Iran claims that the 95 foot-long Ghadir-class submarine has both stealth technology and can launch missiles and torpedoes simultaneously. While this may be an exaggeration, the submarine can nevertheless threaten not only civilian shipping but also military vessels given the Persian Gulf’s relative shallowness and narrowness. The excerpted article from Fars News reports on the operation of the Ghadir-class during the Valfajr-95 war games.
The article is significant because it discusses the operation of the Ghadir-class in the deeper waters of the northern Indian Ocean. As the Iranian military establishes a greater network of logistical support—in Sudan, Syria, and perhaps Sri Lanka as well—the demonstrated ability to launch Valfajr torpedoes could widen the threat posed by Iranian submarines.
The Valfajr torpedoes, introduced in 2011 and produced since 2015, reportedly carry a nearly 500 pound explosive warhead. In October 2015, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan told a press conference in Tehran that, “What makes Valfajr torpedo stand apart from other similar products in the world is the short preparation time in the supporting and firing units; a characteristic which leads to a remarkable increase in tactical capability and a quick response from surface and subsurface combat units.” While it is unclear whether the Valfajr is as smart as Dehghan claims, the Iranian navy’s decision to showcase both the Ghadir and the Valfajr suggest that they see both as increasingly central to the Iranian naval doctrine as well as area denial strategies.