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Babr Class Destroyer

Iran acquired two Allen M. Sumner Class Destroyers in the early 1970s, both of which were extensively overhauled at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. The first of these was the Babr (ex-DD 777, USS Zellers), which was commissioned by the Iranian Navy in 1973. The second of these was the Palang (ex-DD 780, USS Storm). These names refer to two ships with the same names sunk by the Royal Navy in 1941 during the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia. Both were still listed as active as of 1998, but by 2000 neither ship was operational.

These 3,200 ton displacement (fully loaded) vessels could make 31 knots at top speed. Their main armament comprised two twin 5" gun mounts, two triple torpedo launchers, and four twin launchers for the Standard SM-1MR surface-to-air missile. The ships also had a helipad on the rear deck. The AB-204AS anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter was the standard compliment in Iranian service.

The USS Zellers was laid down in 1943, though she and the Storm were both modernized before their sale under the Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization II program (FRAM II). They were both still largely obsolete by the end of the 1990s. By 2000 their basic equipment was over 20 years old, as was their fire control, sensors, and similar equipment. What remained of Iran's Standard SAM inventory following the Iran-Iraq War had also aged beyond its normal shelf life by that time. Reports emerged in 1997 that Standard SAMs had been modified as makeshift air-launched anti-ship missiles by Iranian forces, but the type was dropped from inventory soon thereafter and any remaining modified missiles were also likely removed from service.




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