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Shaheed Rodaki "All-Purpose Heavy Warship"

The "All-Purpose Heavy Warship" Shaheed Rodaki was added to the fleet of the Revolutionary Forces 19 November 2020. the ceremony of joining the ocean liner of Shahid Roudaki to the IRGC navy was held in the presence of Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC, and a group of military and national officials. With the joining of this heavy vessel to the capabilities of the IRGC navy, the mission of IRGC sailors for a powerful presence in distant waters began today.

The warship was named Shaheed Rodaki / Shahid Roudaki / Shahid Rodegi after the former IRGC commander of the Navy, Admiral Abdollah Roudaki, who was killed in Lebanon.

Shahid Roudaki is a heavy, multi-purpose and long-range vessel that is capable of carrying and operating all types of aircraft, UAVs and missile, defense and radar systems. The ship is variously reported to have a tonnage of 4,000 or 12,000 tons [not clear whether this is light or full, and not clear whether this is DWT or GRT], while less plausible reports of 400 tons and 40,000 tons are encountered. In any event, the new vessel dwarfs the IRGC navy fleet, which largely consists of speedboats. This ship with a length of about 150 meters [about 500 feet] and a beam of 22 meters, has a three-dimensional array radar, and is capable of carrying helicopters, drones and operational vessels.

It was displayed carrying surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles, highly advanced integrated combat systems and the 3rd of Khordad missile, but these were deck cargo rather than installed systems. All of them are of domestic production and have been designed and operated by the revolutionary young expert believers. During the unveiling of the container ship, a number of speedboats, reconnaissance and suicide UAVs, a 3rd Khordad defense system and a Bell 412in helicopter, as well as several anti-ship missile launchers and radar aimed at them, were on board. The way these devices were placed, as well as the lack of safety issues in restraining them, were all ridiculed by many military experts and even ordinary viewers. Contrary to assertions that the vessel is of domestic origin, clearly the ship was purchased recently on the international second hand ship market for about $2,000,000. About the only thing of Iranian origin in the ship is the coat of grey paint, which replaced the distinctive bright yellow that the ship sported when in commercial service. Paints and coatings are applied on the exterior of the hull to not only to give them a new look, but also to protect them from blistering summers, freezing winters, soaking rain, and the daily bombardment of UV radiation without fading, peeling away, and cracking. The Iran paints and coatings market is partially consolidated in nature with only few major players dominating the market. Some of the major companies are Jotun, Rangsazi Iran, Ranguin Co. , Pars Pamchal Co. and Kansai paint Co. Ltd among others. Acrylic resins have properties, such as transparency, high color ability, and UV resistance, in coating solutions. They are used in water-borne systems very often, which result in low VOC emission.

Jeremy Binnie, Middle East & Africa editor for Jane's Defence Weekly, observed that the IRGCN's new transport/base ship is almost certainly Galaxy F, a ro-ro built in Italy in 1992 and recently put on sale for $2.75 million. Maretec Shipbrokers specializes in international ship sale and purchase of second-hand tonnages. "RO 361", a Roro vessel built in 1992 in Italy, was 150 x 21,60 m. Wartsila, 6690 Bhp. RINA class, Next Special Survey 11/2020. 1200 Lane meter, 91 Trailers, 528 TEU container. Iran turned the civilian Ro-Ro ship into a "multi-general purpose" ship for military use. Tweeting as Barbarossa, one author quipped "Unable to decide what to put on it, Iran, like the new bride, lined up all her dowry on the ship.:)"

It is too easy to disparage Iran along these lines. The United Kingdom and the United States have both studied [the UK Royal Navy] and implemented [US Navy] projects that entailed the purchase of existing commercial ships for conversion to military missions, though on a rather larger scale.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Navy is very un-American, at least in terms of ship classification. Even the US Navy is inconsistent in warship classification, as when the term "Frigate" was migrated from a large 8,000 ton nuclear powered warship to a small 4,000 ton ASW escort ship. Ship classification is both a matter of physical configuration and operational employment. In terms of physical configuration, the Shaheed Rodaki is possibly best described as a medium sized Ro/Ro [Roll-on / Roll off] vehicle ferry. Iranian sources reference the ship as an "All-Purpose Heavy Warship", with emphasis given to support of aviation assets such as UAVs and helicopters.

The nearest US Navy counterpart appears to be the Montford Point-Class T-ESB Expeditionary Sea Base. This is consistent with IRGC unconventional warfare operations. The closest counterpart in size and concept is probably the Royal Navy's projected Littoral Strike Ship concept of 2019, which turned out to be vaporware.

For a typical Ro/Ro of these dimensions and displacement, the rear main ramp would have a width of 7 meters and total length of 18 meters to allow for uncertainty in the draft and port dock height. The rear ramp would typically come in two sections that can be folded against the ship. This is the configuration of the ramp assuming the ship docks along side the wharf. But the rear ramp on the Shaheed Rodaki is rather different. The width of the ramp is a significant fraction of the 22 meter beam of the ship, probably about 15 meters wide, about 20 meters long, with a 5 meter foldable extension. The ramp appears configured for the ship to dock stern first. The main rear ramp appears capable of handling both heavy machinery lighter vehicle traffic. Alternatively, the ramp might be lowered directly into the water, providing a "steel beach" from which smaller boats or hovercraft could be discharged and recovered. The rudder of the ship is clearly visible towards the stern, so direct discharge of troops and equipment onto the beach is improbable.

