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Boghammar Fast Attack Craft
Torgah Fast Attack Craft
MIG-G-0800 Patrol Craft
MIG-G-0900 Fast Attack Craft

In 1984 Iran ordered an unknown number of High Speed Patrol Boats (HSPB) from the Swedish firm Boghammar Marin. The boat is based on a hull designed by American boat designer Don Aronow. In the 1960s, Tage Boghammar acquired the rights of Don Aronow's hull under the name Boghammar Maltese Magnum. Tage Boghammar, the luxury yacht designer, was famous for designing yachts such as DOLCE VITA. The technical naval architect intellectual property are a creation of Tage Boghammar, who died 16 June 1999. The shipyard was founded in 1907 by the brothers Anders Gustafsson and Reinold Andersson at Klara beach at Kungsholmen in Stockholm. After the city grew, the industrial operations were driven away and the yard moved to Skärsätra on Lidingö in 1916. Initially, the boats were built in wood usually mahogany and pine. After aluminum became available of good quality in the late 1940s, Tage Boghammar began to build boats in that material. It became a winning concept that brought the shipyard up to the leading position when it came to family boats for larger passenger boats.

Motor powered boats are known for high speed and are often referred to as "cigarette boats" due to their slim design and high speed. "Cigarette boats", known for speed, were designed by Don Aronow, a well known boat designer. Aronow brought the 28' Magnum with triple Mercury 1100SS motors to Sweden. He won in Sweden and and eventually became the 1967 World Champion. Lars and Anders Boghammar raced with "Speedy Gonzales" in Viareggio, Italy in July 1967. At the end of the season the triple outboard was sold to Tage Boghammar of Stockholm, Sweden and Don sold Tage the rights to put the 28 into production. In an effort to overcome the disadvantages of the displacement hull, the planing hull was developed which lifts most of the hull out of the water during travel. Ships with this sort of hull travel very rapidly in smooth water. But in waves, these ships are subject to pounding or slamming, so must be driven at lower speeds. One method for improving performance of the planing hull is the deep-V design, which cuts through the waves to reduce pounding.

One of the most popular hulls for a power boat is the "deep-V" hull, the bottom of which comprises essentially a single panel on either side of the center line or keel of the hull extending to the chine. The bottom usually has two stabilizing strips on each side of the keel. However, the deep-V hull requires high horse power for efficient performance, is unstable at low speeds and at rest and, because of deep draft, will not operate in shallow water. The standard V hull requires considerably less power for efficient operation than the "deep-V" and will operate in shallow water. However, it is a notoriously rough rider and has become less popular because of this.

Stepped V-bottoms are faster than conventional V-bottoms. Stepped means that the running surface can have as many as five different planing surfaces created by longitudinal breaks or “steps” in the running surface. Traditionally, there are two different philosophies used to design power boats. The first philosophy is to design the power boat with a planing hull, while the second is to design the power boat with a non-planing or displacement-type hull. Planing hulls use a significant amount of horsepower to lift a large part of the hull up on top of the water, thus reducing the wetted surface area and drag. Because of the reduction in wetted surface area, a planing type hull is typically capable of much higher speeds than a comparable non-planing hull. However, because a large portion of the hull is lifted out of the water, the boat tends to skip or bounce over the top of the waves, resulting in a rough, uncomfortable ride. Non-planing or displacement type hulls on the other hand do not lift out of the water, but instead tend to cut through the water. This results in a smoother ride, however, due to the larger wetted surface area and greater wave drag, displacement type hulls typically are not capable of attaining as high of speeds as planing type hulls.

These boats went on to serve in the last stages of the Iran-Iraq War and the so-called Tanker War in the Persian Gulf. The original models supplied were monohull RL-118 and RL-130-4A types, and were fitted with a wide variety of weapons locally, including large caliber recoilless rifles, unguided rockets, rocket propelled grenades, and machine guns.

Operation Praying Mantis was the largest of five major U.S. Navy surface actions since World War II. The Iranians initially reacted to the American attacks on the oil platform by sending five IRGCN Boghammer speedboats into the southern Arabian Gulf, using machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) to attack any non-Iranian targets they could find. The U.S.-flag oil rig supply ship Willie Tide, the Hong Kong-flag, British-owned tanker York Marine, and the Panamanian-flag oil rig Scan Bay were all damaged by these attacks. Later in the day, VA-95 A-6E Intruder aircraft off USS Enterprise engaged four other IRGCN Boghammers (after being fired upon). The fast boats proved difficult to hit, but a Rockeye cluster bomb on the second pass did the trick, sinking one of the Boghammers and causing the others to flee to Iranian waters. A couple other small Iranian speedboats were also sunk during the course of the day.

Additionally a single type was delivered in 1992 by Boghammar Marin with a small troop landing ramp and the capacity to carry 20 troops. The fate of this craft is unknown. Boghammar Marin was founded as a subsidiary of "Gustafsson & Anderssons Varv AB", founded in 1905. With its 100 years, the company is one of the oldest still operating shipyards in Sweden. It is a family business now run by the third and fourth generation of Boghammar. Since its inception, the shipyard has been involved in the production of vessels / boats of its own design.

