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Iran's Stealth Advances: The Iranian 'Flying Boat' Marks Latest

Conventional military advancements continue to be announced in Iran’s latest military exercise in the Persian Gulf, Great Prophet. After several announcements of missile and torpedo test launches comes Iran’s report of what the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps calling their ‘flying boat’. Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting showed the ‘flying boat’ flying at low altitude and maneuvering in water and said that it was domestically produced in Iran.

Flying Boat It follows a common thread along with the rest of Iran’s new hardware announcements: Stealthy technology. This is the true value of the conventional advances announced by Iran in the Great Prophet maneuvers in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman, not any claimed MIRV development that Iran cannot arm or even the speed of the 328-feet-per-second Hoot torpedo, by contrast a very real threat to traffic in the Strait of Hormuz. The source of the stealthy technology is without doubt our friends in China and Russia.

Last week, it was noted that there was no word from NORAD nor the US Military in-theater of a ‘ballistic’ missile launch detection in Iran. Today, we get that word. The Pentagon is saying now that Iran tested an older version of the Scud missile family last week and not any new ICBM development. What was launched in last week’s much publicized Iranian media event was, in fact, a Shahab-2 with a range of 310 miles. The Shahab-2 is the Iranian designation for the Scud-C variant of the Russian design.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman seems to echo sentiments expressed in this space since last week saying, “It is possible they are increasing their capabilities and making strides in radar-absorbing material and targeting. However, the Iranians have been known to boast and exaggerate their statements about greater technical and tactical capabilities.”

A senior Russian Minister of Parliament criticized Iran’s very public displays in their current wargaming maneuvers, calling them inappropriate. Minister Konstantin Kosachyov, the chairman of the Russian State Duma International Affairs Committee, also cast doubt on the wild (and vague) claims made by the Iranians regarding last week’s missile test announcement. “So far we have nothing except the assertion by the Iranian military and by politicians that it is superior to other similar missiles, but I see no reason to believe these statements.”

The development of stealthy technology is not insignificant. However, Iran’s greatest development is and was their creation, development and support of Hezbollah, and the terrorism and terrorist groups Hezbollah aids, trains, funds and arms. Aside from military attacks on shipping in the Straits of Hormuz, the only effective attack arm Iran possesses against the United States is that of Hezbollah and other terrorist groups carrying out attacks in the region and throughout the world.

While Iran states they will not use oil as a weapon, it can be assured that they will. They must. There is a reason that their latest maneuvers center around the Strait of Hormuz, and it is not because their missile testing ranges are conveniently located nearby.


It looks sort of like a WiG (Wing-In-Ground-Effect), which is something the Russians have been working on for a while with their Ekranoplan et. al. They never really mastered it, though, at a useful load level.

It's hard to say how stealthy this thing really is. I'm also scratching my head and wondering exactly what one would do with such things tactically that couln't be done better by long-standing, proven, and accessible conventional technologies.

There's a long history in 3rd World militaries of ego projects (and The Pentagon et. al. certainly aren't immune, but that's a topic for another day). This looks like it may be one of them.

3 words:

Manned cruise missile

(Kamikaze version)

Their new "radar invisible fly boat" appears to be powered by a "lawnmower" engine driving a propeller.

Driven by a propeller; so much for "radar invisibility."

Somehow, I don't quite see how this little flying martyr-machine can be very stealthy... not with that bulky engine and propeller hanging off the rear deck. Unless they have some pretty amazing engine and propeller technology, that thing will probably light up like a christmas tree when the RADAR hits it.

Just my $.02

I doubt this stealthy flying carpet does what they say. Is that a life-guard's chair sitting on top?

That is not a stealthy machine, trust me. The propeller mount alone will show up in blazing glory like the Death Star on any modern radar system. If that's the 'stealthy' tech the Iranians have been buying, they should ask for their money back.

Just an educated guess on my part, Patty, but I would tend to believe that what you are looking at is part of the telemetry control & feedback systems used to control the vehicle (Iran said this was a remotely controlled vehicle) and send data back. There appears a blur, so maybe it is the prop? But that just seems too absurd and a highly unstable mount to boot, so I (perhaps wrongly) dismiss that. Picture's just not clear enough to really tell and I am not exactly an aircraft expert. (Joe K., Boeing and NorthrupGrumman readers feel free to chime in here...?)

The craft looks like a hybrid between an A-4, and AV-8A Brit Harrier and a candy dish on skids.

Tend to agree that this is more of an ego project with little application beyond developing some technology that might be useful elsewhere.