More generally, this new Iranian ship might be considered as an outsized Landing Ship Tank [LST = large slow target]. Planning for amphibious operations in the European and Pacific theaters identified the need for specialized ships and landing craft to load and unload military cargo on unprepared beaches. Initial designs called for an amphibious ocean going ship that would carry 20 tanks and their crews directly on to the beach and then extract itself under its own power. The ship would be 328 feet long, 50 feet wide, displaced 3,880 tons with an endurance of 12,000 nm at 10kts. The LST design proved to be adaptable to the many needs of military operations. LSTs were converted into various types of repair ships and tenders, hospital ships and a scout plane carrier. The most recent incarnation of such a concept is the emerging Light Amphibious Warship (LAW) program.

WWII motivated the development of this type of ships for the landing of military equipment After the war many of those military ships were converted for operation as merchant ships, such as the LST (Landing Ship Tank). The use of the RO/RO concept in merchant ships started in the late 1940s, early 1950s, mainly in short-sea routes.

Ro/Ro vessels are suitable for cargo which can be driven on/off the ship such as cars, lorries and cargo on trailers. Ro/Ro are usually ferries and the two important measures indicating the size of Ro/Ro are the length of the marked parking lanes and the size of the entrance ramp. The vessel appears to have parking lanes on the weather deck, as well as parking on a lower deck, to the total capacity it twice what is evident topside. Parking space requirements are typically about 5 meters for small vehicles and up to 15 meters for larger vehicles. For road trailers, semi-trailers and roll trailers the width of the lane is typically 2.90 meters. For ships up to about 15000 tons DWT, 2 decks are most common. The locations of ramps between decks is evident in the sloped structures forward of the superstructure, to enable vehicles to be transferred on and off of the vessel efficiently.

The Shahid Roudaki heavy combat, intelligence and support ship is a mobile naval city that is ready to carry out ocean missions with all the necessary equipment and facilities by creating stable security of maritime transportation lines and providing relief to the commercial and fishing fleets of the Islamic Republic and regional countries. The vessel is equipped with an advanced Iranian-made air defense system of the Som Khardad type.

On Thursday (19 November 2020) the annexation of Shahid Roudaki ocean liner to the IRGC navy, which has different capabilities in order to enable the IRGC navy and defend the waters and interests of Islamic Iran, is considered by the media.

  • Iranian Revolutionary Guard Added warships that can carry aircraft Missile launchers and drones enter their fleet. On Thursday (19 Nov 2020)
  • Arabic Region CRT News Agency It is written referring to the capabilities of this heavy carrier: The Iranian Revolutionary Guard has added the warship Shaheed Rodaki to the fleet of the Revolutionary Forces in the waters of the Persian Gulf. This warship has the ability to carry aircraft. Missile launcher And drones of all kinds and enable IRGC to appear in the most distant waters.
  • Sputnik Arabic Region It also published videos and pictures of the ship and wrote: The Iranian Army opened a mobile city in the sea. With an arsenal of weapons capable of performing missions in the ocean and in distant waters
  • Sputnik Arabic Region News Agency Referring to the history of the ship and wrote: Today the Iranian Navy IRGC launched an aircraft carrier warship. Which is designed and produced in the country That can carry various types of aircraft Drones and missile defense systems
  • Lebanon's Al-Nashrah news agency pointed to the launch of the warship, quoting Iran's Defense Minister said The Persian Gulf is Iran's strong front line against its enemies.
  • Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed also wrote on this subject: Due to the ongoing tensions between Iran and the United States. The Iranian Revolutionary Forces launched a versatile heavy-duty warship. On thursday (19 November), which can carry missiles and drones. And able to perform missions in the ocean
  • "Iran is looking for a naval presence beyond the Persian Gulf with a new ship," Bloomberg reported. "Iran has said it has used a new warship capable of carrying helicopters, drones and missiles on deck." And sends the message that it seeks to expand its influence beyond the Persian Gulf.
  • In addition, referring to the ship's numerous capabilities, including being equipped with surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles, state-of-the-art electronic warfare systems, and the June 3 missile system, the Xinhua News Agency wrote: According to a statement from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Shahid Roudaki ship has all the necessary equipment and facilities to ensure the sustainable security of maritime transport and to assist commercial and fishing vessels.
  • The Associated Press also delivered the advanced ship to the IRGC Navy, with the headline "Iranian Revolutionary Guard launches aircraft carrier": The Iranian Revolutionary Guards announced on Thursday that a heavy warship was in the midst of continuing tensions with the United States. With the ability to carry helicopters, UAVs and missiles, it has used various missiles in the Persian Gulf.
  • Other sources of interest to Iran's military achievement included the Zionist newspaper Haaretz, the China Daily, the New Delhi Times, and the Economic Times.

