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Astonishing Iranian Speedboat Maneuvers

April 27, 2010

Amazing pics and a video of the Great Prophet 5 exercises conducted by Iran last week in the Persian Gulf. Note the shark-like appearance of the speedboat swarms. No need to panic, neither should we be complacent. This is what LCS will have to face. H/T to Lee Wahler.

23 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve Lisco permalink
    March 4, 2015 9:17 am

    LOL!! So, Iran with its large bass fishing boats thinks it can take on the largest most powerful Navy the world has ever known? One…one…just one…American aircraft carrier can wipeout Iran’s Navy within a few hours. If we would just use a tenth of the power our military possess we would not be in the mess we are around the globe.

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  3. Harry permalink
    January 10, 2012 12:34 am

    Reading history. The Grap Spee. Was supposed to almost unsinkable.
    If it becomes a thing of pride for the Iranians, think–how about that
    nice juicy target of a Aircraft Carrier.
    May not sink–hopefully because of damage to the Gulf, but it will be
    damaged beyond operation.
    Agony for the families. But–just think. The contract to repair and maybe
    build another one…WOW! Some would be praying to get it sunk.

  4. April 29, 2010 1:05 am

    This does look like a great show, however one might want to be reminded of the attack on the
    U.S.S. Cole. one small speed boat and some one Hell bent, could do some damage.
    Asides, maybe those photos were just the first wave, if we can learn anything from the Iran Iraq
    war, they fought in waves, they called them martyrs, who were sent in before the regular army.
    they were basically ill-equipped, un-trained kids who were slaughtered in WW1 type skirmishes, with modern weapons, Catastrophe.
    It is hard to believe that Iran would be able to develop a nuclear weapon, but then again it was the Persians who invented chess.

  5. Bill permalink
    April 28, 2010 12:53 am

    “Where are the rpg armed acrobatic waterskiers?”

    LMAO!…I knew those pics reminded me of something. Yep, reminds me of those great ski shows in Florida back in the day. ;-p And I’m so old that I still have a pair of the wooden ‘Cypress Gardens’ skis in the shed and I’m quite certain I’ll never insert a foot in them ever again…I should post them off to the Iranians,

  6. Hudson permalink
    April 27, 2010 11:22 pm

    I decided to investigate Retired Now’s claims about the Mk 110 57mm’s laser rangefinder and the tracking of moving targets, one at a time. Most articles about the gun explain the six programmable burst patterns of the gee whiz shell. Also, this from Wiki: “Linked to a digital fire control system, servo-controlled electro hydraulic gun laying subsystems provide extreme pointing accuracy, even in heavy seas.”

    The gun mount has a small radar to measure the muzzle velocity of the shell, but I found no mention of radar as the principal means of tracking and hitting a moving target, or any mention of a laser–which doesn’t mean there is no laser.

    Given the claims made for the gun, that it can hit fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, and sea-skimming missiles, and its widespread use, I find it difficult to believe that it could not successfully engage speedboats, laser or no laser. Of course, it makes sense that it can only engage one target at a time. I found no mention of how quickly the gun can move from one target to the next. It fires at a rate of 220 rounds per minute.

    Maybe someone knows more about this weapon.

  7. ben permalink
    April 27, 2010 8:28 pm

    Where are the rpg armed acrobatic waterskiers?

  8. Guess who? permalink
    April 27, 2010 7:21 pm

    Sorry, I made the mistake of saying 57mm, I saw the tubes… couldn’t think of anything else the Iranians might have that’s shorter than 122mm rockets, I clearly didn’t take into consideration the fact that they’re clearly larger than 57mm… Either way the point has been raised by most that hitting a moving target is nearly impossible/remote, they’re for show..