It's a good thing that 'few countries have' this outside Iran, as the article boasted. But again, it's not really about how this craft fits in, but what its tech gives rise to.

This entire excercise has been a highly public Dog & Pony Show for the IRGC and the regime.

I read somewhere in a comment on this a quote from Sun Tzu:

"If you are strong, Appear weak. If you are weak, appear strong."

Iran has worked too hard at appearing strong and exposed the reverse, in my view.

But then, they aren't going to publicly parade their true military strength out in the open. Besides, I hear Hezbollah terrorists don't care much for salt water.

This is very old tech (like Joe said it's WIG boat/plane). http://www.se-technology.com/wig/html/main.php?open=hist&code=0

Fox had the video on special report and from that it was quite clear that the "life-guards chair" is the engine mount and prop.

Having not seen footage myself, I am resigned to laughing nearly uncontrollably at this point.

It seemed so ludicrous have a big chopping prop sitting high atop this thing and call it stealth, I thought surely it must be something else. It defied logic. With a big prop whipping the air, the hull could be invisible and it would still not be stealthy. Maybe this is what the Iranian military calls thinking outside the box. Maybe reverse-reverse psychology.

All comedy aside, let's not forget the Russian and Chinese feeding tube that feed this.

Ironically, my old unit (2nd Light Anti-Aircraft Missile Battalion, USMC) spent seemingly countless weeks in the Nevada desert proving the stealthworthiness of what we would later learn became the F-117 and the B-2. They are not perfect, and there's not a single moving part outside the skin.

I think this serves to emphaisize the lost other point of this post, which is to discredit Iran's claims last week of a stealth MIRV missile. The Pentagon said earlier that it was a Shahab-2, a Scud-C variant.

Iran said that in the next couple of days they would have announcements that would make the nation proud.

Perhaps I should call Cox & Forkum and have them warm up their pens for the next big weapons development.

The comment about Russian and Chinese-provided stealth technololgy would carry more weight if either of those countries had ever fielded stealthy systems themselves. While both have done research, neither has ever fielded such weapons.

And the mount, propeller and T-Tail would all show up quite strongly on radar, even if all were coated with radar absorbing material.

MG, 2 words in response: Styx missile.

1960s tech, unmanned, copies already bought from Chinese, much faster than 100 mph and almost certainly less visible on radar (though it's not even close to stealthy).

The only thing this contraption appears to be good for would be entertainment and .50 cal gunnery practice for anti-Iranian forces, in that order. You yourself could buy something similar in a home-build kit.

That WIG sure looks like this one made by Flarecraft - an American Company:


You seem to be taking the Iranian claims of Stealth at face value. Why?


I don't take their stealth at face value. That they are working on it and are fed by Russia and China is a concern.

From previous recent posts, consider the following:

"“Evading radar” can be achieved with the right coating material, paint if you will. To what degree it’s radar signature is minimal is unknown (as are a lot of details)."


"While the nature of the advances (as advertised) should be digested with at least some skepticism, it should also be noted that Iran has been working nearly as feverishly in their missile program as they have in their nuclear program."


"To be sure, however, is the troubling reality of the Russian and Chinese feeding tubes sustaining most of Iran’s military technological advances. While western media outlets are finally beginning to recognize Iran’s Persian Gulf exercise as more of a media blitz than a combined forces training exercise, China’s state-run media, Xinhua, continues to laud the illusory Iranian display..."

Hope that clears that up.

Iran claims stealth...on a rig with a big spinning open air metal prop?

It's an information warfare operation, not a training exercise nor as much of a proving ground as they would have you believe.

And, apparently you rightly don't. Sorry if it came across that I may (wrt stealth or any other advance claimed).

It sure looks like a backyard rip-off of the L-325 shown on the link steve provided... the shape of the wing might be suggestive of say, our JSF, but it looks like the L-325 wing design.

Very Low level flying can still avoid radar - the Russians did it a few years ago with a Sukoi jets flying over USN ships without their knowledge not so long ago.

The US Flarecraft was based on German design by RFB. An early Alexander Lippisch(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Lippisch) attempt was powered by a 25hp motorcycle engine and could still do 100+ kmh. These small craft are not very fast cf Russian Caspian Sea Monster (which was a real threat to NATO in terms of high speed low level bust out of the Black sea and missile tech). Maybe the Iranians are thinking back to Swordfish v Bismark !

see also: http://www.se-technology.com/wig/htm...code=&craft=49