Velayat-89 military maneuvers are currently in progress, lasting a total of eight days and covering approximately 97,000 square miles of Iranian territorial waters. Included areas of operation are the Persian Gulf, Sea of Oman and the northern Indian Ocean.
click photos to enlarge
IRIAA Elicotteri Meridionali CH-47C Chinook (219) helicopters
Iranian chemical protective suit with M-15 type gas mask affixed. Background: IRIAA CH-47C Chinook.
IRIN Sikorsky RH-53D Sea Stallion (S-65)
IRIAA Bell AH-1J Sea Cobra (209) firing
unguided 70 mm (2.75”) rockets
IRIN Agusta AB-212ASW flies over a Pulse Acquisition Radar
IRIADF Shahin (I-HAWK) SAM battery
(Mersad air defense system)
IRIADF Pulse Acquisition Radar (Mersad air defense system)
Photos: Hossein Zohrevand at Fars News Agency, Younes Khani at Mehr News Agency
Amazing to the see the pristine CH-47C Chinooks operating by the dozens. The RH-53Ds in azure naval displaced camouflage pattern of the IRIN (Islamic Republic of Iran Navy) were captured from the US in the failed "Eagle Claw" operation in April 1980 at Tabas. Five of these USMC helicopters and many other items were incorporated in the Iranian navy. With the additional 250 gallon drop tanks and ECM mounted on the nose, it looks like Iranian aeronautaical engineers have done wonders in upgrading these machines. The engines on both the Chinooks and Rh-53D appear to be the new light weight alloy along with new HESA bullet resistant plexi-glass wind screens. The integrated communication helmets on the crews appear to be Iranian made ones too.
These are the largest excercises so far in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean spanning the size of many large European nations in zone covering over 250,000 sq kms.
Vellayat 89 wargames are underway in an area measuring 250,000 sq/km from the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf to the Pakistani and Indian coasts, and to 22 degrees in latitude southwards. About 200 aircraft and over 100 naval vessels including the super silent Kilo (Iranian Yunes or Jonah) class attack submarines also taking part with CLUB-S cruise missiles with a range of over 300kms. The Club-S cruise missile is designed for launch from a 533 mm torpedo tube, or a vertical launch tube. It has a range of 160 nautical miles (about 300 km). It uses an ARGS-54 active radar seeker and Glonass satellite and inertial guidance.In addition, all Iranian Kilo submarines Tarek, Noor and Yunes have been upgraded with a complete overhaul of the submarines, including their hull structures, as well as improved control systems, sonar, electronic warfare systems, and an integrated weapon control system. The upgrades are reported to be costing about $80 million. Russia's Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines have gained a reputation as extremely quiet boats.
Anon, great comment. Thanks.
Regarding the Sea Stallion, Iran purchased twelve RH-53Ds from Sikorsky in the 1970s, with six being delivered before the revolution. It's my understanding that the Op. Eagle Claw helicopters were actually USN RH-53Ds (US Navy Squadron HM-16), elements of which flown by USMC crews. Also, at least one of the five captured RH-53Ds (sn 158686) was thoroughly cannibalized, as it was shown at the recent Tabas commemoration ceremony at Tehran. (One of the six left behind was consumed by fire.)
Thanks. Mark you are correct. 12 RH-53D were indeed purchased for the Iranian Navy in 1975. I believe the one shown last week at Azedi square was one of the cannibalized ones from the aborted Tabas raid and belonged to USMC. A total of eigth took part in the raid. From what I recall, some IIAF pilots who were hostile to the new regime did a F-4E sortie on the Tabas site and seriously damaged the one that is in most photos associated with "Eagle Claw". However, after checking the Bufo # I understand that at least 4remaining ones were incorporated in IRIN. As you can see from the very good quality photos that these craft are in pristine condition and better than many in USN or USMC service due to constant use in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US Chinooks for instance are all at the end of their airframe lives due to heavy non-stop use since 2002. The operating conditions in Afghanistan are even worse for rotary craft as the Russians found. There have been many fatalities and numerous "hard landings". BTW, this is an excellent website and mostly good calibre comments. You and Nader should be commended for the time, effort and accurate postings. Well done.
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