Geopolitics & World-affairs

New Headache For The US In The Persian Gulf As Iran Is Building Drone Carrier To Counter Mighty Carrier Fleet

After the end of "Reza Shah Pahlavi", the US puppet, Iran became Achilles hill for the US government in the middle eastern region, especially in the Persian Gulf. During the 1978 Iranian Islamic revolution, Reza Shah Pahlavi was deposed, and "Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini" took his place. Since then, the Iranian government is facing various kinds of sanctions from the US government. 

To protect its allies in the Middle East from Iranian terrorist activities and to protect its valuable oil investment, the US government invests billions of dollars in building military infrastructure in the region. However, the Iranian government has always challenged US hegemony through calculated military investment and military policy.

Iran is currently developing drone carriers to counter the hegemonic US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf region. It has added a new challenge to the region. Before going into detail we should discuss how Iran has mastered itself in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle manufacturing(UAVs). 

Iranina Drone History: 

In the mid-1980s, Iran became interested in Unmanned Aerial vehicles. Since then Iran has begun manufacturing UAVs. They began manufacturing drones for intelligence, surveillance, or reconnaissance rather than attack munition at the start of their UAV generation.

Their first drone was "Ababil" which appears to have been deployed during The "Iran-Iraq war". After Ababil, they manufactured "Mohajer-1" which spied on Iraqi positioned behind front-line trenches. 

Since then Iran never looks back on manufacturing drones for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp(IRGC). As a result of that both during and after the Iran-Iraq war the Iranian authorities double down on the indigenous military industry so as not to become reliant on any overseas power and asymmetric technologies to bypass the fact that they are no longer reliant on western technologies on which its adversaries are already dependent and they were also cut-off from the new technologies due to US sanctions on them from the 1980s. 

Iran is now developing cutting age loitering Kamikaze drones and attack drones for IRGC and also for other clandestine military powers. 

In October 2021, Iran unveiled its new "Kaman 22" which seems to be modeled on the US-made "MQ-1 Predator" and with other features from the more advanced "MQ-9 Reaper". The aircraft is also reminiscent of the Chinese "CH-5 drone". 

The Islamic Republic of Iran recognized the potential of the drone and moved away from the clutches of others. Along with Iran and the United States, some countries have demonstrated their potential in drone technology: Turkey, Israel, China, and India. 

Which event influenced Iran's decision to pursue indigenous drone technology?

The Middle East was volatile immediately after WWII's end because it became a hotspot for cold war supremacy between the US and the Soviet Union. Both of them were busy pulling each other's ear to influence the region. The presence of Israel and Iran, as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, kept the region in a constant state of war. 

However, the Iranian strategist was influenced by an event during the Iran-Iraq war. In 1988, Iran mined the Persian Gulf region, especially the Strait of Hormuz. Due to that the US missile frigate the USS Samuel B. Roberts was stuck by the Iranian mine and it damaged the ship which is why it was towed to the nearby Dubai port. The USS Samuel B. Roberts was protecting an oil taker from Kuwait from an Iranian missile strike.  

In Retaliation the US government punished the Iranian regime by launching "Operation Praying Mantis" where the US navy inflicted heavy losses on Iran's Air and Navy forces, Iranian strategists realized they could not openly face the mighty US navy by water and air because US navy is far more powerful with its nuclear carrier groups. 

In order to compete with the US navy's large surface ships, the Iranian military first deployed a naval doctrine based on "Swarming Small Boats," and later they implemented the same policy for air and land by developing several superior and inexpensive drones. 

Now Iran is building Drone/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to counter the US navy in the Persian Gulf and also on the high seas. 

Iranian Drone Carrier:  

Historically Iran has been been an incubator for new technologies and techniques during the Persian Kingdom, it has always been quick to adopt new trends. Following the demise of the Persian Kingdom, the empire passed into the hands of Islamic rulers, who transformed Iran into a Shia-dominated state. 

