Iran prepares launch of “drone carrier”

The recent US/UK attacks on Houthi land-based launch facitilites and military warehouses has had an impact on the flow of materiel into Yemen and on the number of drones that it has been able to launch in attacks on vessels in the Red Sea. Recent air attacks have tended to be from missiles rather than drones. Economically these are less efficient for the Houthis.

Iran however appears to be developing a dagerous alternative. It is preparing to launch its first drone carrier, a converted 3,280 teu container ship now called the Shahid Bagheri (formerly Sarvin, IMO 9209348). There are fears that an at-sea drone carrier could pose a major threat to commercial vessels in the Arabian Sea

The Shahid Bagheri was delivered from Hyundai Heavy Industries in 2000. The conversion has been undertaken at the ISOICO shipyard west of Bandar Abbas.

The reconfigured vessel now has a wider deck and about 170 metres of runway, which will be able to accommodate the departure and landing of a large fleet of fixed-wing long-range drones.

Iran’s Fars news agency called the Shadid Bagheri a “mobile naval city” thhat would ensure the security of Iran’s trade lines, “as well as the rights of Iranian sailors and fishermen in the high seas.”

While it would be unlikely that the vessel would be involved in the current Red Sea situation, its presence in the Arabian Sea between Iran and India would be a major danger for international shipping.

2000-built, Iran-flagged, 36,014 gt Sarvin is owned by Oghiaanous Khoroushan Shipping care of manager ahbaran Omid Darya Ship Management Co of Tehran, Iran.