Little Boat, Big Danger
As tensions continue to rise in the Persian Gulf, does a British designed and built speedboat pose the biggest threat to coalition naval forces?
Little boat, big danger: how a British-made speedboat has become a weapon in Iran’s standoff with the US
By Jon Stock, The Telegraph
When the four-man crew of the Bradstone Challenger crossed the finish line at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes on August 12 2005, spirits were high. They had just smashed the world record for circumnavigating the British Isles, completing the journey in 27 hours and 10 minutes. Their powerboat, a 51ft Bladerunner, had averaged 55 knots (63mph), at one point reaching 72 knots (83mph). It was an impressive achievement, beating the old record by more than three hours and 40 minutes, and the record still stands today.
What nobody knew was that the sound of the finish cannon at Cowes marked the beginning of a race for ownership of the Bradstone Challenger. Seven years on, after a series of clandestine transactions worthy of a Bond film, the British boat is berthed in Bandar Abbas, on the southern coast of Iran, where the West fears it has been fitted out with a deadly array of weapons systems. The naval port is home to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy (IRGN), who hope the Bradstone Challenger’s record-beating speed will prove decisive in any military engagement with American and Royal Navy warships in the Persian Gulf.
Tensions are currently running dangerously high in the region. On Friday, Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, described Israel’s existence as an “insult to humanity”, just as Israel’s defence leaders openly debated whether to launch air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities. If Israel does attack, all eyes will be on……[access full article]