Prior to its delivery to the IRGC, except for minor repairs at the Izoico facility, it was only painted gray and the number Al 110-1 and the name of Martyr Roudaki were recorded on it. The use of the English letter "A" at the beginning of the ship's number indicates that its role in the IRGC Navy is to perform the mission as an "amphibious" vessel called the "Landing Craft". This means that the ship is equipped with loading at the end of the hull and also has sloping platforms for mounting and rapid unloading of vehicles and armored equipment, in order to carry out amphibious missions and send troops to the shores during any Military battle.

The wide deck of the ship and length of about 150 meters of Shahid Roudaki, allows the IRGC navy to load at least 50 armored personnel carriers and tanks, making it the largest amphibious ship. Prior to the arrival of the "Shahid Roudaki" ship in the service of the IRGC Navy, this force had six small Karbala-class landing craft built by the Shahid Darvish Marine Industries of the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Support in Bandar Abbas with a capacity of up to four BMP-2 amphibious trucks. Or it had three main tanks on the T-72M1 battlefield, and these were the main amphibious vessels of the IRGC navy. In addition, the force used three Hormoz-24 class landing craft made in South Korea in 1363-64 and purchased in the early 1370s.

During the ceremony of joining the Shahid Roudaki ship to the IRGC navy, Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, the commander of the IRGC navy, introduced this small container ship as an ocean-going ship. IRGC Commander-in-Chief General Hossein Salami also claimed that the ship was equipped for close combat in the distance and long-distance combat in the high seas. IRGC-affiliated media outlets, including Tasnim, described the small vessel as a mobile naval city equipped with three-dimensional fuzzy array radar, claiming that the ship, while equipped with surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, has the capability of combat drones.

Examining the images and videos published by the public relations of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Radio of the Islamic Republic of Iran, no fuzzy array radar was seen on it, but on its deck were four speedboats on wheeled floors, four dual launchers for eight missiles. Light and capable anti-ship, a mobile radar device for detecting and targeting surface (naval) targets, a launcher of the third defense system, equipped with three surface-to-air missiles by Sayad SD2C and six Ababil 2T suicide drones without even a single launcher. They and an American Bell 412-hp all-purpose helicopter were spotted.

If the IRGC navy really intended to send this cargo ship on combat missions, the 3rd Khordad defense system parked on its deck, which even lacks early warning radar, will definitely not be able to counter enemy aircraft, helicopters and drones. Even if such a capability existed, after firing only three missiles by this system, it would no longer be able to counter the targets. To defend the ship against radar and television guided anti-ship missiles, as well as cruise missiles and point bombs, no short-range air defense system, including high-range anti-aircraft artillery and short-range surface-to-air missiles, is based on it. There are no deceptive radar launchers and electronic warfare systems to deflect and deceive enemy anti-ship missiles.

What is clear is that the main role for this dilapidated ship in the IRGC navy is to transport equipment and armored vehicles and transport them to shallow, near-land areas for invasion or coastal defense operations, but given the civilian nature. The ship, and the fact that there is no means of transporting loaded equipment and armored vehicles between the upper and lower floors, there are many restrictions on the movement of weapons that would be troublesome in wartime; Therefore, this ship is more suitable for carrying military equipment and heavy weapons of the IRGC between the Persian Gulf islands and the bases of this force in Bandar Abbas and Bushehr, to play the role of a landing craft on the battlefield.

The landing site of the helicopter on the deck of this vessel is quite small, non-standard and unsafe, and it can cause an accident in stormy conditions or if the ship moves during the landing of the helicopter. Small runways for helicopters on military ships are mostly at the rear, with no other equipment; However, in addition to the helicopter landing strip in front of the vessel, around the landing site, all kinds of equipment can be seen on the ground and at a very short distance from the runway behind the runway, which in case of landing Helicopters on deck while the ship is moving or in stormy conditions can cause the locust to hit them and cause an accident.

At the site of the helicopter landing deck, ground clamps are also not seen to restrain the helicopter landing skids to the deck to prevent the helicopter from being thrown into the sea after landing in stormy conditions due to strong ship shaking or strong winds. Also, this deck does not have any landing lights on its sides and it is not possible to land Bell 412 IP helicopters of the IRGC on them at night.

According to a statement from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Roudaki will increase the security of Iran's maritime transport lines. The intended operating theater for this vessel is unclear. Operating as a "mother ship" for IRGC commando teams in the Persian Gulf and adjacent waters seems unlikely, since these waters are relatively narrow and IRGCN shore-side accommodations so abundant. Iran's political and military interests are regional, not global, so there would seem little prospect for this ship showing up in Venezuelan waters. It would be ideally suited to supporting IRGC commando operations in areas such as Yemen, Lebanon and Syria. Initially, as of late 2020, there were no indications of additional units, but the construction of this vessel is quite simple and relatively inexpensive, so further units would not be a great surprise. Time will tell.

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Page last modified: 20-05-2022 17:50:45 ZULU