Skip to comments.UK speedboat floats into Iranís arms
Posted on 04/04/2010 6:49:50 PM PDT by 1066AD
UK speedboat floats into Irans arms By Guy Dinmore in Rome
Published: April 4 2010 22:02 | Last updated: April 4 2010 22:02
Has a record-breaking British powerboat become the ultimate toy for an Iranian playboy or as US investigators fear is it now equipped with the worlds fastest torpedoes aimed at sinking an aircraft carrier in the Gulf?
In spite of efforts by the Obama administration to stop it falling into the hands of Irans Revolutionary Guards, the Bradstone Challenger a high-performance powerboat built with support from a US defence contractor is believed to be under new and dangerous ownership.
The unusual journey of the Bladerunner 51 powerboat began in 2005 when a team led by UK adventurer Neil McGrigor took it from a Florida boatyard and smashed the Italian-held record for the fastest circumnavigation of Britain. The time of 27 hours and 10 minutes, at an average speed of 61.5 mph including fuel stops, still stands.
Advertised for sale the next year through a broker as the ultimate toy for someone looking for something a little bit special, the 51ft craft caught the eye of the Iranians. Initial attempts to buy it were blocked by the UK Department of Trade and Industry.
As the Financial Times has learned from defence and industry sources, Iran did not give up. After the boat passed through at least two more parties, the US got wind in January 2009 it was about to be transferred in the South African port of Durban on to a Hong Kong-flagged Iranian merchant vessel, the Diplomat, bound for the Gulf.
The US commerce departments Bureau of Industry and Security asked South African authorities to block the transfer. It voiced concern that Irans Revolutionary Guards intended to use the boat as a fast attack craft. The bureau noted that similar vessels had been armed with torpedoes, rocket launchers and anti-ship missiles with the aim of exploiting enemy vulnerabilities through the use of swarming tactics by small boats.
The loading went ahead because, said one source, no one saw the US notice sent by fax over a weekend. US special forces were ready to intercept the Iranian merchant vessel but the operation was called off, the source said.
In the meantime, Iran was developing Russian-designed Shkval (Squall) torpedoes, known to be the fastest in the world. In April 2006, General Ali Fadavi, deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards, announced the test of a torpedo moving at speeds of 360kph that no warship can escape from.
Craig Hooper, a San Francisco-based naval strategist who has been following the Bradstone Challenger, says Iran is scouring the world for speedboats with potential military use. Its force is based on ageing Swedish-designed Boghammar craft, as well as Chinese and North Korean speedboats.
But there is much debate whether a boat such as the Bradstone Challenger, even armed with one or two torpedoes, would represent a serious threat against an aircraft carrier in the confined waters of the Gulf.
Though the US Navy is very concerned a swarm of small boats can overwhelm and sink a large warship, the hypothesis is untested. It has never been done, Mr Hooper told the FT. A small, fast boat navy is nothing more than a surprise strike and harassment force. Every time small, fast boats run into helicopters, the helicopters win.
There is speculation that Iran wants to copy the boats revolutionary hull design. The Bladerunner 51 model, designed by Lorne Campbell of the UK and powered by US Caterpillar engines, was built by Britains ICE Marine. The project was partly financed by Navatek, a Hawaii-based defence contractor, which says it is developing a naval patrol boat version.
Jeremy Watts, the ICE Marine director who helmed the Bradstone Challengers record-breaking run, says only two have been built and that Iran used cloak and dagger operations to try to get one.
The boat is the newest, best thing around. I was quite fond of it, he said.
What a surprise.
Here's hoping the original Bladerunner retires Mahmoud Imaskinjob.
In spite As a result of efforts by the Obama administration to stop help it fall ing into the hands of Irans Revolutionary Guards, the Bradstone Challenger a high-performance powerboat built with support from a US defence contractor is believed to be under new and dangerous ownership
Sir Francis Drake employed similar strategies against much larger Spanish vessels.
A flotilla of small boats can indeed sucessfully take down a larger one.The Iranians know this to be fact. And if they have torpedoes to disable a large ship and firepower to rake the decks of a larger ship, all they have to have is the balls to board, and its over.
With the weak kneed ROE the Obama Junta has with the USN at this time, a large US vessel could be taken by a flotilla of smaller craft.
The only way to beat a flotilla of small craft is through superior firepower delivered early and lethally. and Obama doesn't want that. He believes in soft diplomacy of a non gun boat nature. We all see where that has gotten him with China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. They all play Obama like a banjo.
Sorry. Not buying it.
obama would never have the guts to authorize use of the systems in this way. His ROE will no-doubt let them get close enough to fire RPGs into the bridge.
"The loading went ahead because, said one source, no one saw the US notice sent by fax over a weekend. US special forces were ready to intercept the Iranian merchant vessel but the operation was called off, the source said."
US special forces were ready to intercept the Iranian merchant vessel but the operation was called off, the source said.
abu bama interfering with Special Forces AGAIN???
abu still getting even with Special Forces? This man is a menace to the “free” world and other living things.
Did you notice they “ungrayed” his hair again?
Another obamao success story...
Not really. First of all, you need to be able to direct the beam at the surface target that is close. This requires negative elevation angle. The radar may or may not support that; even if it does, the effective aperture of the array may be small, gain - low, beam - wide. This is because radars are, as you say, designed to detect space, air or far surface targets - not something within a half a mile from you. If the targets are that close you don't need a radar, you need a CIWS with performance of Metal Storm, for example.
Another problem is that the radar beam is not continuous; it is a series of very short pulses, with low duty cycle. So you might have a lot of energy in each pulse, but on average it's not that much. You transmit, and then you need to allow enough time for the reflected pulses to come back from the farthest distance that you support. This limits your duty cycle somewhat (there are workarounds.)
Yet another problem is that there is no "thousands of volts" of anything anywhere, and nobody would be electrocuted - not any more than your frozen chicken is electrocuted in your microwave oven. The only effect is that water (and bodies containing water) will be heated up. You can easily protect yourself by staying inside the ship; that is a generally good idea if you are speeding toward a warship :-) Even a thin aluminum body will protect you very well from any radiation.
Even if we take an attacker on an inflatable boat, and if that attacker doesn't wear any protection against EM wave, there is only a very limited zone where he may be in danger. That is close enough to the ship, but not as close as being completely in the shadow of the hull. But that's his destination anyway; he will speed through the dangerous area, and if he is still alive after that, he'll fix that by detonating explosives.
I think there is a very simple defense against swarming small boats: shoot at them until none are left.
“A small, fast boat is nothing more than a surprise strike and harassment force. Every time small, fast boats run into helicopters, the helicopters win.”
Well, just add a Stinger and away with the helicopter. (Wow, U.S. military amazes me!)
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