The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC, also known as the Pasdaran) have announced a project aimed at mass producing replicas of the high performance speedboat Blade Runner.
The IRGC’s Navy Commander, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, told local journalists that the project would be launched in the new Iranian calendar year (which begins on March 21) and that the high-speed craft would be modified to carry missile launchers and torpedoes.
Fadavi informed those participating at the press conference that “We will soon reveal the IRGC Navy’s latest achievements in the fields of watercraft, missiles, and naval commando units”.
Blade Runner, produced by the British company Ice Marine(http://www.icemarine.com/index.htm), is a range of high-performance speedboats noted for their exceptional speed and handling. The flagship model, the Bladerunner 51, is powered by twin 1000hp Caterpillar C18 inboard engines and has a top speed in excess of 65 knots (74 mph).
Earlier this month, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told reporters that Ian was building new destroyers so as to bolster its maritime defence capabilities (see Iran Extends Operations).
Despite sanctions, over the past few years Iran has made considerable progress in its defence sector and is on its way to becoming almost self-sufficient in military equipment and systems. However, as to Iran’s capability of reproducing this remarkable craft experts are in doubt with some suggesting that Favi’s announcement may well be of a provocative nature or simply a rhetorical statement in advance of the new Iranian calendar year.
Background notes on the IRGC:
IRGC are subordinate to the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). The IRGC consists of ground, naval, and aviation troops, which are a parallel force to the structure of the regular military.
The IRGC was formed following the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in an effort to consolidate several paramilitary forces into a single body loyal to the new regime and to function as a counter to the influence and power of the regular military, initially seen as a potential source of opposition and loyalty to the Shah. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic entrusted the defense of Iran’s territorial integrity and political independence to the military, while it gave the Pasdaran the responsibility of preserving the Revolution itself.
Although the IRGC operated independently of the regular armed forces, it was often considered to be a military force in its own right due to its important role in Iranian defense.
Photograph of Bladerunner 51 from ICE Marine
Mark Lowe, Wednesday 16 March 2011