  9. Retired Now permalink
    April 27, 2010 6:45 pm

    LCS is toast. Why ? Notice that the small boats are actually moving. So, in order to shoot their lone 57mm gun mount, our $700 million dollar LCS has to obtain a gun fire control solution by optically tracking a grand total of 1 boat at a time ! And then, LCS must hit the tgt boat with a LASER, before the gun solution is ready to open fire. In sea state other than zero or one, our wonderful LCS-1 will not be able to hit the bobbing little boats with her LASER rangefinder, so the fire control solution for the gun mount will not be very accurate (until the boats get closer). Oh well. Details, details. Picky. Picky. LCS goes fast. Hope she has a full load of fuel when any small boats commence acting suspiciously. LCS absolutely must run away from every possible threat, unless we give Lockheed another chunk of money for many more years to improve the pitiful gun control system onboard.

  10. acg permalink
    April 27, 2010 6:41 pm

    I’ll agree with Bill and Marcase. This entire exercise was just a bunch of hot air. Reddick even pointed it out. Those explosions are very clearly preset Hollywood gasoline explosions.

  11. D. E. Reddick permalink
    April 27, 2010 6:40 pm


    Guess Who? said: “speedboats armed with 57mm rockets?”

    Observer said: “57mm rockets may not be heavy, but they put fragments in the air.”

    Which is why I said: “Also, there has been mention of 57 mm rockets in use by the IRGC naval units. The IRGC Boghammers actually carry 107 mm 12-tube rocket launchers.” I take their comments in regards to 57 mm rockets to be in error, as the IRGC Boghammers are known to be armed with 107 mm rockets. Planeman in one of his Bluffer’s Guides describes those boats and their armaments, as I mentioned last week:

    “Planeman has an excellent “Bluffer’s Guide to Iranian Naval Power” which includes class characteristics for various small torpedo and missile boats along with the smaller Boghammers. And yes, there are those twelve-tube 107 mm MRLS systems mounted on the Boghammers. Amongst all of these types are various stealth attack craft that were acquired from North Korea. Some of these are high-speed attack craft which are also semi-submersible torpedo boats. And the latter may link into what happened to the South Korean corvette ROKS Cheonan. Anyhow, you have to scroll down through the entire page to find the small craft amongst the various Iranian FACs and corvettes / frigates.”

  12. Bill permalink
    April 27, 2010 6:17 pm

    “Also, there has been mention of 57 mm rockets ”

    Where? I see much larger tubes (over 100mm?) but I see no 57mm nor their characteristic beehive launchers. I know the 57s..I evaluated them long ago. Best described as a ‘terror’ weapon because even when fired from a rock-stable test launcher, nobody knows where they are headed afterwards.

    A bunch of skiffs playing around in calmish water carrying weapons that would never hit anything at over 1000m range except totally by accident. Sorry..not impressed in the slightest.

  13. Hudson permalink
    April 27, 2010 4:51 pm

    It must be great sport for the younger sailors, the true believers, cutting wakes like that, flags whipping, feeling their strength in numbers.

    The least effective boats seem to be the ones with rocket racks on the roof. The weapon is totally unsuited to speed and maneuver. You’d have to shoot on a flat trajectory at very close range to hit anything. And wouldn’t that singe your hair?

    The most dangerous boats are the gun/torpedo, missile/torpedo craft, which are not on display in these vids because the torp would sink the target ship, and the stingy Iranians only seem to have one.

    The naval ships escorting tankers and merchantmen through the Gulf would be traveling at a snail’s pace and would have very little time or room to maneuver in the face of a swarm speedboat attack. Ducks in a row, I’m afraid. They would be dependent on their own defensive firepower and air cover.

    I like an earlier suggestion made on a different post, of laying down smoke. That would create collision hazards of its own. But it would sure cause confusion within the swarm.

  14. April 27, 2010 4:15 pm

    Observer said “The gun crews manning mounts around the perimeter of the weather deck? I certainly wouldn’t want to be standing out there in my flak jacket under a hail of 57mm inbound.”

