Iran may put a new class of submarine into service next month.
Speaking to reporters on February 11 at events celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi said, “[The] Fateh submarine will join the naval fleet by the end of this year.” Fars News Agency noted that he referred to the end of the current Iranian year 1397, which is March 20, 2019.
Rear Admiral Khanzadi added, “The Iranian nation will witness that we will have a more meaningful presence in the oceans and free waters.”
In January 2019, Rear Admiral Khanzadi had said that the submarine would enter service on January 29. His latest comments indicate that this timeframe was not met. Iran has previously delayed the Fateh‘s entrance into service, without providing details as to what had prompted the delays.
The Fateh is the lead vessel of a new class of submarines under construction in Iran. These are to be larger than the Ghadir class “midget” submarines that Iran has been putting into service over the last decade. Two Ghadir class submarines entered service in October 2018.
Earlier this month, Iranian media published a cartoon depicting a Ghadir submarine firing on and sinking an American Navy aircraft carrier. The animation demonstrated Iran’s key focus of submarine development, posturing against the U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, opposite the Gulf from Iran. At the end of 2018, the U.S. returned an aircraft carrier, the USS John C. Stennis, to the area after a few years’ absence from the region.