Iran says it has launched a “flotilla” that is capable of carrying drones, but much remains unclear about this new “flotilla.”
Iranian media showed several ships capable of launching drones, including a submarine. For Iran, this is an accomplishment, but it also raises questions about the danger these UAVs pose. The reason this matters is because Iran’s drones increasingly are being used to target US forces in Iraq and Syria as well as targeting Israel and Gulf countries. Iran may also export drones to Russia.
Iran has used drones at sea for the last several years. It has unveiled these drone threats at exercises and also put drones on IRGC fast boats. In the past, the drone threat included short-range drones, as well as kamikaze drones. Last July Iran used drones to target a commercial tanker.
The new maritime “flotilla” shows that Iran wants to leverage its relatively small surface fleet by giving the fleet drones. Drones would expand the fleet’s capabilities and area of operation. The video of the drones being used included surveillance drones and drones likely capable of carrying munitions. Iran says the drones include those capable of “detection” and “destruction.” Iran International noted that the drones that will be deployed at sea include the Ababil-4 and others.
The fact that Iran unveiled this new drone capability at the same time that reports say Iran could supply Russia with drones illustrates that Iran wants to showcase its abilities. It also wanted to unveil this capability at the end of the Biden visit.
Iran’s media has been careful not to express too much concern about the Biden trip. That is reflected in news articles noting that Iran should try to work more closely with Saudi Arabia. Iran’s pro-government media wouldn’t be highlighting the chance for work with Riyadh if they intended to also raise tensions immediately. At the same time, the unveiling of the maritime drone “flotilla” is designed to show that Iran is an increasing presence in the Indian ocean and that its drones can and will operate far from home.
Source » jpost