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Tondar hovercraft

Iran on 12 November 2012 unveiled a highly advanced home-made hovercraft which can launch missiles and serve as launch pad for drones. The vessel was unveiled in a ceremony attended by the Iranian Defense Minister, Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi. The newly unveiled hovercraft has been designed and developed by Iranian experts in two models for combat and transportation missions and the combat model, called 'Tondar" (Thunderbolt), was unveiled by Vahidi.

Addressing the ceremony, Vahidi said that Tondar can be equipped with different types of weapons produced by the Iranian defense industries, including rockets, guns and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The minister said that Tondar can be used for "coastal patrolling, as a command vessel, offensive reconnaissance operations, mid-range amphibious missions, asymmetric defense, as a personnel and equipment carrier for logistical support for islands and coastal areas or as a sea ambulance for relief and rescue missions". He further added that the new hovercraft will increase the combat and reconnaissance capabilities as well as the mobility of the Iranian Armed Forces.

The Iranian Armed Forces had recently test-fired different types of newly-developed missiles and torpedoes and tested a large number of home-made weapons, tools and equipments, including submarines, military ships, artillery, choppers, aircrafts, UAVs and air defense and electronic systems, during massive military drills. Defense analysts and military observers say that Iran's wargames and its advancements in weapons production had proved as a deterrent factor, specially at a time of heightened threats by the US.

The Shah's Navy is known to have operated several of the SR.N6 (Saunders-Roe Nautical 6), or Winchester Class hovercraft, was a stretched version of the SR.N5. SR.N 6 ‘Winchester’ is the military variant of the widely-used SR.N6 fast ferry. It can be used in the logistics role over swampy terrain or as here, as a fast coastal patrol craft’ It was the first production hovercraft to be used in commercial service. It is powered by one Rolls-Royce Gnome engine used for both lift and propulsion.

The increase in the length of the SR.N6 allowed it to accommodate 38 passengers instead of 18 on the SR.N5. It was later extended to accommodate another 20 passengers. As a result, SR.N6 commercial operations are much more viable than any previous hovercraft design. Subsequently, increasing the 58-seat capacity, the Mk.1S became the first hovercraft capable of carrying a significant number of people. At The Hovercraft Museum, there are three different examples of the SR.N6 craft including the original prototype (009) operated by Hovertravel in the Solent, a military landing craft variant and a stretched “Twin Prop” (Super 6) variant that is the oldest operational hovercraft in the world.

The military logistic support SR.N6 Mk 2 and SR.N6 Mk 3 variants feature a roof loading hatch and speciality strengthened side decks for long loads weighing up to 0.5 ton; a roof-mounted armament of one7.62- or 12.7-mm (0,3' or 0.5-in) machine-gun is carried for defensive purposes. The maximum payload is increased to 5 tons of supplies or between 20 and 30 fully armed troops, Only the Egyptian (two Mk 2s) and Iranian (two Mk 2s) navies have this type in service.

It appeared from the single photograph associated with the initial reporting that the Tondar was a unit of the BH.7 Wellington Class, an identification evident from the overall configuration, and details down to the paint scheme. Whether the "Tondar" is just a new variant on the Wellington, and whether the Fars news agency simply used a photograph of the Wellington in the absence of a readily available Tondar photograph was unclear. But other video coverage of the Tondar clarified that the "Tondar" hovercraft was not a Wellington, but in fact reactivated Winchester class craft.

BH.7 Wellington Class Tondar hovercraft

SRN6 Winchester hovercraft Tondar hovercraft Tondar hovercraft Tondar hovercraft Tondar hovercraft

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Page last modified: 21-06-2019 18:57:43 ZULU