TDC Security Alert: Video of Iranians Laying Mines

In 2006 the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) conducted naval exercises dubbed Holy Prophet 2nd Exercise. It has been brought to the attention of Tactical Defense concepts personnel that YouTube has posted videos depicting portions of those exercises. The first video show the IRGCN's maneuvers to project mines with what appears to be rocket tubes and also small boats laying small moored contact mines. The second video are shots of what appears to be a silkworm anti-ship missile being launched.

These videos, by themselves, make interesting viewing for those transiting the area. More importantly, they can serve as awareness training for ships and crews. Mariners observing such activity are encouraged to report IRGCN activities to naval authorities.

To watch the videos, go to YouTube.com and put “IRGCN” in the search engine. The videos make for interesting conversation and give some insight into IRGCN capabilities.

• TDC Analysis:

It is no secret the Iranians have threatened to disrupt trafic through the Strait of Hormuz (SOH) in the event of an armed conflict with the U.S. Their plan is to use a combination of mines, submarines, anti-ship missiles, torpedo and missile boats, air attacks, small heavily armed attack craft operating in groups and suicide craft. Much of their weaponry has been acquired from a multitude of sources including Russian, Chinese, North Korean, European and Iranian produced naval weapons systems.

The Iranians have been exercising their Regular Navy and IRGCN forces in the SOH for many years but have dramatically increased their efforts and capabilities since the early nineties with the purchase and introduction of improved technology including missile and torpedo boats, small high speed craft, submarines, mines, shore launched anti-ship missiles and other advanced naval weapons systems.

The laying of covert minefields shown in the first video was a tactic used by the Iranians in the 80's during the "Tanker War" where covered minefields were laid throughout the Persian Gulf region including ship channels in Kuwait, Bahrain, the Northern and Southern Gulf and in the Gulf of Oman. The most infamous incidents include mine strikes on the S/T Bridgeton (1987) and the USS Roberts (1988) although numerous other vessels were damaged or destroyed. In 1987, the U.S. Navy successfully countered the mining of Bahrain Bell with the interdiction of the “Iran Ajr,” a small amphibious ship. The mines in the video appear to be small, moored contact mines for use in shallower depths.

The second video shows the launch of a shore launched anti-ship missile from a mobile truck transporter. It also includes video of small armed craft working with a missile boat. The larger shore launched missile appears to be of the Chinese Silkworm variety older technology but still effective against unprotected targets. The S/T Sea Isle City was hit by an Iranian Silkworm in 1987 while enroute to Kuwait. The missile blew a large hole in the house and severely injured several crewman, including the Master.

It is beyond our capability to offer analysis as to the Iranian capability versus the abilities of U.S. and Coalition Naval assets to counter it. The Iranians have however shown their intent and willingness to build a capability to disrupt commercial and Naval traffic in the SOH and the Persian Gulf. Where events take us next is anyone's guess.

TDC Reference: 1355 / 20070727

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