In his latest piece, Wall Street Greek Global Affairs Columnist Daniel Padovano reviews Iran's latest asymmetrical warfare mechanism, the Bavar-2, Iran's flying boat. Three small squadrons of these pesky crafts threaten to disrupt the Strait of Hormuz should conflict erupt between Iran and its foes.
Daniel Padovano is an accredited historian and professor, with specialty in modern Middle Eastern and North American affairs. He is a regular columnist of the globally syndicated blog, Wall Street Greek, and has composed a series of articles for the publication on the topic of Iran.
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Bavar-2: Iran's Flying Boat
At the close of Iran's "Week of Sacred Defense" on September 28, 2010, commemorating the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, Iran showcased its newest weapon, the Bavar-2. The Bavar-2 is a domestically produced fixed wing flying boat.
Iran's Defense Minister, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said that:
"The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the few countries which managed to design, build and use flying boats in a short time".
The concept of flying boats is not new; the Soviet Union embarked on such an undertaking back in the 1980's. The image above illustrates advanced Russian efforts on WIG Boats (Wing-in-Ground effect - also know as WISE or Wing in Surface Effect Ship).
Iran's flying boat, the Bavar-2 (Bavar is translated as Defiance), is a small two-man reconnaissance boat designed to fly at low altitudes. The Bavar-2 has an estimated top speed of 100 knots. The Bavar-2 is equipped with cameras and at least one machine gun. Future plans call for the addition of a second machine gun and possibly small missiles.
Iran claims that the Bavar-2 has stealth capability; however this has not been independently confirmed. If true, this new weapon system could greatly enhance Iran's military capability in the Persian Gulf. Stealth capability is questionable because of the loud sound of the overhead propeller. This protrusion also adds squares and angles to an otherwise sleek and curved profile which enhances stealth capabilities.
As a strategic weapon, the Bavar-2's value is an unproven quantity; however it is an example of asymmetric warfare (where one side uses low technology to offset an adversary's superior technical advantages).
On its own, the Bavar-2 will allow Iran to more closely and rapidly assess and know ship position and movements throughout the Gulf, and its own coastal areas. The Bavar-2 has the capability to harass vessels, but would stand little chance against a military or armed civilian ship if engaged in combat under its present configuration.
The true value of the Bavar-2 is that of a decoy vessel. Reconnoitering or "buzzing" civilian or military vessels would distract coalition or U.S. naval patrols. Buzzing ships can confuse and potentially overwhelm the target's observational and defensive capabilities, thereby allowing other elements of Iran's military to engage in more strategic operations. These other strategic operations could include mining and closing the Straits of Hormuz, or attacking targets of greater value and worth. The potential use of these flying boats as a kamikaze-type weapon cannot be underestimated, especially in a narrow waterway as the Straits of Hormuz.
According to press releases, three squadrons of these flying boats have been fielded and are under the command of the Islamic Republican Guard Corps (IRGC). They are currently based in Bandar Abbas, conveniently near the Straits of Hormuz.
Article Interests WisdomTree Middle East Dividend Fund (Nasdaq: GULF), T. Rowe Price Africa & Middle East Fund (Nasdaq: TRAMX), T. Rowe Price Institutional Africa & Middle East Fund (Nasdaq: TRIAX), Aberdeen Israel Fund (NYSE: ISL), Aberdeen Israel Fund (Nasdaq: XISLX), Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC), Raytheon (NYSE: RTN), Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK), Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Boeing (NYSE: BA), NYSE: IWM, NYSE: TWM, NYSE: IWD, Honeywell (NYSE: HON), General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL), Goodrich (NYSE: GR), L-3 Communications (NYSE: LLL), SAIC (NYSE: SAI), FLIR Systems (Nasdaq: FLIR), EMBRAER (NYSE: ERJ), Spirit Aerosystems (NYSE: SPR), BE Aerospace (Nasdaq: BEAV), TransDigm Group (NYSE: TDG), CAE (NYSE: CAE), Hexcel (NYSE: HXL), Esterline Technologies (NYSE: ESL), Teledyne Technologies (NYSE: TDY), Curtiss-Wright (NYSE: CW), HEICO (NYSE: HEI), Triumph Group (NYSE: TGI), Orbital Sciences (NYSE: ORB), AAR Corp. (NYSE: AIR), Kaman Corp. (Nasdaq: KAMN), AeroVironment (Nasdaq: AVAV), Smith & Wesson (Nasdaq: SWHC), DigitalGlobe (NYSE: DGI), GenCorp (NYSE: GY), Hawk (AMEX: HWK), LMI Aerospace (Nasdaq: LMIA), Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), BP (NYSE: BP), Chevron (NYSE: CVX), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), Encana (NYSE: ECA), Eni SpA (NYSE: E), Enterprise GP Holding (NYSE: EPE), Petrobras (NYSE: PZE), PetroChina (NYSE: PTR), Repsol YPF SA (NYSE: REP), Total SA (NYSE: TOT), Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) and Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB).
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