Video: Iran Launches Ballistic Missile From the Deck of a Container Ship

Ballistic missile launch
Courtesy IRGC

Published Feb 13, 2024 4:14 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Iranian military claims to have launched a large ballistic missile from a militarized container ship, giving it a mobile platform with which to launch attacks. 

Iran's Tasnim news agency published a video of the launch and described the munition as a "long range" ballistic missile. The device deployed from a 40-foot container, giving analysts a sense of its maximum length. Open-source intelligence analysts have identified it as a Dezful medium-range ballistic missile, which has a claimed range of about 600 miles at a speed of Mach 7. 

According to Tasnim, the missile successfully hit a target site on a range in the Iranian central desert. 

"Nowhere is safe for those powers who seek to threaten our security," IRGC commander Hossein Salami said in a statement.  

The launch vessel is likely the Shahid Mahdavi, a former Panamax container ship repainted in haze gray and converted to military use in 2023. It is operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a separate branch of the Iranian military and a U.S.-designated terrorist group.

Shahid Mahdavi under conversion (Iranian social media) 

The Dezful is a surface-to-surface weapon, but Iran has also developed anti-ship ballistic missile technology and shared it with Yemen's Houthi militants. The Houthi militia has launched more than a dozen anti-ship ballistic missiles at targets in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea, damaging at least three vessels since November. It is the first time that this class of munitions has ever been used in a hostile engagement.