Iran Can Turn Cargo Vessels Into “UAV Aircraft Carriers”
The Iranian shipbuilder is converting a container vessel into an aircraft carrier capable of transporting UAVs and helicopters.
On 2 January 2023, the US Naval Institute released photographs captured in November 2022 depicting the Shahid Mahdavi vessel belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in a floating dock based at the Industrial Complex Co. Ships and Iranian Oceans(ISOICO) in Bandarabbas, near the Strait of Hormuz.
The Shahid Mahdavi has been in this floating dock since at least 2022 (May), most likely converted from a container vessel into an aircraft carrier that can accommodate uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) and helicopters. In the new photo, the container ship’s deck is seen to be removed to install the landing deck.
Iran has come up with many kinds of UAVs, including the Shahed-136 model that the West accuses of participating in raids on cargo vessels in the Middle East and being used by Russia to launch an attack in Ukraine.
Behnam Ben Taleblu, a specialist on Iran, mentioned that the country’s media had reported that the Shahid Mahdavi would be carrying many UAVs to develop some long-range strike capabilities.
IRGC and Iran’s Navy have recently converted many cargo vessels the nation cannot use owing to international sanctions into warships. One of them is Makran, which reportedly has a displacement of approximately 121,000 tons and is 228 meters long, converted from an oil tanker.
Iran 2022 sent the battleship dubbed Makran and the destroyer named Sahand to the Atlantic Ocean for about four months and participated in Russia’s naval parade.
References: Eurasian Times, Vietnam Posts