In the late sixties, three racing boats were constructed and built, which participated in international offshore competitions. One of the boats won the World Championship title in the class "The fastest diesel boat in the world". With experience from the racing boats, the yard succeeded in exporting high-speed patrol boats to Iran, Ethiopia, Taiwan and the UK during the 1980s. These high speed, long, narrow, specially designed hulls and surface water cutting propellers have excellent seaworthiness with speeds up to 70 knots.

The first Boghammar ships to be exported, was built between 1940 and 1946. Sixteen vessels 20 meters long for Germany and Romania, robust built of wood and steel. With the good reputation for high quality and customized products Boghammar have received from abroad, it had over the years supplied boats and ships to Norway, Denmark, Finland, England, Greece, Turkey, Libya, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, the Philippines, the Maldives, Venezuela, to name a few.

These Swedish craft were ordered in 1983 ostensibly as “customs boats”, upon delivery they were armed and given to the Pasadran (Revolutionary Guard Corps). This force is an independent branch of the Iranian military that answers directly to the religious leadership. It is equipped with ships, tanks, fighter jets, artillery, and most recently missiles. It cooperates with the regular Iranian army, navy, and air force; but operates parallel to them.

The Boghammars are quite useful, being armed with a variety of light weapons; up to 895lbs worth. They are versatile, cheap, fast, easy to man and maintain, and hard to hit. They are homeported at Pasadran stations at Farsi, Sirri, Abu Musa island, and Bandar-Abbas. They can also operate from oil rigs in the Gulf, and can be shuttled around by Hengam class LSTs.

The Torgah class is slightly larger and is being built in Iran to replace the Boghammars as they wear out. They are powered by Seatek diesels. Starting in 1996, theBoghammars also began to be re-engined with Seateks.

The term boghammar, sometimes spelled mis-boghammer, has also come to mean an improvised naval fighting vessel, typically used by a local irregular military forces. Boghammars were the scourge of shipping in the Gulf during the 1980s, attacking everything from small dhows to huge tankers, the largest being the Japanese 258,000 ton supertanker Shuho Maru. The Pasadran crews showed no regard for the nationality of the target vessels; attacking the Soviet freighter Ivan Korotoyev and the American tanker MV Patriot in 1987.

As the eight-year Iran-Iraq conflict stalemated, the countries began preying on each other’s oil industries. Iran also began attacking shipping by Iraq’s chief financial supporters, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Many early Iranian attacks were by fixed wing and helicopter, but spare parts shortages and operational losses virtually eliminated any credible air threat, forcing a change in strategy.

Small boats, a combination of fast Swedish-built Boghammers and Boston Whaler-type craft manned by Revolutionary Guards, roamed the sealanes attacking shipping in September 1986. Armed with 107mm rockets, RPG–7s, and machine guns, this mosquito fleet rarely sank a ship but could inflict serious damage on tankers or their crews. Their favorite tactic was to approach a target, swarm around it, then rake its bridge and superstructure with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades. Some 43 attacks included the sinking of the 42,000- ton bulk carrier Norman Atlantic. Mines, in conjunction with sea raids, added another deadly threat.

Kuwait formally inquired about reflagging its oil tankers under the Stars and Stripes on 23 December 1987. Three months later the United States agreed to place 11 tankers under American registry and provide them with armed protection from Iranian attack. American warships were not designed or equipped to deal with the combination of small boat attacks and mines employed by the Iranians.

A number were sunk by Iraqi aircraft, but the type’s most memorable battles were against US forces. In October 1987, a number were sunk by US Navy A-6E Intruders with CBU-59 cluster bombs. US Army MH-6 special forces helicopters flying off the chartered civilian barges Hercules and Wimbrown 7 attacked more of the type, sinking a number with cannon fire and unguided rockets. One of these was raised and examined by US forces.

A number of Iran's boats were said to have been lost in combat, including a number in engagements with US forces. By 1991 a number had been refitted with Seatek diesel engines, these boats being referred to as Torgah. In 1992 a number were also returned to Sweden for refit.

The term has been broadly applied since, with many boats in Iranian service of similar configuration (that is high speed monohull or catamaran types fitted as fast attack craft) being termed "Boghammar," regardless of their origin. The deployment of the origin Boghammar boats into the Persian Gulf during the Tanker War and subsequent interaction with foreign navies led to the term becoming a catch-all in international lexicon for this type of craft, again regardless of origin.

As of 2008 the boats best described fitting this description were made by Iran's Maritime Industries Group (a division of the state run Defense Industries Organization). MIG produces boats of both monohull and catamaran style. The most common types of craft are the MIG-G-0800 "Boston Whaler" and MIG-G-0900, primarily used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy. These boats are equipped for special operations and light strike mission, and have widely variable weapons configurations, the most notable being the fitting of a 107mm multiple rocket launcher on top of the bridge. The exact model of these boats is unknown, a wide variety of other types appeared to be in service with Iranian military and law enforcement units.

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Page last modified: 18-07-2019 16:02:11 ZULU