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December 31, 2018 11:54 am

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Plan to Upgrade Speed Boats With Stealth Technology

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

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IRGC speed boats are seen near the USS John C. Stennis CVN-74 (not pictured) as it makes its way through the Strait of Hormuz, Dec. 21, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Hamad I Mohammed.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on Monday it planned to upgrade its speed boats in the Gulf with radar-evading stealth technology and new missile launchers as tensions rise between Tehran and Washington in the vital oil shipping route.

Ending a long absence of US aircraft carriers in the region, the USS John C. Stennis entered the Gulf last week, and was shadowed by the IRGC’s speed boats.

There have been periodic confrontations between the Revolutionary Guard vessels and US military in the Gulf, although the number of incidents has dropped in recent months.

“We are trying to increase the agility of the Guards’ speed boats and equip them with stealth technology to facilitate their operations,” Alireza Tangsiri, the IRGC’s navy chief, was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

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Tangsiri also said the speed boats will be equipped with new missiles, and their speed will reach 80 knots per hour.

He did not elaborate on whether Iran had already mastered these technologies or if they were still in the study phase.

Iran says it has been developing its own stealth technology for fighter jets and vessels, but the prototypes it has unveiled in recent years have mostly been met with derision by defense experts.

The IRGC last week launched war games in the Gulf, where third of the world’s sea-borne oil passes through, and warned that its forces were ready to respond to any hostile US action.

A US-Iranian war of words has escalated since US President Donald Trump took Washington out of a world powers’ nuclear deal with Iran in May, and reimposed sanctions on its banking and energy sectors.

Iran has warned that if it cannot sell its oil due to US pressure, then no other regional country will be allowed to do so either, threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf.

The IRGC’s naval arm lacks a strong conventional fleet. However, it has many speed boats and portable anti-ship missile launchers, and can lay mines.

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