Whereas Sunni religious clergy regularly condemned new technologies, Shi'ite leaders in Iran often embrace modernity. 

Iran was among the first countries outside the US and Europe to embrace telegraphy, laying the first lines just a decade after its invention and well before many European countries did. Iran was also the first Middle Eastern country to embrace nuclear technology in 1957, though this was done by the United States. 

Iran is now on its way to becoming the world's first drone carrier country. Iran is repurposing old cargo ships as carrier ships. According to the image published by Sutton on December 30, 2022, a former Iranian-flagged container ship is getting converted into a warship to carry helicopter and fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles at the Iran Shipbuilding And Offshore Industrial Complex Co(ISOICO) at Bandar Abbas near the Strait of Hormuz. 

The ship which Iranians are converting into one is "Sariv"(ex-name: Sarita, Dandle, Twelfth Ocean, Iran Isfahan), which is a 22-year-old container ship with a capacity of 3,300 Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). 

There is a reason behind converting this ship into the carrier, Sarvin's operator is covered by US sanctions on the Iranian Maritime Sector that were preventing that ship to operate in most commercial tragelanes. Some experts also pointed out that Sarvin was actually  "Perarin" and that ship was built in 2000 and operated under the Iranian flag. It has a carrying capacity of 3280 TEU, a length overall of 240.2 meters, and a team of 32.2 meters. The ship's reported draught length was 7.8 meters. 

Iran is simply replicating the US policy.

How Iran is replicating the US policy? - US Expeditionary Sea Base Model

The United States also has special operations forces, which operate some ships for covert operations under the guise of commercial use of ships converted by US forces to do military work. US SOF's reportedly use one such "Civilian" base ship in the western pacific and the conversion of another commercial with special-operation features, "Ocean Trader", formally known as "Cragside", is been used for "Automatic Identification System" since 2017. 

Iran has also converted an Iranian petrochemical ship, named "IRINS Makran," into a warship in 2021. Makran is one of the world's largest naval vessels, despite being much shorter than a carrier. The ship, along with the Iranian navy frigate "IRINS Sahand," was deployed in the Atlantic for four months, and it was also sent to the Baltic Sea for a "Russian Navy Fleet Review" in St. Petersburg. As a result, such carriers are causing significant problems for the US and its regional allies. 

How Iran Is Using Its Drones And Causing Problems?

Iran is using its proxies in this region to encash their advantage over the US and Israel. Iranian Proxies: Hezbollah, Hamas, and Shia of Yemen are using Iranian-made drones to target Oil tankers and Oil infrastructure of different countries in this region. 

Iran has allegedly employed Sahed-136 for an attack on a ship belonging to an Israeli billionaire off the coast of Oman in November last year. Oil tanker "Pacific Zircon" which belongs to the eastern pacific shipping of Singapore was attacked by Iran, owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.  

Iran has also provided drones to Shia's of Yemen to attack oil facilities deep into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. They are also using drones to attack their adversaries in Iraq and Syria. 

Russia is now using Iranian-made Sahed-136 to attack Ukrainian facilities deep within Ukraine. Ukraine is now being battered by Iranian-made drones. After Iranian drones have proven their metals in several regions now they are eying for the US bases in middle eastern countries. There are several important US bases in this region among them Al-Udeid-Air-Base is very important because it is the largest air base of the US in this region. 

The US has almost 30 military assets to protect this region and to protect these bases, they have already deployed the patriot missile defense system but the patriot is very expensive to use therefore the Iranian drones increase the cost of maintenance of these bases and Iran has also pushed some countries into accepting the fact that Iran is the major power in this region. 

The constant advancement of military technology is pushing countries to develop technologies that will ultimately harm the world, similar to how nuclear technology is constantly challenging western countries to keep it from falling into the hands of powerful terrorists, clandestine organizations, or irresponsible countries. Nuclear technology has already spread like wildfire and is already in the hands of irresponsible powers such as Pakistan and North Korea.