    I agree. Modern manned mounts are very exposed. Yet with ceramic armour etc. there is no need for this to be so. (RWS reduce situational awareness.) I am unsure whether I would want to be to far below either!!!

  15. April 27, 2010 3:31 pm

    Are any of those mounts stabilised

  16. D. E. Reddick permalink
    April 27, 2010 3:13 pm

    In the video there are explosions on the target vessel at approximately 1:27 and 1:43. As mentioned before, those appear to be staged, ‘special-effects’ blasts preset / pre-laid on the deck of the vessel.

    Also, there has been mention of 57 mm rockets in use by the IRGC naval units. The IRGC Boghammers actually carry 107 mm 12-tube rocket launchers.

  17. Marcase permalink
    April 27, 2010 3:02 pm

    Assuming they get past the Helo screen (nevermind any aircraft carrier CAP), and dismissing Harpoons, there’s the layered defense consisting of SeaSparrow / ESSM (which have a near horizon-range anti-surface capability), 127mm airburst shells (devastating against those flimsy boat swarms) and even Phalanx 20mm.

    Of course, any navy captain worth his brass will maneuver to deal with a swarm attack. Burkes, Ticos and old Perry’s aren’t exactly sitting ducks.

    It gets interesting when those Boghammar-type swarms combine with Kilo submarines, minefields, coastal C-802 missiles, land-based aircraft (when operational that is) and ‘lucky shot’ SCUD-type IRBMs.

    And lets not forget USN ship survivability. USS Stark (Exocet), USS Cole (suicide bomber) and INS Hanit were all hit, but were still afloat, and still partly operational.

    Sure, Iran could get luck with those swarms, but that luck will all be used up in that one rare moment. After that, it’s B-1/B-2 raiding time.

  18. Observer permalink
    April 27, 2010 2:17 pm

    I owuldn’t be so quick to dismiss the possible effectiveness of the speed boats. Based on sheer mass, a group of wolves shouldn’t be able to kill a buffalo or a moose — but they do. Get enough of them out there, and some of them are going to get through and do some damage. 57mm rockets may not be heavy, but they put fragments in the air. How well do SPY radar arrays hold up against that? Aluminum superstructures? The gun crews manning mounts around the perimeter of the weather deck? I certainly wouldn’t want to be standing out there in my flak jacket under a hail of 57mm inbound. Sometimes quantity has a quality all its own…

    huge numbers like this also present some tactical problems once they get in close; armed helos are nice, but it’s hard to take out the enemey when he is close aboard and the helo pilot has to worry about taking out his own ship in the process.

  19. April 27, 2010 1:43 pm

    Nice of the crew to all wear Hi Viz vests

  20. Guess who? permalink
    April 27, 2010 1:27 pm

    Oh, that’s nice of Iran they’ve produced some sitting ducks as Sea Skua/Hellfire targets… might need to clean them up before Merlins, NH90s and MH-60S Seahawks are deployed to tackle any submarine threat.

    speedboats armed with 57mm rockets? and PKMs couldn’t be confused with a credible force in a small lake, those missile boats

    5 C-14 missile boats (4x missiles that are smaller/lighter than Sea Skua) aren’t any better… Iraqi Osa missile boats in the 90s were 10x the threat these are.

  21. Anonymous permalink
    April 27, 2010 12:58 pm

    Looks more impressive than I think it really is,the majority of these vessels seem to be of a very flimsy construction and obviously meant to impress the western media with there numbers.
    I am no expert by any degree, but surely it is within the allies remitt to employ some kind of minor WMD like a Thermobaric war head to deal with these craft en mass.
    The UK has admitted to using such weapon in conjunction with the ‘Hellfire’ missile in Afhganistan fired from Apache’s.
    The USA are also known to have used them in the same theatre from the same aircraft and also UAV’s.
    Would they work on small surface craft as well as they do on ground targets?
    Surely if they do they can then be deployed on warships ?
    Or am I completely misguided as to the use of such weapons.


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