Iran's State TV has reported that "an ultra-modern hydroplane of domestic design has been successfully tested". Russian "Interfax" news agency writes that it is one-seat aircraft with a delta-wing capable of flying at the height of several dozen meters above water surface.
Iranian on-line media cite an anonymous high-ranking army official saying that the apparatus is invisible for radars and has already been produced in batches, which may be called mass production. According to the official, it would heighten Iran's military capabilities.
Meanwhile Iran's large-scale war games are coming to a close in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. They began last week with the launching of a "Shahab-2" ballistic missile, with a range of 500 km (the first "invisible" missile). The exercise, which was broadcast near-live all over the world, featured the total of 17,000 servicemen, several formations of warships of various types, and fighter and bomber aircraft. The exercise zone is located within 40 km offshore, extending from the northern-most point of the Iranian coast of the Persian Gulf to the port of Chahbehar in the Gulf of Oman.
As has previously been reported, another "remarkable" launch has been made in the course of the war game. Iranian media have given wide coverage to a successful test of a new navy weapon - a super-high-speed torpedo. According to the information supplied, the torpedo is capable of speeding up to 360 km/hr. The Iranians claim it to be the speediest underwater weapon in the world.
Our news agency has immediately called that statement in question. A military expert told "Inforos" that the performance characteristics of the Iranian naval "super-weapon" practically coincide with those of the Russian-made high-speed underwater missile "Shkval-E". Since as far back as the 1970s this missile, along with the "Mosquito" anti-warship missiles, has been the main scare of the US and NATO navies. "Shkval" is designed to neutralize above-water targets. It is part of the armaments assigned to a surface ship, a submarine or a stationary on-shore emplacement. It is this missile that Iran's new super-weapon reminds one of.
Yesterday designer of "Shkval" Yury Fadeyev made a very disturbing supposition. He pointed out that the torpedo had been produced at the Kirov Plant in Kazakhstan and at a plant in the town of Prjevalsk in Kirghizia, and said: "We cannot rule out the possibility that during the general confusion after the collapse of the USSR some part of the documentation was left in Kirghizia, from where it got to China, and finally to Iran". The designer is convinced that in such a short span of time neither China nor Iran could have developed and manufactured, on their own, a torpedo with such performance characteristics as indicated by Iran's military officials.
Nonetheless, the latest propaganda launches have already been recognized in the West as a clear demonstration of Iran's military power. It all is taking place against the background of the aggravation of tension caused by Iran's unwillingness to end uranium enrichment. Meanwhile, US and British naval formations deployed in the Persian Gulf zone have already been on increased alert for four days.