Iran: Stealth 'Flying Boat' Successfully Tested

Published April 04, 2006

| Associated Press

Iran said Tuesday it had tested what it called a "super-modern flying boat" capable of evading radar. State TV showed a brief clip of the boat's launch.

"Due to its advanced design, no radar at sea or in the air can detect it. It can lift out of the water," the television said. It said the boat was "all Iranian-made and can launch missiles with precise targeting while moving."

On Monday Iran said it tested a second new radar-avoiding missile during war games in the Persian Gulf that the military says are aimed at preparing the country's defenses against the United States.

The new surface-to-sea missile is equipped with remote-control and searching systems, the state-run television reported Tuesday.

On Friday, the country tested the Fajr-3, a missile that it said can avoid radars and hit several targets simultaneously using multiple warheads. Iran also has tested what it calls two new torpedoes.

The Revolutionary Guards, the elite branch of Iran's military, have been holding their maneuvers — code-named the "Great Prophet" — since Friday, touting what they call domestically built technological advances in their armed forces.

But some experts say it appears some of the technology has come from other countries, possibly Russia, and some experts also have questioned just how adept the missiles are at evading radar.

It has not been possible to verify Iran's claims for the new armaments. But the country has made clear it aims to send a message of strength to the United States amid heightened tensions over its nuclear program.

The U.N. Security Council has demanded Iran give up uranium enrichment, a crucial part of the nuclear process. Washington is pressing for sanctions if Tehran continues its refusal to do so, though U.S. officials have not ruled out military action as an eventual option, insisting they will not allow Iran to gain a nuclear arsenal.

In Russia, a Kremlin-allied lawmaker on Tuesday criticized the recent torpedo and missile tests as a counterproductive show of might at a time when it should be trying to allay fears that it is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

"It is clear that Iran is demonstrating its muscle in order to forestall any discussions of a possible operation using force against Iran," Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, was quoted as saying according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

Iran said the torpedo tests were conducted on Sunday and Monday. The torpedo — called a "Hoot," or "whale" — is able to move at up to 223 mph, too fast for any enemy ship to elude.

Iran has routinely held war games over the past two decades to improve its combat readiness and test locally made equipment such as missiles, tanks and armored personnel carriers.

Iran launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane.

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