Iran unveiled an official model of the next-generation ‘Hormuz Project’ destroyer on November 28. The stealthy trimaran design is much more modern than existing Iranian warship projects, and the first reaction of defense observers is that it bears an unmistakable resemblance to the U.S. Navy’s Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS).

It is not just that all trimarans look alike — the Hormuz Project, also called ‘Mowj-6,’ shares many specific design features with the American ship, including the hull form, bow, and stern. Like the U.S. warship it is propelled by four pump jets instead of regular propellers (’screws’). These promise to push it at up to 40 knots, much faster than most warships. But there are differences also. The superstructure is set further back, and the helicopter hangars have a distinctive angled shape. And the sensors are naturally Iranian.

The Hormuz Project promises to be a very heavily armed warship. An incredible 96 vertical missile tubes will supposedly be squeezed into the forward deck. The type of missile to be carried is unclear but the large number of tubes and their position suggests that they will be very small. Possibly short range air defense missiles. Behind the bridge are yet more launchers for larger missiles, likely anti-ship weapons. The main anti-ship missiles in service with Iranian forces are based on the Chinese C-802 family. These are approximately comparable to the Harpoon missile.

Iran describes it as a ‘destroyer’ although the size and mission would translate into a frigate in Western parlance. She is designed to weigh only 3,000 tons. That is approximately the same as the LCS, but less than half the weight of an Arleigh Burke Class destroyer. It is typical for Iranian ‘destroyers’ to be frigates or even corvettes by Western standards.

The extensive weapons fit is rounded off with a 3-inch (76mm) dual purpose gun and four Gatling guns for close-in defense. Add to this two helicopters and, apparently, extensive phased array radar, and it could be a quantum leap for the Iranian Navy.

It is unclear whether this weapons fit is workable, however. It appears over-armed for such a small hull, but possibly Iran plans to sacrifice other aspects in order to pack a greater punch.

The biggest question mark is whether such an ambitious warship will ever be built. Iran has constructed a series of indigenous warships and submarines, but nothing which comes close to the challenges of this project. So possibly it will remain a model for defense shows only.

Source » forbes