining force, Breckenridge said the Navy has four priorities for its submarine strategy.

They include sustaining the sea-based nuclear deterrent with a new missile submarine to replace Ohio-class submarines. The follow-on has been delayed for 20 years and “it is now time to make the necessary investments to support procurement of the first Ohio replacement in 2021,” Breckenridge said. “There is no allowance for any further delay.”

To prevent the worsening decline in attack submarines, the Navy must continue the two-per-year pace of Virginia-class submarines, add a new more efficient missile launch payload module to Virginia submarine, and restart production of torpedoes.

Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.) said during the hearing that defense spending cuts are harming the Navy.

“It’s apparent to me that the largest threat to the United States Navy is of our own making,” Forbes said of the defense spending crisis.

“I continue to believe that the undersea warfare capabilities provided by our United States Navy provide a preeminent role in the control of the global commons,” Forbes said. “These capabilities provide the United States with the key asymmetric advantage over any potential aggressor. Even in a time of declining resources, it’s crucial that our nation continue to retain our strategic advantage in undersea warfare.”

Source- The Washington Free Beacon

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Iran Almost Through with Indigenization of Submarine Technology

A senior Iranian defense industry official announced on Monday that the country has almost completely indigenized building of military submarines.

Deputy Head of the Naval Industries Organization of the Iranian Ministry of Defense General Babayee said Iran can now manufacture different types of naval equipments, including submarines.

“In construction of military submarines, this organization has achieved more than 90% indigenization now ,” Babayee said.

As regards other products, the official said, “We have indigenized some products up to 92%, while with regard to the production of some other products and depending on the type of the project, indigenization has taken place from 65 to 70%.”

Last month, Iran boosted its naval power in Persian Gulf waters after a new missile launching vessel and two light submarines joined its Navy fleet.

During the ceremony attended by Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, two Qadir-class light submarines also joined the Iranian naval fleet.

All parts of the Qadir-class submarines, including the hull, radar equipment and advanced defense systems, have been made domestically.

The submarines are appropriate vessels for different naval missions, including reconnaissance and combat in territorial waters, specially in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz which are not wide enough for the maneuvering of large warships and submarines.

Meantime, the Iranian Navy tested the operational capabilities of its submarine units on the second day of Velayat 91 naval wargames on Saturday.

Spokesman of the Wargames Rear Admiral Amir Rastegari announced that on the second day of the drills, Iran’s light and kilo-class submarines have traversed the territorial and international waters, conducted reconnaissance missions and traced hypothetical enemies successfully.

Source – Fars News Agency

IRGC’s Sonar-Evading Submarines Enjoying Unique Capabilities

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad getting into a Iranian submarine

Two Iranian military commanders disclosed that the country’s home-made sonar-evading submarines enjoy unusual features.

“Besides the usual capabilities of the submarines that all people are aware of, our vessels enjoy some subsurface capabilities that are different from the regular features of submarines and no one is informed of them,” Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi told FNA on Sunday.

Also, Deputy Defense Minister for Industrial and Research Mohammad Eslami, whose ministry is in charge of supplying logistical backups including equipments for the Armed Forces, told FNA that “the submarines supplied to the IRGC are of the mid-sized class, given the missions defined for the IRGC Navy”.

He said all Iranian submarines are sonar and radar-evading, “since we cannot fulfill our missions today if our submarines are not equipped with sonar and radar evading technologies”.

Earlier this month, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi announced that the country plans to equip the IRGC naval force with new submarines.

“Production of different types of submarines are on our agenda and naturally they will be delivered to the IRGC whenever they reach their final phase,” Vahidi told FNA at the time, adding that the ministry plans to equip the IRGC Navy with its new home-made submarines.

As regards the features and specifications of the new submarines, Vahidi said, “These submarines will be in models other than Qadir (light submarines) and their production and delivery to the IRGC are underway.”

He said that Iran is producing military tools based on its doctrine of asymmetric defense.

Last month, Iran boosted its naval power in Persian Gulf waters after a new missile launching vessel and two light submarines joined its Navy fleet.

During the ceremony attended by Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, two Qadir-class light submarines also joined the Iranian naval fleet.

All parts of the Qadir-class submarines, including the hull, radar equipment and advanced defense systems, have been made domestically.

The submarines are appropriate vessels for different naval missions, including reconnaissance and combat in territorial waters, specially in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz which are not wide enough for the maneuvering of large warships and submarines.

Source – Fars News Agency

Iran to Equip IRGC with New Types of Submarines

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said that the country plans to equip the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) naval force with new submarines.

“Production of different types of submarines are on our agenda and naturally they will be delivered to the IRGC whenever they reach their final phase,” Vahidi told FNA on Wednesday, adding that the ministry plans to equip the IRGC Navy with its new home-made submarines.

As regards the features and specifications of the new submarines, Vahidi said, “These submarines will be in models other than Qadir (light submarines) and their production and delivery to the IRGC are underway.”

He said that Iran is producing military tools based on its doctrine of asymmetric defense.

Last month, Iran boosted its naval power in Persian Gulf waters after a new missile launching vessel and two light submarines joined its Navy fleet.

During the ceremony attended by Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, two Qadir-class light submarines also joined the Iranian naval fleet.

All parts of the Qadir-class submarines, including the hull, radar equipment and advanced defense systems, have been made domestically.

The submarines are appropriate vessels for different naval missions, including reconnaissance and combat in territorial waters, specially in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz which are not wide enough for the maneuvering of large warships and submarines.

Source – Fars News Agency

Iran unveils unusually colored blue submarine

Iran unveils unusually colored blue submarine

The Iranian Navy’s unusually colorful new Sina 7 submarine (AP)It looks like the Iranian Navy really wanted people to see its new submarine. In a live broadcast on state TV on Wednesday, the Islamic Republic showed off a new Sina 7 submarine that is painted in an unusually bright turquoise blue hue.

So, why exactly would any military want to design its ship in a color that can be easily spotted ? TheDaily Mail speculates that the ship’s designers mistakenly chose the color, believing it would help the craft blend in with the ocean’s waters.

Launched from Bandar Abbas, near the Strait of Hormuz, the Sina 7 and two Ghadir-class submarines represent the first wave of the country’s “indigenously built” warships, Iran said.

“Since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, we have learned not to ask for help from other countries and stand on our own feet in meeting our demands,” Iranian Navy commander Habibollah Sayyari said during the broadcast.

“Thanks to the Islamic Revolution, Iran has acquired the know-how to build submarines. No one believed that we would reach a point where we would build destroyers capable of carrying helicopters and missiles in the Sea of Oman and oceans … because it’s a very difficult task to build destroyers and submarines.”

The Sina 7 is reportedly capable of firing anti-ship missiles, which the Iranian government says is a centerpiece of its new defense strategy.

Two repaired hovercraft vehicles were also showcased during the broadcast.

The Iranian Navy’s new blue submarine