Iran has outfitted its destroyers and warships with Ghadir cruise missiles, the country’s Fars news agency reported Monday.
“Ghadir cruise missiles have been mounted on both Navy destroyers and missile-launching warships and they are also used as coast-to-sea missiles,” the news agency quoted the commander of Iran’s navy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, as saying.
According to Sayyari, the Ghadir missile is a surface-to-surface projectile which has a longer range than the country’s previous missile systems. It also has more destructive fire power and greater precision than other anti-ship systems mounted on Iranian destroyers, such as Nour and Qader.
Speaking at a ceremony to inaugurate the newly-overhauled destroyer Bayandor in the major southern port of Bandar Abbas, Sayyari said Iran would use the missile mostly for coast-to-sea fire.
The general said 76-mm and 46-mm artilleries had been mounted on the modernized destroyer, as well as other special systems.”
“The 40-mm cannon mounted on the destroyer is also among advanced artilleries in air defense,” he said.
On Sunday, Iran temporarily called off a plan to dispatch warships to the Atlantic Ocean, according to the country’s semi-official Fars news agency.
The outlet quoted Sayyari as saying such changes of naval plans are routine, “considering the situation in the region.”
Sayyari did not say why Iran changed the plan but said that “when piracy increases in the Gulf of Aden some changes will be applied in the assignments.”
He said another fleet would be sent to the Atlantic Ocean in the future, but did not elaborate.
Iran in January said it had launched two warships on a three-month voyage to the Atlantic to demonstrate the country’s ability to project power across the Middle East and beyond. The fleet consisted of a destroyer and a logistic helicopter carrier
The Islamic Republic considered the move as a response to US naval deployments near its own coastlines, Iran indicated. The US Navy’s 5th fleet is based in nearby Bahrain.
In February, at the peak of the standoff, Sayyari said that a major naval building program was underway in Iran.
“Different torpedo-launcher missiles, destroyers and submarines have been built or are being constructed by the Navy,” he told navy cadets in the northern city of Anzali, according to Fars news agency.
The statement followed a number of signs over the past year that Iran is upgrading its navy as part of a program of military self-sufficiency, which could threaten American ships patrolling the Persian Gulf. Its navy maintains a presence in the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Caspian Sea, and other bodies of water.
In September, Tehran deployed a Russian-made submarine in the Persian Gulf, one of the three Kilo-class submarines that Iran obtained in the early 1990s. A second submarine was refurbished and redeployed in May 2013.
Also December, Iran redeployed two warships after refitting them with new anti-ship missiles.
IRNA said the missile boats, Neizeh and Tabarzin, were equipped with Ghader and Noor anti-ship missile systems, with ranges of 200 kilometers and 120 kilometers respectively.
Times of Israel staff and AP contributed to this report.